Hellbent on harvesting your nostalgia forever, megacorp Disney has purchased a $1.5 billion stake in Epic Games, teaming up to create a persistent, social universe within Fortnite. It sounds wildly ambitious and more than a little dystopian, allowing fans to "play, watch, shop, and engage" with their favourite Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars characters and bringing us one step closer to the future promised in Ready Player One.

The news was announced during the House of Mouse's Q1 FY24 earnings call (thanks IGN), where The Walt Disney Company's CEO, Robert Iger, revealed the ambitious project: "Our exciting new relationship with Epic Games will bring together Disney's beloved brands and franchises with the hugely popular Fortnite in a transformational new games and entertainment universe. This marks Disney's biggest entry ever into the world of games and offers significant opportunities for growth and expansion. We can't wait for fans to experience the Disney stories and worlds they love in groundbreaking new ways."

Tim Sweeney, CEO and founder of Epic Games, welcomed the announcement and teased the company's exciting vision for the future: "We're collaborating on something entirely new to build a persistent, open and interoperable ecosystem that will bring together the Disney and Fortnite communities." No further details like a release window or official name were revealed. Still, it will reportedly be a "multi-year project" that looks to expand on the many times the two companies have worked together previously.

For context, Epic Games was valued at $31.5 billion in 2022. Its principal owners are Sweeney himself (51.4%) and Chinese megacorp Tencent (40%), with various other entities competing for the rest. PlayStation's parent company, Sony, also holds a valuable stake (5.4%).

What do you think of Disney's bold bet on creating an "interoperable" entertainment universe within Fortnite? As the prophet Ernest Cline foretold, are we on track to living and working in an OASIS-like reality by 2045? Let us know in the comments section below.

[source youtube.com, via ign.com]