Disney Removes Metaverse Division in First Round of Layoffs

    According to report , Disney’s Next Generation Storytelling and Consumer Experiences division, which was exploring ways the company could enter the “metaverse”, has been disbanded. It is believed that the team consisted of approximately 50 people. They were looking at how Disney could make use of its intellectual property in “the next great storytelling frontier,” as former CEO Bob Chapek put it.

    According to reports, the first round of layoffs at Disney has seen the team axed. The company expects to make 7,000 people redundant, which will help it reduce costs by $5.5 billion. Rumours of layoffs started to circulate after Bob Iger was appointed Disney CEO in November.

    Last February, the division was internally announced

    The company’s metaverse ambitions were announced to employees in February, four months after Facebook changed its name to Meta. It was then that Bob Chapek appointed Mike White as the head of the next generation storytelling unit. White isn’t thought to have been affected by the layoffs. He has been with Disney for more than a decade. His LinkedIn profile states that he started his career in Disney Interactive video gaming division.

    Chapek stated in a memo last year that “our company has redefined and re-defined entertainment” by using technology to bring stories to life in deeper and more impactful ways for nearly 100 years. “Today we have an opportunity connect these universes and create a completely new paradigm for how audiences engage with our stories… This so-called metaverse” WSJnotes they could have included “fantasy-sports, theme-park attractions, and other consumer experiences.”

    Although Iger has made the cut, WSJ noted that Iger is not a metaverse-skeptic. He sits on the board at Genies Inc, a startup that helps users create avatars.

    Disney is not the only company that has difficulty achieving its big metaverse goals. Even Meta has had trouble gaining widespread acceptance of its technology. Its first major VR headset release after the rebrand, the Meta Quest Pro, was terrible.

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