Over the past year, it seems like every major tech company has thrown its weight behind the idea of a so-called “metaverse.” Apple and Google are working on devices while Microsoft continues to work on enterprise applications within this realm. Facebook was so confident about this trend that it officially changed its name and set aside a $10 billion budget for metaverse development.
However, despite billions in funding and ceaseless news coverage, there’s little clarity on what the metaverse is and whether these technologies are as feasible and groundbreaking as some have claimed. This is why Disney’s efforts in this arena are particularly interesting.
With a new leadership team at its helm, Disney has indicated that the metaverse could be a top priority for the foreseeable future. Here’s how Disney’s bet on this revolution is shaping its future and why it could make the use case of such technologies much more realistic.
Disney’s big bet
Since he took office, Disney Chief Executive Bob Chapek has made it clear that the metaverse is a primary focus for the entertainment giant. In an interview with Bloomberg’s Emily Chang, Chapek said the company was uniquely suited to developing metaverse experiences based on their existing portfolio of intellectual property.
“We can add a third dimension of storytelling,” he said. “I think it’s the next great horizon for Disney.”
The company has already taken serious steps towards integrating its content portfolio with its merchandise and property portfolio to create immersive experiences. Earlier this year, the enterprise was granted a patent to create augmented reality (AR) attractions at Disney theme parks. The company has also appointed Mike White as a senior executive for this new metaverse division of the Walt Disney Company.
Last year, the company launched Disney’s Golden Moments, a collection of non-fungible tokens representing beloved characters such as Iron Man, WallE, and C3PO. These one-of-a-kind pieces of digital art can be collected and traded by fans but also grant complimentary access to a full year of Disney+. This tiny NFT project could be considered another experiment in the company’s grand metaverse ambitions.
Source: Disney / Solana News
There is little clarity about how the company intends to monetize these efforts in the metaverse. However, Chapek’s comments, NFT experiments, and patents could indicate the future of this industry.
The future of the metaverse
Disney’s strategy seems to be focused on adding a digital layer to physical locations and tangible products. The fact that the team’s first NFT is tied to Disney+ subscriptions and that augmented reality experiences could be added to existing resorts and theme parks indicates a practical approach to the metaverse.
If these early experiments are successful it could indicate that a commercially-viable metaverse needs certain assets such as intellectual property, robust branding, physical locations, or a passionate community of fans.
Disney’s new leadership team has made it clear that the metaverse is a top priority. With its unique mix of intellectual assets, real estate, and digital content, Disney could be uniquely positioned for success in this new arena.