Disney has announced that it wants a bite of the virtual reality pie and plans to have a Disney metaverse. CEO Bob Chapek said that the company is preparing to make the technological leap into a virtual reality world, with Disney+ at its centre.
Chapek told investors that entering this new digital frontier is consistent with Disney’s long history of technological innovation, citing the infamous Steamboat Willie cartoon starring Mickey Mouse, which was the first cartoon to have synchronised sound.
In an interview with CNBC, Chapek said that the Disney metaverse would combine the experience of its parks, movies, and books, calling it a three-dimensional canvas without constraints. As with the concept as a whole, the implementation of Disney’s virtual world is currently vague, with scant details. When asked if it would require a VR headset or goggles, Chapek said that while it’s possible, the experience wouldn’t necessarily require them.
Metaverse is the hot buzzword in Silicon Valley nowadays, with various tech companies notably gearing up for the future of virtual reality. Facebook went so far as to change its name to Meta, to encompass its shifting focus to developing products for the metaverse.
The two-year anniversary of Disney+, the conglomerate’s streaming platform, is coming up on 12 November and since its inception, it has racked up 118.1 million paying subscribers. However, it had only added 2.1 million new customers during the quarter, far less than the 10.2 million estimates by analysts.
That being said, Chapek is still confident that the streaming service can get the previously forecasted 230 million to 260 million Disney+ subscribers by the end of fiscal 2024.