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The MetaVerse: Brave New World or Capitalist Nightmare? – ETFdb.com

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When I heard that Facebook was rebranding itself “Meta” in honor of the Metaverse, I had two immediate thoughts:
The latter is sour grapes, but the former is worth exploring because there’s no question in my mind, a lot of your over-40 clients are going to be a bit confused, and thanks to Facebook, now they’re gonna ask.
The reason I hate the word is manifold, but it starts with Neil Stephenson’s Snow Crash, a book I love from an author I love. I won’t present my deconstruction of its themes here, I’ll save that for some podcast, but it was enormously influential on anyone interested in the internet in 1992 who was paying attention. The MetaVerse in the book is essentially what we saw on screen in Ready Player One — a simulated virtual worldspace that people strapped on glasses and haptic suits to interact with — which replaced the boring old screens, mice, and keyboards we use now to do all the same things (interact, entertain, communicate, work, etc.). That’s the main reason I hate it, because everyone thinks you just mean VR.
And look, VR is cool. I’m on my fourth version of VR hardware (Oculus Quest 2), and it does a few things incredibly well, most notably putting you in an environment. I know traders who spend most of their workday under a helmet now. I know artists who create under a helmet, and I know lots of gamers who play under a helmet (myself included, check out Beat Saber or Superhot). So that’s why I hate it, because that’s not actually what most folks mean right now when they mention the MetaVerse this week, if they’re really thinking about it.
The “real” MetaVerse, as the literal word has come to evolve, has best been articulated by Matthew Ball, a venture capitalist who published the “MetaVerse Primer” in April of 2021. It’s really worth reading, but I will paste one important image:
This is Ball’s Map, and it’s kind of locked into how most folks are describing things. Notice that “Virtual Platforms” is just one small component here. Instead, this is about the interoperability of a whole range of hardware, software, and creative content housed on the internet that will, hopefully, all work together in ways that encourage two primary benefits.
The first is connection — not just “Bob can talk to Alice,” but that all of the actors in this new ecosystem (also referred to as Web 3.0, which I prefer), can not only talk to each other but exchange objects, information, and services with each other. The second is ownership — the idea that actors in the ecosystem have real ownership of the digitally-native content they are interested in owning or consuming or otherwise interacting with.
If that sounds familiar, it’s because this is essentially what many of us were talking about during endless and largely boring standards group meetings from about 1990 to 2001 or so. We all thought we were investing in and building a big interactive, interoperable digital universe. I remember when I was naïve enough to think I could take my CD collection online with me someday.
What happened instead is that many of, if not most of those egalitarian, near-utopian visions of the future were coopted rather quickly by capitalism. So for example, think about what happened with Linux? Linus had grand ideas, Red Hat realized that adoption required a bag-holder so they raised their hands, and IBM took it all over. What about the promise of building communities? Well, for me that started with the W.E.L.L. and Usenet, and by the ‘90s, it was mostly AOL groups, and in Web 2.0? It’s Facebook. In music, we went from “share everything” with Napster to “well actually just license the tracks” with Apple to “musicians now just work for us directly” with Spotify.
I’m not actually saying this is all bad. I’m saying that this is a pattern we have seen before, and the reason we have the current highly-dysfunctional, ownershipless, connection-challenged, multiply-siloed internet is because the influence of capital on a system perturbs the best of intentions. And now, thanks to the culmination of hardware development, network effects, the interoperability afforded by (particularly smart-contract based) crypto, and perhaps mostly the catalyst of 18 months of learning how to live online whether we want to or not, there’s a growing movement to make living online… suck less? Be cooler?
