Disney CEO Bob Chapek named an executive to oversee the company’s metaverse strategy on Tuesday.
Mike White will be Disney’s senior vice president of “next generation storytelling,” according to a document seen by CNBC from Chapek. Prior to this, White oversaw Disney’s consumer experiences and platforms. According to his LinkedIn profile, White worked at Yahoo and other Internet companies before joining Disney in 2011.
The term “metaverse” alludes to a new form of entertainment provided by virtual reality gadgets, which has the potential to bring in a new era of internet commerce. To date, Facebook has placed the biggest commitment on the metaverse, rebranding itself as Meta and investing more than $10 billion in virtual reality hardware and software development by 2021.
Chapek hasn’t revealed how Disney hopes to profit from the metaverse, but he did say in his Tuesday message that White’s job will be to “connecting the physical and digital worlds” for Disney entertainment.
In the memo, Chapek stated, “Today, we have an opportunity to connect those universes and create an entirely new paradigm for how audiences experience and engage with our stories.”
Despite the enthusiasm and investment around the metaverse, the technology is still a long way off. Meta executives have stated that fully realising their vision of immersive worlds accessed through a pair of electronic spectacles could take up to 15 years.
In the meantime, major tech firms are experimenting with new types of augmented and virtual reality headsets. Microsoft produces an augmented reality device called HoloLens, while Meta said it aims to deliver an upgraded version of its VR headset later this year. Apple’s headset is expected to be unveiled this year.