Los Angeles, CA – The Walt Disney Co. has announced a major investment of $1.5 billion in a stake in Epic Games, the creator of popular video games such as Fortnite and Gears of War. This move is seen as Disney’s biggest venture into the video game industry, signaling CEO Bob Iger’s efforts to drive the company’s earnings growth.
The partnership between Disney and Epic Games aims to expand the licensing of Disney brands within Fortnite and create a new gaming and entertainment universe, offering players the opportunity to engage with content from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, Avatar, and more. This strategic collaboration comes as Disney outperformed market expectations for its first-quarter earnings, demonstrating improvements in its streaming services and stabilizing subscriber numbers.
Commenting on the investment, Bob Iger emphasized the significant growth and expansion opportunities for Disney in the world of video games, highlighting the changes implemented by the company over the past year as now “bearing fruit.” He also underscored the importance of this step in line with the demographic trends, particularly the increasing time that younger generations, such as Gen Z, are spending on gaming platforms.
This move by Disney reflects a strategic shift in response to changing consumer behavior, as statistics show that Gen Z spends more time playing games on consoles, smartphones, and computers than watching TV or movies. Hence, Disney’s partnership with Epic Games positions it to tap into this growing segment of entertainment consumption.
Furthermore, the collaboration has already seen success, drawing in millions of players through Fortnite collaborations, with events like Marvel’s “Nexus War with Galactus” attracting more than 15.3 million concurrent players. The partnership’s potential is highlighted in a video released by Fortnite’s YouTube channel, which showcases an animated universe connecting brands like ESPN and Marvel, featuring popular characters from Disney properties.
This significant move in the gaming industry comes as Bob Iger, who reassumed the role of Disney’s chief executive in 2022, focuses on leading the media giant into a new era of sustained growth and value creation. The company’s strong performance in the past quarter is indicative of a positive turnaround, fueling optimism about Disney’s future prospects.
In addition to the gaming investment, Disney also announced that its streaming platform, Disney Plus, will exclusively feature Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour” concert film starting March 15. Following the positive earnings report, Disney shares rose in after-hours trading, signaling investor confidence in the company’s growth trajectory.