Disney Lays Off Metaverse Team Amid Company-Wide Staff Reduction
Disney has recently laid off its metaverse team as part of its company-wide staff reduction efforts. The move comes as the entertainment giant tries to streamline its business and control costs, leading to the question of whether the metaverse dream is crashing.
What Is Happening To Metaverse Projects?
Following Meta’s shelving of its NFT project, Disney has terminated 50 people who comprised its metaverse team. CEO Bob Iger has called for the need for a streamlined business, and the company is in the process of laying off over 7,000 staff members from its entire roster as part of this initiative.
While it is clear that even Disney is not shielded from the economic downturn impacting large companies, letting go of the metaverse team might indicate an issue deeper than the need to streamline business operations. It is clear that the company is questioning the continued value of Web3.
Disney’s Web3 Initiatives
Despite recent developments, Disney had jumped on the Web3 bandwagon, much like all other major entertainment companies. The company started off by selecting Polygon as its blockchain partner and underwent rampant resource deployment for Web3. It also started hiring initiatives for several positions, including an in-house legal counseling position involving NFTs, blockchain, metaverse, and DeFi.
In February 2022, the former CEO of Disney, Bob Chapek, brought Mike White, who used to be the SVP of consumer experiences and platforms, to head the metaverse division. White was charged with spearheading Disney’s Web3 expansion by developing interactive storytelling using Disney’s extensive library of intellectual property.
Metaverse Shelved With Leadership Changes
Soon after, in November 2022, Iger took over the company’s leadership from Chapek and appeared quite bullish on the metaverse. However, last month the company announced that budget cuts for around $5.5 billion would soon be happening, leading to the elimination of around 7000 jobs as a part of a broader restructuring.
The entire metaverse team, other than White, has been let go, according to reports. Although White has retained his job, it is uncertain what his new position at the company is going to be.