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Disney invests $1.5B in Epic to create 'expansive and open games linked to Fortnite'

Epic Games and Disney have announced a partnership to create an expansive shared virtual world featuring popular Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars characters and franchises. According to the agreement, the two companies are working together to create what they describe as an "open games and entertainment universe."

As part of the deal, The Walt Disney Company has invested $1.5 billion in Epic Games. This represents Disney's largest investment to date in the thriving gaming industry as it seeks new avenues of growth.

With Epic's Unreal Engine, users will be able to explore simulated worlds based on properties such as Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar and more. The new universe, tied to Fortnite, will offer users multiple ways to interact with Disney content through gaming, entertainment and social experiences.

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.

This builds on the existing relationship between Disney and Epic in Fortnite, including the Marvel and Star Wars seasons.

"This marks Disney’s biggest entry ever into the world of games and offers significant opportunities for growth and expansion," said Robert Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company. "We can’t wait for fans to experience the Disney stories and worlds they love in groundbreaking new ways."

It continues Epic's efforts to expand Fortnite beyond just battle royale gameplay. Recent additions, such as Lego and music games, have shown its ambition for broader interactive experiences. Similarly, Disney is looking to rebuild its metaverse efforts after shutting down a dedicated division last year.

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