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Can Disney Revive Metaverse Push With $1.5 Billion Gaming Universe?

2 mins
Updated by Ali M.
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In Brief

  • Disney partners with Epic Games to create a cross-franchise digital universe, investing $1.5 billion for an equity stake.
  • The online gaming universe will showcase Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and Avatar characters powered by Unreal Engine.
  • Despite challenges faced by CEO Bob Iger, Disney’s stock surged following the announcement of the Epic Games partnership.
  • promo

Disney could reignite its metaverse ambitions with a “games universe” partnership with Epic Games. The House of Mouse will invest $1.5 billion for an equity stake in the Fortnite maker amid metaverse moves by Apple and other tech firms.

Today, Disney revealed a new partnership with Fortnite maker Epic Games to create the cross-franchise digital universe.

Disney and Epic Games’ Metaverse Prospects

The online world will place Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and Avatar characters in a persistent universe built using the Unreal Engine. UnrealEngine is a real-time, 3-D creation tool Disney uses in games like Kingdom Hearts 3 and Star Wars Jedi: Survivor.

Disney’s deal with Fortnite follows several previous integrations, like the Marvel Nexus War with Galactus. The CEO of Epic Games, Time Sweeney, said the partnership plays well to the strengths of cross-platform integration.

Read more: Top 7 Metaverse Games to Play in 2022

A previous collaboration drew over 15 million players, making the partnership’s plans more likely to attract people to virtual worlds. The deal is subject to regulatory approval. According to Disney CEO Bob Iger, the partnership is Disney’s ‘biggest entry ever’ into the world of games.

Disney reinstated CEO Bob Iger in November 2022. in April that year, Iger invested in Genies, a company that develops 3-D avatars that wear digital apparel while traveling through metaverse platforms. He attributed his investment to his interest of what happens at intersection of art and technology.

Disney’s Stock Surges Amid Metaverse Prospects

Since becoming CEO, Iger has had a massive task on his hands. The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rise of streaming television, and company-wide cost-cutting were some of the issues Iger needed to solve. However, Disney’s stock surged when Iger announced the new deal with Epic Games and one with Taylor Swift.

For a short time, it may have seemed like the metaverse was dead amid the surge in artificial intelligence interest. But, as Gartner analyst Marty Resnick argues, its easy to feel disappointed when a new technology temporarily obsures an earlier one.

“People tend to focus on one thing at a time; generative AI was such a big shiny object, such a big disruption that it became the focus. The metaverse in the short term seemed to be a little bit disappointing,” Resnick said.

Morever, concrete moves by Meta, Disney, and Apple, with its Vision Pro headset, suggest interest is reviving. Meta renewed its metaverse focus from AI revenue after its original plan didn’t pan out as expected. Disney also embraced AI before the the Epic Games tie-up that could set the stage for metaverse gaming.

disney epic games metaverse
Metaverse Interest Over Time | Source: Bank for International Settlements

Read more: How To Invest in the Metaverse: 7 Best Stocks To Buy

But one area in which metaverse companies must tread cautiously is in complying with regulation. The Bank for International Settlements recommends that, as the metaverse and its applications grown, regulators should consider interoperability, competitiveness, consumer protection, and data privacy.

BeInCrypto reached out to Disney and Fortnite for comments but did not hear back at the time of publication.

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David Thomas
David Thomas graduated from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal in Durban, South Africa, with an Honors degree in electronic engineering. He worked as an engineer for eight years, developing software for industrial processes at South African automation specialist Autotronix (Pty) Ltd., mining control systems for AngloGold Ashanti, and consumer products at Inhep Digital Security, a domestic security company wholly owned by Swedish conglomerate Assa Abloy. He has experience writing software in C,...