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Disney CEO Plans to Join Facebook & Microsoft in the Metaverse

Disney teases its own metaverse

Disney CEO Plans to Join Facebook & Microsoft in the Metaverse
Disney metaverse // Illustration by Kate Walker

Disney teases its own metaverse

The Future. According to Disney CEO Bob Chapek, Disney is exploring the idea of building its own metaverse. The move could be a boon to the already-peaking Disney+… and may inspire other streamers to set up their own proprietary metaverse destinations (this is all supposed to be connected someday) around their IP.

Metaverse Key
Puck’s Matthew Belloni spoke with metaverse maven Matthew Ball about the possibilities of a Disney metaverse.

  • For story: Disney can extend the story from film and TV to a shared universe gameplay that brings the audience further into franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • For theme parks: Disney can make the relatively exclusive Disneyland or Disney World accessible through the digital realm.
  • For streaming: Disney could use Disney+ as the gateway to accessing its metaverse and use its own ILM-created game engine, Helios, to power it.
  • For talent: Disney would probably have to purchase “likeness rights” in order to use the voice and performance of, for example, Robert Downey Jr., as Iron Man.

Magic ceiling
While Disney+ quickly ascended to the top of the streaming charts, it’s starting to plateau in the U.S., only adding 2 million subscribers. That means many of the people that would sign up for Disney+ — families, Marvel fans, Star Wars fans — already have. Unfortunately, Disney is not exactly known for a variety of content that would randomly draw in subscribers quarter after quarter.

That’s why Chapek is noncommittal about theatrical windows, saying that “flexibility” is key to making shareholders happy (i.e., if they need growth, they might just drop a Marvel movie on Disney+). Over the course of the next decade, a metaverse could be a magic bullet for the streamer.