Disney is making its biggest push yet into video games. On February 7, the Mouse House and Fortnite creator Epic Games announced plans to create new games and an entertainment universe where consumers can “play, watch, shop and engage with content, characters and stories from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, Avatar and more,” company representatives said in a press release.
“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 Disney CEO Robert Iger. “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 Epic CEO Tim Sweeney. “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 isn’t the first time Disney and Epic have collaborated. Fortnite has hosted several Star Wars-themed events over the years, including last year’s Find the Force event honoring the Prequel Trilogy. Back in 2020, Fortnite’s Nexus War with Galactus event based in the Marvel universe drew more than 15.3 million concurrent players, according to the press release announcing the deal.
While it’s tempting to think of Disney as primarily a producer of movies, TV, and Baby Yoda merch, it’s had a finger in the gaming pie for some time. This little nugget from the press release surprised me a little. “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.” Who knew?
Anyway, congratulations to both these desperately cash-strapped companies who so sorely needed a chance to make more money.