Disney’s ‘Virtual World Simulator’ Will Bring Characters to Life

With Facebook attempting to take over the world using the Metaverse, another billion dollar company, Disney, has decided it would be fine and dandy to jump on the train.

Don’t worry, I’m just joking, sort of. This article isn’t about big tech taking over the world (although I’m sure that is next up on their agenda).

Recently, Disney obtained a patent to use the Metaverse augmented-reality (or AR for short) technology in their parks. This technology would allow someone to meet Mickey Mouse or play with Cinderella while at the Disneyland parks. While having AR goggles during COVID would be a sanitation struggle, the company’s CEO Bob Chapek  said this technology would be released soon.

Let’s start off with the basics. What is a patent, and why is it important? In simple terms, a patent shows that you are the owner of a product, therefore you can sell it or do whatever you plan to do with it. Patents cannot be used for ideas, so there has to be some physical or digital blueprint of how an idea would actually work.  

Number two, what is Augmented Reality? Well, most people know virtual reality – it’s where you wear a headset and get taken to a virtual world. Augmented reality is where you can see the reality you are physically in at the moment, but there are some computer generated entities thrown into it. For example, if you have ever been shopping on Amazon for a new TV and clicked the option to “see it in your space” that is augmented reality. While the television is not there with you, through your phone screen you can see where it would be once you make your purchase. 

Third and finally, what is the Metaverse? The Metaverse is a concept created by Facebook (now Meta), with its definition being, “A network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection. In futurism and science fiction, the term is often described as a hypothetical iteration of the Internet as a single, universal virtual world that is facilitated by the use of virtual and augmented reality headsets.”

Now that you have some understanding of a few relevant terms, let’s break down what this means for Disney.

The patent filed is for a meta verse integration via mobile devices, not headsets. The patent filed falls under “virtual-world simulator in a real-world venue.” This “virtual-world simulator” would track users around the park using their mobile devices and generate personalized experiences for them to enjoy. For example, imagine walking down Main Street and seeing The Seven Dwarfs. This is something that would be possible with this augmented reality, Metaverse integration. 

While Disney has stated that they have no plans to use this in the near future, news about the approval of this patent will definitely have fans eager to receive a product like this as soon as possible.