And I’m all for it. The problem is, here’s how I see the landscape. Bitcoin was going to be a kind of anti-capitalist, or at least anti-statist money. It became heavily capitalized on by, well, almost everyone, but particularly folks like the exchanges and trading communities. The grand ideas from Snow Crash (which wasn’t a blueprint, it was commentary, but there were SOME positive ideas) were expressed almost immediately (and successfully) inside Second Life, but was then much more successfully capitalized on by the VR community (led largely by Valve/Steam and Facebook/Oculus), and mostly by the video game industry (who learned how to finally make bank off shared virtual spaces). And as for the “object ownership” part of things, well, we went form art NFTs, like Cryptopunks, to Axie Infinity.
And now we’re at this very, very tentative part of the story where things have been and are being capitalized, but have not yet been fully co-opted. It’s the window where butterfly wings might matter.
To try to REALLY explain this to people this last week, I’ve been using the example of Axie Infinity, and it’s just so bananas I’ve literally had people accuse me of making this up. You’re going to hear a lot about Axie, because it’s heralded as the future of the Metaverse. Here’s how I see Axie, which, I am sure, I will get lots of hatemail about telling me I’m wrong. My Twitter DMs are open, if I got facts wrong, I’ll note them here:
Axie Infinity is a game made by a company called Sky Mavis. Seemingly all young dudes, the company started in 2019, is private, and is headquartered in Vietnam. They’re on their B round, which just closed for $152 million, giving them a private implied valuation of about $3 billion. Axie is their only current game. The game itself (with all due respect) is mediocre. I’ve played a lot of games, and made a point of always playing games with my kids as well, so I feel confident in saying that very few people are playing Axie solely for it’s Pokémon-derived card-battling system. But at the core, the game is about getting three of your monsters (called Axies) to go beat up three of someone else’s monsters, using a bunch of cards and abilities.
It’s… fine. It’s no Slay the Spire or Hearthstone.
The reason Axie is interesting is because instead of just standing up servers to host their virtual world (like, say, Blizzard does with their Battle.net client, online stores, and individual games like World of Warcraft), they chose to develop the entire ecosystem on a private blockchain called Ronin, which is modelled after the Ethereum network. What that means, in practical terms, is that how you get into the game is completely unique.
Historically, with most games, you just buy ‘em and play ’em. That still happens, but “free-to-play” or “game-as-service” have become the dominant model. For example, Fortnite is free to make an account and download and play, but skins, weapons, even some content gets locked behind paywalls. Social pressure and just having fun drive players to make lots of small purchases, and the game industry has figured out that they can ensure that those people who really want to spend $10k in Fortnite have something to buy. It’s a bit like how music festivals work now, where the rich people get one experience at stupid prices in order to subsidize the experience folks with less money (or more sense) get cheaper. On balance, personally, I’m a fan. I played a ton of Fortnite with my son. I’ve played an embarrassing amount of League of Legends. It can, honestly, balance the capacity-vs-desire to pay balance that would otherwise shut a lot of gamers out.
Axie’s different. Axie lets you make the account and download the game for free, but without Axies — the monsters — you can’t play. So you have to buy Axies, which are, in fact, regular old NFTs like a JPG of a rock or a Bored Ape. They’re just NFTs in Sky Mavin’s Ronin blockchain.
To buy those Axies you use your WETH (ETH, the coin of Ethereum you would have bought somewhere else, and then transferred into the Ronin blockchain, using a bridging mechanism common in Crypto — but it’s easy right? It’s a game?) on the marketplace run by Sky Mavin, where, for reference, I dumped my worst Axie for 0.03 WETH last week, which, theoretically, I could transfer back to the Ethereum blockchain and then from there turn back into regular old dollars through a crypto exchange. About $150, to be more specific. So in a real sense, the Axie has dollar value, because it’s traded in Ronin WETH, which is structurally pegged to ETH, which trades quite liquidly against the dollar.
