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Disney cuts metaverse division as part of broader restructuring

As part of a broader reorganization, Disney is eliminating the Metaverse division.

The Wall Street Journal reports as the metaverse news that Walt Disney Co. has eliminated its metaverse division as part of a two-month plan to lay off approximately 7,000 employees.

CEO Bob Iger explains

Monday, CEO Bob Iger announced that these terminations would begin this week. The small Disney section that worked on metaverse initiatives, “Next-Generation Storytelling and Consumer Experiences,” appears to be among the first to be eliminated.

Mike White is the division head for the metaverse. In February 2022, he was promoted from SVP of consumer experiences and platforms to head the division. His responsibility is to expand Disney’s involvement in the web3 space. According to the WSJ, the unit’s objective was to create methods to harness Disney’s vast intellectual property portfolio to present more interactive stories in immersive formats. This enormous library contains films and television series from Pixar, Marvel, and every Star Wars film and television series.

According to sources cited by WSJ, all fifty or so team members have lost their employment. White will continue to work for the company, but his future role is unclear.

No one from the company could be reached to say anything.

According to an internal document, former Disney CEO Bob Chapek hired White with the intention of establishing “a whole new paradigm for how audiences perceive and interact with our stories.” Chapek also referred to the metaverse as “the next great frontier for narrative” and “the ideal venue to pursue our strategic pillars of storytelling excellence, innovation, and audience focus.”

White was hired and the new metaverse team was established a few months after Facebook changed its name to Meta. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive officer, had invested billions of dollars in futuristic technology, therefore the name change was intended to reflect this.

In November, Iger succeeded Chapek as CEO, and despite recent occurrences, he appears bullish about the metaverse. He invested in Genies Inc. and joined its board of directors last year. Genies is a firm that enables individuals to create online avatars for usage in metaverse applications.

The metaverse has a long way to go before it gains widespread acceptance. This has dissatisfied a number of large technology businesses that have invested much in new entertainment formats. Meta has invested billions on the Oculus headset and expanding the metaverse, but consumers are uninterested and unsure how to use the new technology for non-gaming purposes.

Disney is cutting jobs

Disney announced this month that, as part of a bigger restructuring, it will cut $5.5 billion and 7,000 jobs. Like many other large corporations, Disney is under pressure to reduce expenses. One approach to accomplish this is to stop spending money on costly moonshot projects that do not generate revenue immediately.

As this is a long-term wager, it is unclear whether Disney will continue to collaborate with other teams on metaverse applications. Zuckerberg has repeatedly urged investors to have faith in him, to be patient, and to consider the long term.

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About MahKa

Disney cuts metaverse division as part of broader restructuringMahKa loves exploring the decentralized world. She writes about NFTs, the metaverse, Web3 and similar topics.

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