Monday, April 28, 2008

Video: Disney on Virtual Worlds as Theme Parks, Interoperability, Plans, and More

Fast Company put together a great video looking at Disney's range of virtual worlds, featuring interviews with pretty much all the heavy hitters in the department. Disney recently has taken some flak from users for closing Virtual Magic Kingdom without making it easy to take that community elsewhere. As the company ramps up for more and more virtual worlds across a wide age spectrum, it's seeing a definite need to make that a connected experience with smooth transitions.

"What that means more specifically is if you've got a buddy list in one of our games, it'd be nice if that went with you to another game," said Mike Goslin, VP, Virtual Reality Studio, Walt Disney Internet Group. "You're not playing the same character in each game because the worlds are different, but some important social things go with you. We think that makes the experience more fulfilling and also allows families to play games together or sometimes an older sibling can be in one game and a younger sibling in another, but they can still communicate."

The rest of the segment ranges from topics of evolving social media experiences as kids grow up, how communities differ according to context, some very adorable actual users, passive vs. active engagement with fantasy, and more.

Frankly, Shel Israel has put together one of the best stories about virtual worlds I've seen from the mainstream media--the Disney folks come off pretty well, too.

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