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Disney CEO Bob Chapek is preparing the company to blend its physical and digital assets in the metaverse.
“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 Wednesday during the company’s quarterly earnings call. “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.”
Disney already has entered into the virtual reality space with games and experiences that let users virtually interact with Disney characters and environments. The Star Wars franchise in particular has gotten the VR treatment thanks to its relationship with ILMxLAB, Lucasfilm’s immersive entertainment studio, and guests at the Disneyland Resort will also get a special preview of the studio’s game, Star Wars: Tales From the Galaxy’s Edge, on the Oculus Quest 2 later in November.
Chapek’s comments come as tech and entertainment companies appear to be closely following as Meta, recently rebranded from Facebook, shifts its focus to augmented and virtual reality into the metaverse. In a letter published Oct. 28, the Facebook founder described the metaverse as an “embodied Internet” created by multiple companies.
“The metaverse will not be created by one company,” wrote Zuckerberg, who has said Meta will invest $10 billion into the metaverse. “It will be built by creators and developers making new experiences and digital items that are interoperable and unlock a massively larger creative economy than the one constrained by today’s platforms and their policies.”
As for now, the metaverse appears more dream than reality, but tech companies like Microsoft have already jumped into the fray with 3D avatars and other interactive features for virtual meetings. And while Chapek didn’t provide any details on his plans for the Disney metaverse, the emphasis on connecting the “physical and digital worlds” follows the company’s recent VR efforts and its focus on Disney+, which is having its own dedicated event dubbed Disney+ Day on Nov. 12, with new content releases and promotional offers.
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