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Disney has a new executive in charge of the metaverse

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Disney store is seen in Times Square, New York City.
Nick Pfosi | Reuters

Disney CEO Bob Chapek on Tuesday appointed an executive to lead the company’s metaverse strategy.

Mike White will be Disney’s senior vice president in charge of “next generation storytelling,” Chapek said in a memo to employees that was viewed by CNBC. White was previously in charge of Disney’s consumer experiences and platforms.

The metaverse is the concept in which the virtual worlds you experience through virtual reality headsets will usher in a new wave of business on the internet. Facebook has made the biggest bet on the metaverse so far, changing its corporate name to Meta and spending more than $10 billion on developing virtual reality hardware and software last year.

Chapek has not definitely outlined how Disney plans to make money from the metaverse, but said in his Tuesday memo White’s task will be “connecting the physical and digital worlds” for Disney entertainment.

“Today, we have an opportunity to connect those universes and create an entirely new paradigm for how audiences experience and engage with our stories,” Chapek said in the memo.

Despite all the investment and hype surrounding the metaverse, the technology is still far off. Meta executives have said it could take up to 15 years to fully realize their vision of immersive worlds you can access with a set of lightweight and stylish computerized glasses.

In the meantime, all the major technology companies are dabbling in new kinds of augmented and virtual reality headsets. Meta said it plans to release an advanced version of its VR headset later this year. Apple is expected to reveal its headset to the world as soon as this year. And Microsoft sells an augmented reality headset called HoloLens.

–CNBC’s Julia Boorstin contributed to this report.

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