Disney is throwing its considerable financial bulk behind Fortnite, and has announced an enormous investment of $1.5 billion into the Epic Games game. The money will go towards building a "persistent universe" of content centred around the various Disney-owned properties. Expect to see stories and characters from Disney itself, as well as Marvel, Star Wars, and even Avatar.
"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 Bob Iger, Walt Disney Company CEO. "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."
This is far from the first partnership between Fortnite and Disney, as we've seen a number of different Disney properties land in the game over the years it's been popular. Fortnite even made a surprise appearance in Avengers: Endgame, back in 2019.
The word not being said is "metaverse", but it's clear the same thinking is taking part here. Weirdly, this may be the only place such a concept could actually take root. Facebook's metaverse failed to capture the imagination and a big part of that came down to a lack of public uptake of the platform. Instead of making a new platform, why not simply go to where the people already are? Fortnite is possibly the world's most popular game, and it's shown no signs of falling from its high perch.
What's different this time around is the sheer scale of the numbers involved. There are various regulations the two companies will have to clear before this deal will be finalized, and the size of Disney's stake in Epic Games also isn't clear, but assuming this goes through, we'll likely see an enormous new presence in the games industry in Disney. How that changes a landscape recently scarred by large-scale layoffs across the world isn't obvious, but we're sure we'll be looking back at this moment as significant in the future.