In recent days, ever since Facebook’s parent company changed its name to “Meta” and announced the creation of its Metaverse, the topic has become a hot-button issue both in the tech sector and beyond.
During yesterday’s Walt Disney Company fourth-quarter earnings call, CEO Bob Chapek confirmed that the creation of the “Disney Metaverse” is underway. He spoke about Disney’s history in technological innovation and alluded to how this will serve the business well moving forward:
“Our company is truly unique and that we have a significant presence in the physical world through our parks and resorts, as well as media entertainment assets in the digital world. And it is incredible to see how our use of emerging technology and insights gained through our enumerable consumer touch points is enabling us to transform the way people interact with and experience our stories and products in both worlds. The Walt Disney Company has a long track record as an early adopter in the use of technology to enhance the entertainment experience, Steamboat Willie, the first cartoon with synchronized sound, our groundbreaking development and use of audio animatronics. We were the first to distribute downloaded content on the new Apple iPod back in 2005.
Pixar [which Disney purhcased from Apple founder Steve Jobs] has been a pioneer in computer animation. These are just a few examples. Suffice it to say, our efforts to date are merely a prologue to a time when we’ll be able to connect the physical and digital worlds even more closely, allowing for storytelling without boundaries in our own Disney metaverse. And we look forward to creating unparalleled opportunities for consumers to experience everything Disney has to offer across our products and platforms wherever the consumer may be.”
While Chapek didn’t expound on the specifics of what the Disney Metaverse will entail during yesterday’s event, it is likely that the company has plans to further connect consumers to their various brands — including Lucasfilm/Star Wars, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Pixar Animation Studios — within their own homes.
Chapek has previously spoken about how the best storytelling in the world will remain Disney’s priority in years to come, both at theme parks like Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort and at home.
Imagine, for instance, a world in which you could “invite” Disney, Star Wars, and Marvel characters into your living room via virtual reality glasses — this is the sort of thing the Disney Metaverse could potentially make possible.
Last year, Google offered a Grogu (AKA “Baby Yoda”) augmented reality experience [above] that gave users a limited glimpse of what this type of technology could look like.
It is worth noting, though, that a true Metaverse experience would be significantly more immersive than this. One description of a Metaverse notes:
…[the Metaverse is] the digital intersection of social media, augmented reality, virtual reality, gaming, shopping, cryptocurrency, and actual reality. … Instead of going to a store to try on a dress, you’ll pop on a VR headset and using hologram technology to try it on from home.
At this time, details about the Disney Metaverse remain scant, but Chapek did tease an exciting future for the Disney brand, largely due to technological innovation as the 21st century moves forward:
“As we look ahead to this next frontier, given our unique combination of brands, franchises, physical and digital experiences and global reach, we see limitless potential and that makes us as excited as ever about The Walt Disney Company’s next 100 years.”
What do you hope the Disney Metaverse entails?