Disney reportedly eliminates the Metaverse division in the first round of layoffs

Disney reportedly shuts down its metaverse division

Disney reportedly shuts down its metaverse division

image credit - news.abplive.com

As part of a broader restructuring process, Disney has closed its Metaverse division and laid off about 50 team members, according to the Wall Street Journal. A year ago, former Disney CEO Bob Chabek hired company veteran Mike White to lead a team that found interactive ways to tell Disney stories using new technology. While the rest of the team lost their jobs, White will remain with the company, although it's unclear what his role will be going forward.

Executive plans to launch a Disney subscription service like Amazon Prime have also reportedly been put on hold. It would create a unified user experience for the company's retail stores and Disney+, the app people use to buy groceries and merchandise at Disney theme parks.

Chapek is hopeful and upbeat about Disney's future with Metaverse, having previously said the company needs to excel at "merging physical and digital experiences." He called the Metaverse "the next great frontier of storytelling." However, the closure of the division doesn't necessarily mean that Disney is abandoning its Metaverse ambitions forever: By joining the board of animation startup Avatar, Bob Iger showed that he also sees a future in the Metaverse.

While Iger has a different strategy in mind, it may be a while before we find out. Disney is under pressure from investors to take drastic cost-cutting measures and previously announced plans to lay off 7,000 employees. According to TechCrunch, there will be three rounds of layoffs, with the first this week. The Metaverse team could be one of the first to be affected by Disney's major restructuring efforts. In a memo to TechCrunch, Iger said the company will issue a massive layoff notice in April and notify the last affected employees before the summer.

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