Disney invests in interactive technology with a $1.5 billion stake in Epic Games

Disney invests in interactive technology with a $1.5 billion stake in Epic Games

Recently, Disney announced a major investment of $1.5 billion in Epic Games, creators of the hit video game Fortnite. Epic Games also own and develop the technology behind Unreal Engine, a technology suite used as a digital framework for multimedia projects such as film, interactive exhibits, and theme park attractions. Since 2017, Disney has worked with Epic as a part of its Disney Accelerator program, utilizing Unreal Engine in various projects to deliver one-of-a-kind visual and interactive experiences.

Behind-the-scenes production of The Mandalorian

Disney’s investment in Epic marks a greater investment in the crossover between their intellectual properties and games, but it also represents a refinement of digital integrations in media. While Epic’s stability has wavered, as the company went through significant layoffs last year, Disney is clearly keen on the technology’s potential. It’s no surprise: Between the impressive results in The Mandalorian, as well as the popularity of the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge experience at Disneyland, Epic has become an increasingly important partner for Disney.

The partnership also signifies how media production has converged more over time. In the past, digital production had a high barrier to entry, as software was limited to enterprise applications, proprietary to certain businesses, or steeply priced. As digital media flourished, production software became more incrementally available, including the Unreal Engine. Unreal Engine is free for any user to sign up for and download (with specific terms for commercial use), which has resulted in a significant adoption rate for the technology across media applications.

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