Disney Acquires Epic Games to Build a Metaverse-like Experience

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  • Disney has acquired a $1.5 billion equity stake in gaming firm Epic Games
  • Disney said that the investment will allow it to use Epic Games’ resources to create a project that offers metaverse-like experiences
  • The move comes less than a year after Disney abandoned its metaverse plans

Entertainment company Disney is seemingly reviving its metaverse ambitions with the acquisition of a $1.5 billion stake in game developer Epic Games. Disney revealed that the two firms will collaborate “to create expansive and open games and entertainment universes connected to Fortnite.” Although the entertainment company didn’t disclose the launch date for the new metaverse-like project, it comes less than a year after it sent home over 50 staff tasked with building experiences in the virtual world, consequently killing its metaverse department.

Hundreds of Millions of Players Already Engaged

According to Disney, the project will revolve around watching, playing, shopping and interacting with assets, stories, characters and content from the likes of Pixar, Disney, Avatar, Star Wars and Marvel. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney noted that the project will unite communities from the two companies.

Disney’s Bob Iger observed that the project is the company’s “biggest” dive into the gaming world, with the company adding that the ecosystem’s users will be allowed to create personalized experiences.

The entertainment company noted that the project isn’t the first collaboration with Epic Games saying that the two have in the past “engaged hundreds of millions of players through Fortnite content integrations [and] season collaborations.”

Next-generation Storytelling?

Disney’s second entry into the virtual world comes a year after its former CEO Bob Chapek expressed his dissatisfaction with the metaverse’s current form saying it best resembles “next-generation storytelling.”

The move comes roughly a month after Disney’s early Mickey Mouse version Steamboat Willie’s copyright expired. The mascot has since been turned into an NFT.

With Disney re-entering the metaverse, it’s to be seen whether the experiences it creates will appeal to a wide range of users apart from gamers.