So you buy three of these Axies from the marketplace (currently, this costs about $500). You connect your (Ronin, Private) wallet to the game, and now your three Axies show up, and you play the game. Why would you play this game? Maybe because it’s fun, but most likely, because playing the game gets you rewards in the form of a cryptocurrency (on the private Ronin blockchain), called “Smooth Love Potions.” (Sigh). You need SLP, as it’s known, in order to take two of your Axies and breed them, which you do in order to sell them on the marketplace to people who want to join this little circus. You also need a whole other kind of token in order to breed your Axies, called AXS, which is a governance token for “the game” — although really just for the pieces of the game Sky Mavis wants people to poke at. So for example, having a lot of AXS would give you some say in whether more AXS from a “community treasury” gets distributed to players. But to be clear, you don’t “own the company” or anything — you own a token that Sky Mavis can essentially just decide what to do with.
Because it’s relatively easy to bridge and wrap digital objects in crypto land, of course both SLP and AXS trade directly against the dollar on various exchanges through various bridges.
So specie currency — dollars — enter into the system in a few ways; people buy ETH somewhere and go through the chain to get it onto Sky Mavin’s blockchain, at which point various fees for moving assets, buying axies, and so on get charged. Of course, Sky Mavin also just sells these tokens to you for currency (just, of course, not technically in the U.S., but nobody would ever try to get around a geolock, I’m sure!). And, of course, there’s now an entire ecosystem that’s blossomed around trading these two tokens, trading and breeding axies, managing rarity, and so on.
The problem is, someone has to play the game to keep the engine working, so like all good capitalists, those folks with more money than time in this ecosystem simply pay poor people to play for them.
Completely outside the official game environment, just out on websites, “Managers” (capitalists with big collections) calve off trios of axies into clone wallets and let people play them. And the manager then (hopefully! It’s the honor system!) splits the earned SLP with the player. The ecosystem (run by a company) has all the tools to enable this, and the economics of the environment are very much front and center. It’s in all the patch notes. So the “scholar” (read, “poor”) players here do work for the “Manager” (read, “rich”) players by playing the game for them, so that (depending on how you want to imagine it):
Either way, as long as the pool of axies expands and the pool of players shows up to purchase them — for investment purposes, for a joke, to actually play the game, to just earn out bread money, or whatever — as long as the pool grows, the managers at the top of the pyramid (and the company, of course) can keep the party going. And of course, they have all the tools they need, because they control the entire economy of their ecosystem. The blockchain is publicly visible… but only the game-side folks get to actually DO anything on it. You can look, but you can’t touch.
The reason it’s (maybe) worth understanding all of that is because this is the current best idea I keep hearing. And there’s some cool stuff going on here. What they’ve really done is appointed themselves the central bank of a non-state economy, and issued (at present) two Central Bank Digital Currencies. Just like China’s CBDC, they control the wallets and all the levers. (Sidebar: Folks are already analyzing the supply/demand imbalances in the same way, but with way better data and much cooler names). They choose who’s allowed to make any state change to the economy — every transaction, every bridge, every auction has to go through their validators. At the moment, they’ve “pegged” part of the economy to ETH, but they could change that tomorrow. They can change what work in the economy is valued (playing this game) with anything else they think they can get people motivated for (Play this other game! Watch this video!). It’s brilliant and somewhat scary.
