Can Disney-Epic deal bring in more fans?


Being an enthusiast of VR/AR, I am a proud owner of both the Meta Quest 2 and 3. The future of VR headsets like these, including the new Apple Vision Pro, is bright given their steady improvement in aspects like size, technology, and processing power. The potential of these devices to transport users into any experience or place they wish to explore is enormous. I firmly believe in the promising future of traditional sports and esports in VR spheres.

This belief is further reinforced by Disney’s massive $1.5 billion investment in Epic Games and Fortnite, signaling an ongoing paradigm shift in the world of digital entertainment. It greatly accentuates the growing significance and positive growth trajectory for virtual entertainment realms, with esports poised to reap future benefits.

Amish Shah, the co-founder and chief business officer of the Infinite Reality esports organization, explained how this investment bolsters Epic Games’ continuous efforts in turning Disney IP into profitable gaming adventures. They’ve successfully done similar endeavors with Star Wars, Marvel, among other properties, earning it comparisons with Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard acquisition.

Fortnite thrives on its Unreal Engine technology enabling versatile creation tools for virtual worlds. Big names in the industry, including Mr. Beast, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, GameSquare esports backed by Cowboys, Mastercard, Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf, Rocket League, among others, have tapped into this potential.

In relation to esports, Shah predicts that while Disney’s move may not have an immediate impact, it promises potential benefits in the long run.

Shah further states, “Disney’s venture with Epic Games might just kick-start a new age of content development and distribution in gaming and esports. It can potentially widen the esports fanbase, attracting fans from mainstream entertainment and media sectors, and pave the way for greater integration with mainstream pop culture. It might also harness Disney’s IP, introducing well-loved characters and storylines into the gaming domain, thus offering engaging content that caters to a broader audience.”

Following a successful campaign with the ardent fanbase of fighting video games during the Evolution Championship Series (Evo) last year, Chipotle has returned as this year’s presenting sponsor. However, the lingering question is whether they can recreate the viral response they garnered last year?

Apart from Chipotle, brands like Wendy’s and Mastercard have also successfully executed robust esports activations with Fortnite and League of Legends, respectively.

Chipotle, however, stood out due to the far-reaching impact of its activation beyond the gaming community last year.

Evo and Chipotle teamed up to reward winning gamers with a gift card for an entree, which surprisingly evolved into a coveted status symbol within the Evo circle. This unexpected development took both Evo and Chipotle by surprise

“Our fans participated enthusiastically, contributing to other events with lesser prestige. This helped cultivate an appreciation for the partnership, resulting in a crowd of thousands cheering for a Chipotle commercial,” said Rick Thiher, GM of Evo. />

Although the exact giveaways for this year’s event in July remain undisclosed, last year’s momentum is already setting the tone for this year, with a notable 75% YoY increase in Day 1 registrations compared to the same intervals last year.

  • OverActive Media’s Canadian esports franchise, Toronto Defiant, is preparing to venture into the newly announced Overwatch Champions Series for the 2024 season, as reported by Esports Insider. Interestingly, it’s the first former squad of the Overwatch League taking a plunge into this new circuit, according to Dot Esports.
  • Evil Geniuses has been “allegedly prevented by Riot Games” from transferring its franchised Valorant Championship Series spot to FlyQuest, as noted by Dot Esports.
  • As per Esports Insider’s report, the North American League of Legends tournament (LCS) has “struck a deal” with Pagoda Snacks. For 2024, the LCS broadcasts will incorporate a ‘Let Him Cook’ segment featuring gameplay clips and highlights from the day, courtesy of Pagoda.

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