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Disney planning own metaverse?

disney bob iger

Ex Disney Chair Bob Iger spoke to Sway’s Kara Swisher about various topics, including non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and the metaverse. Iger is optimistic about NFTs and the metaverse, which Disney is considering creating. But he is concerned about the potential for toxic behavior in virtual worlds, given the precedent on social media. 

Iger was CEO at Disney for 15 years through to 2020 and then retained his role of Chairman until the end of 2021. So the 70-year old has been retired for less than a month. Talking about the metaverse, Iger believes there won’t be a single one, but your avatar will be able to move between them.

However, he’s very concerned about the negative outbursts demonstrated on Twitter, Facebook and other platforms. “Imagine what can happen when you have a much more compelling and immersive and — I’ll call it collective of people or avatars of people in that environment, and what kind of toxic behavior could happen,” said Iger.

As a result, there will be a demand for tools to filter out bad actors. “So I think something Disney is going to have to consider as it talks about creating a metaverse for themselves is moderating and monitoring behavior,” said Iger. Given the amount of creative content that Disney owns, a Disney metaverse could be an amazing experience. At the end of last year Disney was awarded a patent for a virtual world based on Disney World or other real world experiences.

Moving onto NFTs, Iger acknowledged he was a big baseball card collector in his youth and hence seeds immense potential in NFTs. “I think you’re going to see an explosion of things being created, traded, collected in NFTs,” he said. But he also lamented the amount of copyright infringement he saw when looking at NFTs listed on the OpenSea marketplace.

Disney and subsidiary Marvel have launched NFTs, but so far they’ve been simple licensing contracts for static digital NFTs. Several deals have been with collectibles startup Veve, which also ran a subscription promotion for Disney +. Veve has agreements for Marvel characters such as Spiderman and collectible Marvel comics, the Simpsons, Star Wars and several other Disney properties.

However, it’s not all one way traffic for NFTs. Some gaming fans are not keen on the idea, and Ubisoft encountered pushback when it recently trialed in-game assets as NFTs.

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