I’m all about weird game ecosystems and what their interactions tell us about the real world. I mean, we advanced our understanding of epidemiology from a WoW bug. I once spent months down the rabbit hole of what Eve Online was teaching us about capital preservation and insurance. The concept of taking a game company from a closed-server monolith to a kind of consortium where different participants handle different parts of the ecosystem, using a private blockchain to preserve and broadcast the game state? Brilliant.
But, there are reasons you can’t buy AXS with U.S. Dollars right now. And the reasons are legit. Right now, it’s mostly young Asian kids who are "scholars" — laborers — in this economy. Now it’s a game, nobody’s in a coal mine here. But the “play to earn!” hype around this and similar models strikes me as problematic. Where do you draw the line between opportunity and exploitation? Or, perhaps more importantly, who draws the line? If some kid in the Philippines gets shafted out of two weeks’ “earnings,” who does he get to complain to? Who does he sue? Or when some guy in Atlanta who has a million-dollar Axie collection gets taken out by a hacker or loses his wallet key, what’s his recourse? The fact that there’s a “game” in the center of the ecosystem is a distraction. It’s a complete private blockchain economy that targets kids and capitalists.
I’m not a politician or a regulator. I point this out primarily to highlight this as an investment risk. The legal and regulatory framework of the actual physical world, the one where you still buy cheeseburgers with fiat currency, is deeply, deeply unprepared for the MetaVerse — the big Web 3.0 version. Most of us are still trying to get over the idea that we don’t actually “own” our books, music, and media anymore. We’re still trying to figure out how to let farmers fix the tractors they genuinely do own.
I am not so much of an optimist to think that we will get a slate of Congress-dwellers anytime soon who will solve these problems. As such, as investors, it’s sort of on us to be aware of the big issues going on in these exciting new technologies. Not only can they be a PR issue when things go badly, but they also can have really weird permutations. While I’m not personally casting aspersions, there are more than a few folks questioning whether Axie currently meets the definition of a Ponzi scheme. It’s not random — there’s a real game, and good Axies with good players earn more than randos like me. So it’s not technically gambling. But it’s not not gambling either, and while it’s not set up to be exploitive, its not not exploitive either.
So that’s the Metaverse. Exciting? Sure. But the unrelenting focus on capitalism as the energetic driving force for what is likely to be the cultural evolution of ownership and connection should give us pause enough to take a second look at the risks. I mean, nobody thought countries would start banning loot boxes in kids’ games, but here we are.
Look, if you already knew all that, you’re ahead of me, and you’re already day trading alt-coins, and hey, that’s great. Have fun. Be careful. But the “MetaVerse” is going to drive a lot of investing conversations. As Michael Batnick put it on Compound with Friends, “They have 3 billion users, an $800 billion market cap, and they’re going all in on the Metaverse? We can talk all the S*&T we want, its a big deal.” $30 billion in Capex. It’s going to be in the conversation.
And of course, there’s an ETF for it. In June, RoundHill launched the RoundHill Ball Metaverse ETF with the now incredible win of a ticker (META). The “Ball” in the name signals that Matthew Ball (the guy I said y’all should go read) is the guy behind the actual index the ETF tracks. And hey, I wouldn’t bet against him (or Will Hershey, RoundHill’s CEO, who’s super sharp.) But while I am generally a fan of “themes” that cross between, in this case, gaming and social media and computing and finance, I think its important to keep an eye on the second order effects. Because regulators are going to be behind on this stuff. Badly. And unregulated economic systems have a funny way of getting regulated (or just demolished) pretty quickly. The companies in the index will assuredly be important to developments here. But that doesn’t necessarily mean “they’re all going up.” We’re in week one of the hype train. Time to pay attention.
For more news, information, and strategy, visit ETF Trends.

