Metaverse playground is coming? Disney has patented ‘virtual world simulator’ technology

Disney is one step closer to creating its own virtual theme park.

Disney was awarded a patent for the “virtual world simulator” technology in the last week of December 2021. (This technology was filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in July 2020.)

Once launched, the Metaverse theme park will provide visitors with a lifelike and highly immersive 3D virtual experiencewithout the need to wear AR headsets or use AR-enabled smartphones .

The virtual world simulator will use SLAM technology (simultaneous localization and mapping) to continuouslytrack visitors’ phones and generate and project personalized 3D effects as they move around theme park attractions or real-world spaces .

The device is not designed for mass entertainment, but to create personalized interactive attractions for tourists. Example: One visitor sees Mickey Mouse greeting them at a hot dog stand, while another might interact with Princess Belle and Cinderella. 

Virtual worlds are largely imagined to exist on the internet and can be accessed using virtual reality or AR headsets.However, Disney’s proposed technology will bring the virtual world into the physical world.

Metaverse playground is coming? Disney has patented 'virtual world simulator' technology

This isn’t the first time Disney has expressed interest in the metaverse.

Disney has shown interest in virtual worlds as the company prepares to mix digital and physical assets in virtual worlds, Disney CEO Bob Chapek said at the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call in November 2021.

“We’ll be able to connect the physical and digital worlds more closely, allowing us to tell stories without restrictions in our own Disney virtual world,” Chapek said.  

In November 2020, Tilak Mandadi, chief strategy officer at MGM Resorts International, shared in a LinkedIn post that his goal is to merge the digital and physical worlds. “As we look to the future, the connected park experience that transcends physical and digital barriers and unlocks new layers of storytelling is our very exciting focus,” he wrote.

Although Disney told the Los Angeles Times that there are currently no plans to use the simulator in the future, adding that Disney files hundreds of patents each year to explore developing the technology. But the recently approved patent echoes Mandadi’s vision for a “metaverse theme park.”

Metaverse playground is coming? Disney has patented 'virtual world simulator' technology

Currently, there are 12 official Disney theme parks around the world, located in the United States, France, Japan, Hong Kong and China. Despite the pandemic’s massive global impact, Disney’s total revenue through its parks, experiences and products divisions last year was nearly $17 billion.

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