Disney to acquire $1.5 billion stake in Epic Games, create shared universe linked to Fortnite


Walt Disney is acquiring a $1.5 billion (roughly Rs. 12,400 crore) equity stake in Fortnite maker Epic Games as part of a collaboration of Disney properties like Star Wars, Marvel and Avatar, the companies said on Wednesday.

According to a statement on Wednesday, fans will be able to see, shop and play with Disney characters within the Fortnite game. The deal also includes new titles and collaborations with the company's theme parks.

“This is Disney's largest entry into the world of games to date and provides significant opportunities for growth and expansion,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a release.

Disney has had its ups and downs with video games. In 2016, the company shut down most of its game operations after struggling to develop large, successful titles in-house. Now, Disney licenses properties to outside developers and publishers such as Electronic Arts and Sony Group.

Disney and Epic have collaborated for years, including through Disney's Accelerator program, where company executives mentor small businesses. Epic has offered Fortnite players avatars based on Star Wars, Marvel, and Indiana Jones characters. Epic's Unreal Engine software has been used to develop Disney games.

“Disney was one of the first companies to believe in the potential of Fortnite to bring their world together with ours,” Epic CEO Tim Sweeney said in the statement.

The companies said the new project will run for several years. The epic will develop inner experiences.

The deal follows other collaborations between Epic and large consumer products companies. In 2022, Kirkby, the family holding company that controls the Lego Group, invested $1 billion in Epic to create online experiences using its brand. Lego Fortnite, released last year, featured blocky Lego-style characters, and was played by more than 2 million people shortly after its launch.

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