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Metaverse

Lamina1 Presents Inaugural “Open Metaverse Conference” Connecting the Worlds of Blockchain and the Metaverse for a Next-Gen Internet – Business Wire

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Featuring a keynote from co-founder and futurist Neal Stephenson, the first-of-its-kind event aims to empower creators and coders to build the Open Metaverse together
LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Lamina1, a Layer 1 blockchain optimized for the Open Metaverse, today announced its role as founding sponsor of the Open Metaverse Conference, a first-of-its-kind industry event bringing together the worlds of the Metaverse and Web3 to build a more open and immersive Internet. The two-day conference will take place from February 8-9, 2023 in Los Angeles, California, and will gather experts and builders spanning Metaverse experiences, Web3, and entertainment.

Co-founded by Neal Stephenson, renowned futurist and science fiction author who originally coined the term “Metaverse,” and cryptocurrency pioneer Peter Vessenes, founder of the first VC-backed Bitcoin company, Lamina1 will provide the infrastructure to empower rapid expansion of the Open Metaverse. As the founding sponsor of the Open Metaverse Conference, Lamina1 will provide a forum for critical conversations around identity, privacy and interoperability, while exploring how audience engagement, creative storytelling, and the technicalities of blockchain can work hand-in-hand to make the vision of the Open Metaverse a reality.
The Open Metaverse Conference will feature keynotes from renowned technologists and storytellers who are pioneering visions for the next era of the Internet. Attendees will hear from Lamina1 co-founders Neal Stephenson and Peter Vessenes, as well as Philip Rosedale, founder of virtual world Second Life (Linden Lab) and co-founder of virtual platform High Fidelity, John Gaeta, Oscar-winning VFX pioneer (The Matrix) and CCO of character persona company Inworld AI, Cathy Hackl, Metaverse and Web3 strategist and founder of design consultancy Journey, and other industry crossover leaders to be announced. Keynote sessions will be complemented by diverse speakers and side events spanning games, art, entertainment, and commerce. To connect these key areas of culture with the technology that enables them, the Open Metaverse Conference will also facilitate technological deep dives for attendees from leaders in Web3, immersive computing, and technology standards groups. Presenting partners include the Metaverse Standards Forum, the Open Metaverse Interoperability Group, and the Open Metaverse Alliance for Web3 (OMA3), all organizations fostering interoperability.
“We are at a moment in time when developers, creatives, and producers can finally design the seamless and persistent experiences we’ve dreamed about,” said Jamil Moledina, Vice President of Games Partnerships and Media at Lamina1. “The Open Metaverse Conference will serve as the big tent for everyone who’s thinking about creating never-before-possible experiences that allow creators and consumers to enter unique virtual worlds on a level playing field.”
“OMA3 is pleased to collaborate with Lamina1 and the Open Metaverse Conference in promoting interoperability,” said Robby Yung, CEO of Animoca Brands. “OMA3 looks forward to developing talk tracks to encourage the creation of a more open and immersive internet.”
The conference will encourage interdisciplinary dialogue through debates, pitch sessions, roundtable discussions, and networking opportunities to help drive new ideas and connections.
“We felt a real sense of urgency to facilitate discussion with our colleagues and creators across the spectrum,” said Rebecca Barkin, President of Lamina1. “We know that the Open Metaverse will be built collaboratively and with a set of shared values, and we’re happy to provide this forum to address the needs of the community and to solve big problems together.”
For more information on the Open Metaverse Conference, visit www.openmetaverseconf.com.
About Open Metaverse Conference 
The Open Metaverse Conference (OMC) is an industry-first event presented by Lamina1 focused on bringing together the Metaverse and blockchain technology. The conference gathers key stakeholders spanning developers, creatives, producers, product owners, and executives to ask and address big questions around the development of a truly Open Metaverse that leverages open-source, collaborative principles and blockchain decentralization.
About Lamina1 
Lamina1 is a Layer1 blockchain optimized for the Open Metaverse. The brainchild of legendary futurist Neal Stephenson (who first conceptualized the term “Metaverse” in his 1992 best-selling novel Snow Crash) and Peter Vessenes, a foundational leader in the crypto space from the early days of Bitcoin – Lamina1 is on a mission to deliver the blockchain technology, interoperating tools, and decentralized services that will establish it as the preferred destination for creators building a more immersive Internet. It is the first provably carbon-negative blockchain in the world.
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kc.maas@wachsman.com
K.C. Maas
Wachsman
kc.maas@wachsman.com

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Facebook Founder, Zuckerberg Drops Out Of 10 Richest Men After Losing Half Of Fortunes – SaharaReporters.com

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According to Forbes, the Facebook founder has lost more than half his fortune—a staggering $76.8 billion—since September 2021, dropping him from No. 3 on The Forbes 400 list of the U.S.’ wealthiest people to No. 11. Worth $57.7 billion on this year’s list.
 
