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Mickey goes online as Disney invests in Virtual Worlds

Michael Zenke

The Virtual World News site took the time to pick through an earnings call from the house of Mouse, and found that Disney had a ton to talk about when it came to Virtual Worlds. From comments made during the call by company President Robert Iger, their purchase of Club Penguin last summer and the launch of Pirates of the Caribbean Online was just Disney clearing its throat. In addition to an online world based on the film "Cars", the company plans to spend some $100 million on virtual worlds in the coming years.

Iger clarified that there were a few reasons for Disney's shift to the virtual. First, the company's franchises are being re-examined for new opportunities. VWs fit in nicely alongside plush dolls, action figures, and kiddie clothing in a marketing agenda. Second, it's much easier to develop and staff a virtual world than it is to design and build a new theme park attraction. That's historically been the only place fans could really get 'inside' their favorite Disney products, and Virtual Worlds are a nice alternative. Finally, he notes that for a younger audience online worlds are just plain more important than they are for older generations. Yet more evidence of the growing cachet of online gaming.

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