As part of a bigger strategic push to reinvent itself for the future of entertainment, Walt Disney Co. (DIS -1.40%) recently accepted Polygon (MATIC 4.15%) into its highly prestigious Accelerator program for 2022. Polygon — already one of the top Layer 2 blockchain networks worldwide — will be joined by five other companies to explore a full range of non-fungible token (NFT), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and artificial intelligence (AI) experiences. This new partnership could be a huge long-term win for Polygon, so it’s perhaps no surprise that MATIC has been heading higher on the breaking news.
A big win for Polygon NFTs
The biggest upside for Polygon at the outset of the new partnership will likely come from Walt Disney’s growing push into the world of NFTs. Walt Disney has been under increasing pressure from shareholders and Wall Street for not doing more in the space. So, they launched a line of Spider-Man NFTs in 2021 and followed that up with a barrage of NFT collections in 2022, including NFTs related to Mickey Mouse, Star Wars, and “Disney villains.”
Needless to say, these NFT collections were no-brainers for Disney and a perfect way to leverage its considerable intellectual property. Now just imagine if Polygon becomes the blockchain of choice for Disney every time it decides to issue a new NFT collection featuring a well-known character.
Polygon and online gaming
Looking a bit longer-term, another easy win for Polygon will be getting involved in the blockchain gaming space. Instead of coming up with brand-new titles, Polygon developers can simply leverage existing Walt Disney titles.
To get an idea of what this might look like, consider Polygon’s MetalCore, which describes itself as “an NFT-based, open world, mechanized combat game.” Polygon highlighted this next-generation NFT gaming experience at the big NFT.NYC 2022 conference in June, and it could hint at what might be possible with a broader Disney collaboration. Just watch the MetalCore trailer featuring spaceships, alien warriors, and off-world experiences, and you can immediately see how this same type of gaming experience could be applied to a big Disney franchise like Star Wars.
Augmented reality, AI, and the metaverse
Things get really exciting when you consider the potential crossover into Disney’s physical, real-world attractions like amusement parks. Yes, we’re talking about Disney World and Disneyland here. The future of entertainment at these properties will likely include some form of AR or VR experience. Is it enough to see a live person dressed as your favorite Disney character walking around an amusement park? Or would you rather interact in VR or AR with that character as part of a more immersive experience?
That might be why Disney included various AR, VR, and AI start-ups to partner with Polygon in its Accelerator program. There’s Obsess, for example, building immersive, 3D stores in the metaverse. And there’s Inworld, which uses AI to create the “brains” of virtual characters for immersive experiences. If any of these experiences end up living on the MATIC blockchain, that would be a big win for Polygon also.
Disney and Polygon, reshaping the future of entertainment
Going forward, it will be interesting to see how companies continue experimenting with a mix of crypto and entertainment in ways we perhaps never imagined. All of a sudden, media publications are hinting that upstart NFT brands could take on established companies like Disney as entertainment giants or that a Bored Ape will replace the lovable Mickey Mouse you grew up with as an entertainment icon.
So, if MATIC eventually becomes Disney’s go-to blockchain, watch out. The future of entertainment could be powered by a cryptocurrency trading at less than a buck right now. If you’re lucky enough, your next big trip to the Magic Kingdom might just be powered by future gains in your MATIC holdings.
Dominic Basulto has positions in Polygon. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Polygon and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long January 2024 $145 calls on Walt Disney and short January 2024 $155 calls on Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.