The Walt Disney Company acquired a stake in Epic Games. The collaboration aims to create an open Metaverse for gaming and entertainment linked to Fortnite, the flagship game of the Epic Games studio.
Disney invested $1.5 billion in shares of Epic Games, an American video game and software developer. The companies plan to create the entertainment Metaverse for users to play, make purchases, engage with visual content, and interact with Disney characters.
Disney officials call the collaboration a long-term project that will improve the gaming experience of Epic’s flagship game Fortnite, pending regulatory approval. According to Tim Sweeney, Founder and CEO at Epic Games, the companies will work together to build an open ecosystem powered by Unreal Engine.
Robert Iger, CEO at The Walt Disney Company, said that the collaboration represents the company’s most significant step into the gaming world. Disney sees the Metaverse as a crucial strategic direction for its development.
The launch date and project details have yet to be disclosed, and it’s unclear whether Disney and Epic Games plan to use Metaverse technologies to build the ecosystem. However, Disney holds a patent for a “virtual-world simulator in a real-world venue.”
A year ago, Disney attempted to create its Metaverse, but the project was terminated due to operating expenses exceeding expectations. Epic Games was involved in similar projects. In 2022, the company collaborated with Sony and LEGO Group to create an open-world LEGO Fortnite.
Research shows that the VR & AR sector is rapidly growing and has the potential to create hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the coming years. The governments of China and Saudi Arabia are interested in the development of Metaverse technologies.