Bob Iger Returns to Disney – Will a Big Push in the Metaverse Be Next?

Metaverse fan and investor Bob Iger, the now-former CEO of Disney, is back, and a recent investment in NFT avatar startup Genies suggests the Mouseaverse is coming soon.

Disney just jumped into the Metaverse in a big way.

Not directly, although recent hires, patents and other news have suggested that The Walt Disney Company is increasingly interested in the potential of the Metaverse.

However, the shock announcement that Bob Iger is returning to the company he transformed into an entertainment giant during his 15-year run as chairman and CEO – culminating in his retirement in 2020 Air – This means the Metaverse’s importance to the company just skyrocketed.

In March, Iger invested in and joined the board of Genies, a Los Angeles-based Web3 company aimed at creating and developing cross-metaverse NFT avatars on the Flow blockchain.

Jens’ most immediate goal is to create avatars — the animated 3D characters people design to represent themselves in immersive virtual worlds that many companies see as the future of entertainment and social media. Most notable is Meta, whose name Mark Zuckerberg changed from Facebook a year ago to emphasize his belief in its future importance.

In announcing the deal on March 14, Iger said:

“I have always been fascinated by the intersection between technology and art, and jeans offer unique and compelling opportunities to harness the power of this combination to enable new forms of creativity, expression and communication.”

He said he is “particularly interested in companies that are using technology for disruptive purposes and, where possible, the relationship between technology and creativity,” Yahoo Finance reported. Iger added that he believes jeans could change the entire entertainment industry.

On Twitter, Iger added, he wants to help the company “empower humans to build ‘mobile apps Web3’: the avatar ecosystem.”

The Apple of the Web 3

Jane’s main goal is to create avatars that can seamlessly hop between a constellation of metaverses that he believes will be built on Web3 — a slightly random, decentralized next-generation World Wide Web. Blockchain is built on technology and focuses on privacy and personal control of users. Their personal data. Social media profiles, for example, will be portable between different platforms – think Facebook, Twitter and TikTok, for example.

Jeans, which now seems like a pretty obvious acquisition target for Disney, has a strong following of celebrities from Justin Bieber and Rihanna to Cardi B.

Currently, jeans are mostly focused on creating avatars and attracting fashion brands that want to sell clothing and accessories that aim to let people dress up and express themselves through their avatars. Gucci, Nike, Balenciaga and a host of other fashion brands have entered the metaverse on platforms like Decentraland and The Sandbox, as well as non-blockchain worlds like Roblox, Second Life and Fortnite.

NFT fashion accessories have been covered by Vogue, Elle, Women’s Wear Daily, and other fashion outlets, and some sell for prices similar to the real-life versions. Nike is by far the most successful seller of NFTs, generating $185 million in virtual sales.

Ron Farris, vice president of Nike Virtual Studios and head of Web3/Metaverse, told Vogue Business earlier this month:

“When you think about a virtual product like a virtual shoe, it’s not just a shoe; it’s the product and the experience, the service or the utility. We don’t see the virtual product as the end of the shopping journey. The journey begins.”

Its upcoming Dot Swoosh NFT platform is “a place for people to buy, show off and trade physical and virtual products; unlock access to events and products; and co-create products.”

As for Janes, long-term it also wants to develop Metaverse places and experiences, with CEO Akash Nigam modestly saying the company wants to be “the decentralized Apple of Web 3.”

Built on the Flow blockchain developed by NBA Top Shots NFT developer Dapper Labs, Genies has partnerships with the National Football League and Major League Baseball, as well as Universal and Warner Music.

Metaverse Entertainment has shown signs of legs even though the technology is in the early stages of development. Virtual concerts by the likes of Ariana Grande and rapper Travis Scott have drawn millions of attendees to “live” avatar performing events.

The Mickeyverse

Disney has dipped its toe into the metaverse in a number of ways, such as adding a high-profile attorney focused on blockchain and NFT technology to the Ethereum layer 2 blockchain Polygon — whose MATIC token by market capitalization Top 10 Cryptocurrencies. Its Disney Accelerator Program in July.

But Chapek never got too excited, telling The Hollywood Reporter in October that Disney’s goals for the Metaverse — a term he doesn’t like — prioritize “next-generation storytelling.”

“What we’re trying to do is create a toolbox of utilities that can then be used by our creators at Pixar, Disney and Marvel and [Lucas Film] who can then take those utilities and use them to tell stories. can be used for. A customized, more personal approach.”

In November, the publication called Chapex “bearish” on Metaverse, saying it believed “I don’t think you’ll ever get a replacement for the theme park experience,” and suggested that Metaverse was best left out. For things like a virtual tour of the inner workings of the Haunted Mansion ride.

That said, Citi released an analyst report in October that predicted Disney would be one of the biggest beneficiaries of NFT technology, CoinDesk reported.

It seems that Egger will take a more expansive view. And while his tenure will be short-lived — he has a two-year contract with the goal of finding a new successor — it will likely be someone with a more proactive view of the Metaverse prospect.

Especially when you add Imagineers to the mix.

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