The Mouse House Might Head to the Metaverse
The metaverse can head to a Disney theme park near you.
Disney received approval for a “virtual world simulator” patent shortly before the New Year, according to a recent filing with the United States Patent Office. The technology would be used to project 3D images onto real-world objects to create interactive experiences for guests in its parks without the need for a headset or mobile device. If you’re not familiar, we call this kind of bridge between the physical world and the virtual world the metaverse, aka Silicon Valley’s latest buzzword.
Disney is already using augmented reality technology for large-scale entertainment in its theme parks, such as using map projection to bring its characters to life in shop windows, waterfalls, and other real-world structures. Butits new technology would have a very different scale: it would follow individual park visitors to customize the projections they see on objects and walls nearby. For example, a family walking past a storefront might see Mickey Mouse greet them as they pass.
If the House of the Mouse integrates the metaverse into its parks, it probably won’t happen anytime soon. Disney officials told Los Angeles Times that the company has no immediate plans to use the virtual world simulation technology described in its patent.
“We are excited about the possibilities with this type of technology,” a Disney spokesperson said at the point of sale, adding that “there are currently no plans to introduce this technology into a future experiment.” . The spokesperson also pointed out that Disney “files hundreds of patents each year as we explore developing technologies.”
However, as Initiated points out, incorporating the metaverse into its theme parks would certainly follow Disney’s ambitious plan objective of telling stories through a “three-dimensional canvas”. CEO Bob Chapek detailed this vision during Disney’s fourth quarter earnings call:
“Our efforts to date are just a prologue to a time when we can connect the physical and digital worlds even more closely, enabling limitless storytelling in our own Disney metaverse,” said Chapek.
It is worth noting that companies as big as disney has a habit of getting patents just to keep competitors from getting their first one, which could very well be the case here.
“They might never use it, but I have a feeling it’s something that they’re going to market,” said Ed Khalili, patent attorney at Founders Legal, in an interview with the THE Ttime.