Meta chief executive officer, Mark Zuckerberg has lost his spot in the list as one of the 10 richest people in America.
According to Forbes, the Facebook founder has lost more than half his fortune—a staggering $76.8 billion—since September 2021, dropping him from No. 3 on The Forbes 400 list of the U.S.’ wealthiest people to No. 11. Worth $57.7 billion on this year’s list.
Zuck trails Walmart heir Jim Walton, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and other tech moguls such as ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page. No one in America has lost as much money over the past year as Zuckerberg.
He has the cratering stock price of Meta (formerly Facebook) to thank for his exit from the top 10. Shares have plunged 57% since last year’s Forbes 400, which used stock prices from September 3, 2021. Tech stocks are generally in a slump with the market downturn, but Meta’s fall outpaces both the Nasdaq (-9.8%) and the S&P 500 (-13.5%), as well as Microsoft’s 14% decline, Google-parent Alphabet‘s 25% drop and Amazon’s 27% dive.
Investors are spooked by a privacy policy update from Apple last year that made it harder for tech companies to track users across apps, impacting Meta’s ad sales. Meta reported its first-ever quarterly revenue decline in July–a 1% drop, to $28.8 billion.
“Facebook makes most of its money from advertising, and now it just doesn’t have that data anymore,” says Mark Zgutowicz, an analyst at research and investment banking firm Benchmark.
“All those data signals went away, which basically means that advertisers are having trouble telling whether a campaign was successful or not.”
Compounding the problem for Meta, TikTok is luring away advertisers, along with lucrative Gen Z and millennial users. In February, Meta announced its first-ever quarterly loss of daily active users. A recent internal report showed that Meta’s TikTok clone, Instagram Reels, is struggling to compete, according to Wall Street Journal report.
Under normal circumstances, a slight dip in revenue might be manageable, but Meta is also investing heavily in virtual reality and the metaverse, which is dragging down operating profit. In 2021, the company’s metaverse division, Meta Reality Labs, lost $10 billion. While the metaverse is all Zuckerberg wants to talk about, investors are less enthusiastic so far. “It’s a long tail investment and, for now, it’s kind of a cash suck,” Zgutowicz says.
Zuckerberg first became a billionaire in 2008, just four years after founding Facebook. At 23, he was the youngest self-made billionaire at the time, debuting at No. 321 on The Forbes 400, worth $1.5 billion. By 2011, Zuckerberg’s net worth had increased nearly 12 fold to $17.5 billion.
This year isn’t the first time Zuckerberg’s net worth has taken a dive. After Facebook’s famously disappointing IPO in 2012, Zuckerberg fell from No. 14 to No. 36 on The Forbes 400. But it didn’t last long. The following year, Zuckerberg bounced back and, up until now, his fortune has continued to climb. Despite the litany of controversies and scandals plaguing the company, Facebook’s ad machine had reliably churned out enough money to impress investors, sending Zuckerberg’s net worth soaring to $134.5 billion last year, his highest net worth ever.
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Disney CEO Bob Chapek plotting a metaverse for Disney+ that will recreate their parks online – Daily Mail

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By Alex Oliveira For Dailymail.Com
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Disney is plotting a metaverse that would let people experience the most magical place on earth without ever setting foot in the theme park.
CEO Bob Chapek said the media giant’s metaverse would exist on its streaming platform, Disney+, and allow ‘the 90 percent of people that will never ever be able to get to a Disney park,’ to experience it in virtual reality.
‘We call it next-gen storytelling’ Chapek said in an interview with Deadline, noting that he didn’t like use the phrase metaverse ‘because it has a lot of hair on it.’
But regardless of whatever Chapek prefers to call the planned platform, many have responded by calling the move out of touch with Disney’s fanbase, and argued that if the parks stopped hiking prices more people would be able to visit.  
The move comes as Chapek – who took the helm at Disney in 2020 – struggles to make a name for himself in the shadow of his innovative predecessor, Bob Iger, and keep afloat amid controversies ranging from the park’s rising prices, to Disney’s stance on Florida’s Don’t Say Gay bill. 
Just last week, Chapek broke a months-long silence on an apology he issued in an attempt to quell Disney staff who were outraged by his failure to speak out against the controversial bill last spring, saying he chose to remain mum on the matter because he didn’t want to get Disney caught in a ‘political subterfuge.’ 
Disney CEO Bob Chapek said the media giant’s metaverse would exist on its streaming platform, Disney+, and allow people to experience park rides in virtual reality
Disney’s metaverse move comes as Chapek – who took the helm at Disney in 2020 – struggles to make a name for himself in the shadow of his innovative predecessor, Bob Iger
Chapek characterized the Disney metaverse as a way to experience the theme parks for the multitudes of people who are unable to actually make the trip in person.
‘We wish every person would have the opportunity to come to our parks, but we realize that’s not a reality for some people,’ he told Deadline, ‘we have before us an opportunity to turn what was a movie-service platform to an experiential platform and give them the ability to ride Haunted Mansion from a virtual standpoint.’
He said metaverse users would have an experience beyond what regular parkgoers have, and be able to step out of the ride-cars to explore sets and interact with characters. 
‘Maybe we’ll give them the opportunity what every single person in the park wants to do, and unfortunately too many of them do it, just to get off the attraction. See how it works, see how those ghost dancers move,’ he said. 

