Last Thursday, the annual Demo Day for the Disney Accelerator was held at the Walt Disney Studios. Each of the six participating companies shared more information about their products while Disney shared how they may collaborate with the participants to bring new experiences and products to their audience.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek was on hand to introduce the presentation which showed the audience how seriously the company takes their ongoing legacy of innovation. This year’s cohort was focused on companies that can use cutting edge technologies and new trends, such as NFTs, to bring stories to life.
The first company to present was Flickplay. They are a Web3 social app that enables users to discover digital collectibles tied to real-world locations that they can experience and share via AR. They set up a scavenger hunt on the Walt Disney Studios lot where participants could unlock character moments that could be used in social posts. The company is currently having discussions with Disney Consumer Products, Games, and Publishing on how to create digital activations in physical locations across the United States.
Inworld allows users to create interactive, AI-driven characters for immersive experiences. We got to experience an interactive Droid Maker that was created in collaboration with ILMxLAB that could answer your questions. You can imagine how having the ability to create characters that can interact in real-time could have major storytelling applications. In addition, Inworld is exploring the development of an AI personality for Disney Star’s DisneyStarverse platform.
Lockerverse is a community platform that empowers creators and brands to tell culture-defining stories and deliver unique access and experiences. They have partnered with several well-known athletes and other creators to create an intimate NFT experience. Currently, they are working with ESPN to launch a free NFT of the Celebration Bowl Trophy, to be exclusively first offered at the Celebration Bowl on December 17 in Atlanta.
You may have seen the virtual Disney Music Emporium that launched last month. That was powered by another Disney Accelerator participant called Obsess. They are an experiential e-commerce platform that enables brands to create immersive 3D virtual stores on their websites and on Web3 platforms. Beyond the Disney Music Emporium, Obsess is also in conversations with Disneyland Resort and shopDisney to create a special retail experience.
Not all of the ways Disney is working with participants are for consumer experiences. Polygon is a business layer for blockchain technology that allows developers and enterprises to build Web3 experiences. They are currently working with Disney on developing a proof of concept for exclusive digital collectibles to recognize Disney employees and cast members during special occasions such as the traditional service award celebrations.
Red 6 is an AR company that has created a patented headset and interface that works outdoors in dynamic, high-performance environments. While initially developed for military applications, there are ways it could be used for entertainment, just as the technology of Star Tours was initially developed for pilot training. The Red 6 team took Disney executives into the air where they used the headsets to feel like they were in the middle of a Star Wars battle featuring TIE Fighters, Star Destroyers, and a Death Star. They also teased how the headsets could be used on attractions such as the Incredicoaster, to add another dimension of storytelling to the experience. According to Disney, Walt Disney Imagineering and Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) are exploring opportunities to bring this technology into our story-driven environments for next generation experiences of the future.
Ever since Walt Disney applied synchronized sound to Steamboat Willie, innovation has been at the heart of how The Walt Disney Company continues to grow creatively. It was great to see this cohort share their innovations and how they have inspired the innovators at Disney to tell stories in new ways. It will be exciting to see how these companies continue to grow in the future.