Disney+ Rolls Out Long-Awaited GroupWatch Feature Today

Illustration for article titled Disney+ Rolls Out Long-Awaited GroupWatch Feature Today
Image: Disney+

Disney+ is finally giving U.S. users an official watch party feature, just in time for the Mandalorian’s return next month.

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After launching pilots in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand earlier this month, GroupWatch officially launches in the United States today. Details of the feature surfaced earlier in some code found on the Disney+ website ahead of the release of Mulan. As that code indicated, up to seven accounts will be able to join a watch party among Disney+ subscribers.

Illustration for article titled Disney+ Rolls Out Long-Awaited GroupWatch Feature Today
Image: Disney+
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GroupWatch will support co-watching on desktop, mobile, streaming devices, and smart TVs (though watch links must originate from web or mobile). An in-app reaction function allows users to share reactions with their group with six emoji options that include “like,” “funny,” “sad,” “angry,” “scared,” and “surprised.” There will not be a chat function at launch, though a Disney+ spokesperson told Gizmodo it’s exploring the option for a chat feature down the line.

As was previously indicated, GroupWatch will not be available for Kids accounts. (It can be disabled by an account admin as well.) Users will also be limited to one stream at a time, meaning you will not be able to jump between watch parties. Though in somewhat of a chaotic move by Disney, the feature will allow any participant the ability to pause, reward, or fast forward the shared stream for the entire party rather than limiting those permissions to a single user.

It’s also worth noting that while GroupWatch will be available on all Disney+ titles available in a given country, it will not extend to Premier Access titles like Mulan unless both parties have access to the film. In other words, GroupWatch isn’t a workaround to avoiding paying for premium titles, unfortunately.

A Disney spokesperson said the feature should be live on all devices beginning today—just in time for that Mandalorian second season, am I right, folks?

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DISCUSSION

Dr Emilio Lizardo

I thought the advantage of consuming media at home as opposed to a theater was you didn’t have to deal with other people ruining the experience.