Open, persistent and social universe will bring Disney stories and experiences to life, interoperating with Fortnite and its more than 100 million active players and creators
Disney to invest $1.5 billion for an equity stake in Epic Games
BURBANK, Calif.– The Walt Disney Company and Epic Games will collaborate on an all-new games and entertainment universe that will further expand the reach of beloved Disney stories and experiences. Disney will also invest $1.5 billion to acquire an equity stake in Epic Games alongside the multiyear project. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.
In addition to being a world-class games experience and interoperating with Fortnite, the new persistent universe will offer a multitude of opportunities for consumers to play, watch, shop and engage with content, characters and stories from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, Avatar and more. Players, gamers and fans will be able to create their own stories and experiences, express their fandom in a distinctly Disney way, and share content with each other in ways that they love. This will all be powered by Unreal Engine.
“Our exciting new relationship with Epic Games will bring together Disney’s beloved brands and franchises with the hugely popular Fortnite in a transformational new games and entertainment universe,” said Robert A. Iger, Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. “This marks Disney’s biggest entry ever into the world of games and offers significant opportunities for growth and expansion. We can’t wait for fans to experience the Disney stories and worlds they love in groundbreaking new ways.”
“Disney was one of the first companies to believe in the potential of bringing their worlds together with ours in Fortnite, and they use Unreal Engine across their portfolio,” said Tim Sweeney, CEO and Founder, Epic Games. “Now we’re collaborating on something entirely new to build a persistent, open and interoperable ecosystem that will bring together the Disney and Fortnite communities.”
“This will enable us to bring together our incredible collection of stories and experiences from across the company for a broad audience in ways we have only dreamed of before,” said Josh D’Amaro, Chairman, Disney Experiences. “Epic Games’ industry-leading technology and Fortnite’s open ecosystem will help us reach consumers where they are so they can engage with Disney in the ways that are most relevant to them.”
Deepening the Epic Games & Disney Relationship
Disney and Epic Games have engaged hundreds of millions of players through Fortnite content integrations, season collaborations, in-game activations, and live events, including the Marvel Nexus War with Galactus, which drew more than 15.3 million concurrent players.
Unreal Engine is used to produce assets and content across the Disney portfolio including in the development of video games like Kingdom Hearts 3 and Star Wars Jedi: Survivor; in cinematic editing and animation for film and streaming; and in the creation of more than 15 Disney Parks attractions like Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
This all builds on Epic Games’ participation in the 2017 Disney Accelerator program, which seeks to impact the future of technology and entertainment.
Games Industry Growth & Disney Games Success
The digital world is growing and evolving with more than 3 billion video game players worldwide who want to move safely and seamlessly between the worlds they love, unleash their own creativity, and experience great gameplay.
Disney’s games business continues to deliver strong results since it shifted to a licensing business model in 2016. Disney is a leading games licensor working with best-in-class developers and publishers, including on the best-selling superhero game of all-time, Marvel’s Spider-Man. Licensed games from Disney garnered more than 150 award nominations, wins and other accolades in 2023, including multiple Game of the Year nominations for Marvel’s Spider-Man 2. Disney mobile games have 1.5 billion global installs, and to date, nine Disney games franchises have each grossed more than $1 billion in sales. In the U.S., the world’s largest games market, licensed titles from Disney regularly hit the annual top-10 best-sellers list.
About The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international entertainment and media enterprise that includes three core business segments: Entertainment, Sports and Experiences. Disney is a Dow 30 company and had annual revenues of $88.9 billion in its Fiscal Year 2023.
The terms “Company,” “we,” and “our” are used below to refer collectively to The Walt Disney Company and the subsidiaries through which its various businesses are actually conducted.
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Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied. Such differences may result from actions taken by the Company, including restructuring or strategic initiatives or other business decisions, as well as from developments beyond the Company’s control, including: the occurrence of subsequent events; deterioration in domestic or global economic conditions or failure of conditions to improve as anticipated; deterioration in or pressures from competitive conditions, including competition to create or acquire content; competition for talent and competition for advertising revenue; consumer preferences and acceptance of our content, offerings, pricing model and price increases, and corresponding subscriber additions and churn, and the market for advertising sales on our direct-to-consumer services and linear networks; health concerns and their impact on our businesses and productions; international, political or military developments; regulatory and legal developments; technological developments; labor markets and activities, including work stoppages; adverse weather conditions or natural disasters; and availability of content. Such developments may further affect entertainment, travel and leisure businesses generally and may, among other things, affect (or further affect, as applicable): our operations, business plans or profitability, including direct-to-consumer profitability; our expected benefits from the collaboration with Epic Games; demand for our products and services; performance of the Company’s content; our ability to create or obtain desirable content at or under the value we assign the content; the advertising market for programming; income tax expense; and performance of some or all Company businesses either directly or through their impact on those who distribute our products.
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