The Walt Disney Company has big plans to go full in on Metaverse type technology to bring Disney offerings to all those who are willing to pay for it. You can’t go to a Disney park, well no problem they will bring experiences to you (for a fee) by turning Disney not only into a lifestyle brand but an “experimental lifestyle platform.”
Bob Chapek, CEO of the Walt Disney Company, talked to Deadline about their plans moving forward. He told the outlet that he wants to take Disney+ beyond a movie service platform.
“We call it next-gen storytelling. We tend not to use the M word [Metaverse] too often, because it has a lot of hair on it. But yes, Disney+ will not just be a movie service platform, but it’s going to become an experiential lifestyle platform. A platform for the whole company to embody both the physical things that you might be able to experience in a theme park, but also the digital experiences that you can get through media.”
Of course Deadline asked the big question of “How?”
What is an “experimental lifestyle platform?”
Bob explained: “So, we wish every person would have the opportunity to come to our parks, but we realize that’s not a reality for some people. In order to reach the 90% of people that will never ever be able to get to a Disney park, we have before us an opportunity to turn what was a movie-service platform to an experiential platform and give them the ability to ride Haunted Mansion from a virtual standpoint. The utility isn’t just to have the same experience. Maybe we’ll give them the opportunity what every single person in the park wants to do, and unfortunately too many of them do it, just to get off the attraction. See how it works, see how those ghost dancers move…”
So virtually ride The Haunted Mansion but the be able to get off the attraction and see all the backstage areas that Disney wants people to see?
This reminds me of the videos people post when they break into off-limits areas and they get thousands of views. Or when people watch POV attraction videos. Disney wants to do it themselves to cash in.
It sounds like a fun idea, but let’s be honest, they won’t do just that. They will have “hosts” that keep interrupting to talk at you, like they do every time there is an official live-stream or ride-through video. Or they will put all kinds of commercials into it for what they are pushing that day.
The Deadline interviewer also asked Chapek if he was thinking something along the lines of a VR experience like an Oculus. Bob Chapek seems to indicate that initially that is the idea but down the road it will be more.
Honestly, I find it all a bit creepy.
Here’s what he said:
“We want to give people the ability to experience digitally, something that’s akin to a physical experience that they necessarily can’t be at that place in that time. But it’s even more important than that. So, when a family comes to our parks, we know exactly what you did. Let’s say you stay a week. We got seven days, 24 hours a day. We know everything that you do in the park. And if you give us the permission and ability through the membership app, we’ll program your Disney+ experience, not according to what you watched last or what other people who watch this show, but to what you did, what you experienced.”
This reminds me of things that the CEO has said on past investor calls about their tracking of guests and all the data they have on people who use Disney products like a MagicBand or Disney+.
Disney wants to develop and AI or an algorithm that studies you and your family to offer you “experiences” and “opportunities” that you can spend more money on. Sounds a bit predatory. Mickey spyware?
While I do love the idea of riding attractions whenever you want or the idea of exploring other areas of the parks, or visiting the parks and having special activities opened to you, the data collection aspect feels a bit stalkerish. What he’s talking about kind of gives me pause. Though I do admit I might be tempted by realistic ride-throughs of lost attractions.
I’m sure Disney will find a way to do it and people will line up.
It all feels so Tron-esque.
What do you think? Comment and let us know!
Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.