But many responded to the news by saying if Disney would just stop raising its prices, more of those 90 percent of people who cannot visit the parks would be able to.
‘Damn Disney. Just say it direct like that,’ wrote tech critic Juan Carlos Bagnell on Twitter, ‘90% of the HUMAN POPULATION is too poor to visit our parks, but hopefully some are less-poor-enough to own VR goggles and ride our rides in a metaverse clone…’
Commenters on the Deadline interview were equally unimpressed, with one saying ‘The reason 90% of people may not be able to experience the parks is because you keep hiking the cost of GOING to the parks beyond what most people can actually afford, Bob.’
‘Costs are up at the parks. Moral appears to be down. Iger had imagination and could adapt,’ said another.

Disney park prices have skyrocketed since Chapek was fully given charge at Disney in 2022. At California parks, ticket prices jumped 6 percent to $164 for single-park passes, while the price of getting into more than one park over the course of a day rose 9 percent to $319.
At the Florida parks the price to get into the park after 2pm rose to $169, while before 2pm fans were asked to fork over $194. Those prices could also rise based on an increased demand on any day.
‘If you’re the kind of person that budgets or saves for vacations, Disney Parks aren’t for you any longer,’ wrote a fed-up customer on Reddit, ‘That’s a Premium Physical Experience, and there’s plenty of national and international wealthy families to afford going indefinitely.’
And in August, as inflation scorched the US economy, Chapek warned those prices could continue to rise.
‘It’s all up to the consumer,’ he said, according to The New York Post, ‘If consumer demand keeps up, we’ll act accordingly.’
Disney’s metaverse would allow people to experience park rides like the Haunted Mansion without ever setting foot in Disney World
Chapek noted the virtual reality experience could go beyond simply sitting in the car and experiencing the ride the way park-goers do, but would allow people to step off of the tracks and explore the ride sets up close
Chapek has hardly been the happiest CEO on Earth since he took the reins at Disney.
After beginning his tenure in February, 2020, he was thrust immediately into the chaos of navigating Disney through the perils of the pandemic, which saw the media company’s primary revenue streams – theme park revenue and movie theater tickets – vanish like a pair of glass slippers at midnight.
To help steady the ship, Iger – much to Chapek’s ire, reportedly – was kept on in a leadership position through 2021.
But as soon as Chapek was given full control in 2022 his price hikes had customers raising eyebrows about whether he was up to the same scratch as the visionary Iger.
Those doubts were doubled-down on by Disney staff after Chapek decided to remain quiet on Florida’s Don’t Say Gay bill, a law which barred schools from discussing sexuality or gender with children between kindergarten and third grade.
Many Disney employees viewed the law as homophobic and an affront to the inclusive values of Disney, and publicly voiced their outrage that Chapek did not speak out against it.
Chapek said the metaverse would also work in conjunction with real-world visits to Disney theme parks
Disney is plotting a metaverse that would let people experience the most magical place on earth without ever setting foot in the theme park
He later apologized to staff, publicly decried the bill, and announced Disney had paused all its political donations within Florida.
Last week, Chapek addressed that apology for the first time since he issued it, saying he had struggled to balance the needs and beliefs of every one of his employees and customers.
‘What we try to do is be everything to everybody,’ Chapek told The Hollywood Reporter in a recent interview, ‘That tends to be very difficult because we’re The Walt Disney Company.’
‘We certainly don’t want to get caught up in any political subterfuge, but at the same time we also realize that we want to represent a brighter tomorrow for families of all types, regardless of how they define themselves,’ he said.

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Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group

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