Disney is latest firm to announce metaverse plans

If Walt Disney has his way, we’ll be heading to the metaverse. The home of Mickey Mouse and Princess Elsa has declared that it intends to join the metaverse alongside Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft.

The new tech concept, which combines the real and digital worlds to allow people to communicate digitally. Is becoming a multibillion-dollar obsession for Silicon Valley executives. Including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who is betting his company’s future on it.



And now Hollywood is taking notice, according to Disney CEO Bob Chapek. Who announced on Wednesday that the corporation was planning to enter virtual reality.

“The Walt Disney Company has a long track record as an early adopter in the use of technology to enhance the entertainment experience,” Chapek said referring to Disney’s history of storytelling innovation. Which includes Steamboat Willie, the first Mickey Mouse cartoon and one of the first to feature synchronized sound.

Tilak Mandadi, Disney’s former senior vice president of digital, posted a LinkedIn article in 2020 about developing a theme park metaverse. In which the “real and digital worlds collide” via wearable devices and mobile phones.

The metaverse concept also includes augmented reality

The metaverse concept also incorporates augmented reality, in which digital aspects are put on top of reality. Such as the Pokémon Go game for mobile phones or Facebook’s recent smart eyewear collaboration with Ray-Ban.

“Our efforts to date are only a prologue to a time when we’ll be able to integrate the physical and digital worlds even more closely. Allowing for narrative without borders in our own Disney metaverse,” Chapek said during the company’s quarterly corporate results call.

On the results call, Chapek revealed no precise specifics about Disney’s plans, in keeping with a concept that is still in its early phases across the tech industry. In a subsequent interview with CNBC on Wednesday, he stated that the company’s Disney+ streaming service would be included.

In the interview, Chapek described it as a “three-dimensional canvas” that he envisions for new sorts of storytelling. Which might include a cast of characters ranging from Mickey Mouse to Snow White, Iron Man, and Luke Skywalker.

The metaverse elsewhere

The most notable proponent of the metaverse has been Mark Zuckerberg. His vision of the concept, which he presented last month. Additionally in conjunction with the announcement of Facebook’s corporate rebranding to Meta, is of avatars – or digital representations of individuals – interacting in the virtual environment by donning VR headsets (Meta owns the Oculus VR headset business).

His executives, such as PR head Nick Clegg and product boss Chris Cox, now hold weekly team meetings in the metaverse. Using the company’s Horizon Workrooms platform. However, the corporation has stated that a fully functional virtual world. In which friends may gather to try on clothes or attend pop concerts, is at least a decade away.

Microsoft’s Teams program, which includes video conferencing, is launching a metaverse for office workers. Teams users will be able to appear as avatars in online meetings starting in the first half of next year. With the option to appear as a cartoon in their portion of the screen. Once a month, 250 million people utilize Teams, giving Microsoft a significant influence over the corporate metaverse.

Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney, Unsplash.