Disney Shuts Down Metaverse Division Amid Broader Layoffs

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    Photo credit: Travis Gargen

    Disney is exiting the Metaverse entirely, laying off approximately 50 employees from the Metaverse division.

    The move comes as The Walt Disney Company announced a round of layoffs affecting about 7,000 people. This fledgling division was tasked with developing a new Metaverse strategy and was led by former Disney Consumer Products executive Mike White.

    All 50 members of the team have lost their jobs, but Mr. White remains with the company. His new role within Disney is still unknown at this point. White was hired with the goal of creating an entirely new paradigm for Disney created the Metaverse division shortly after Facebook moved from just Facebook to Meta.

    The Metaverse division explored many opportunities to leverage Disney IP, including fantasy sports, theme park attractions and other consumer experiences.

    According to sources talked To wall street journalMr. White was involved in efforts to design a membership initiative similar to the Amazon Prime program. The idea would allow the company to consolidate customer data across multiple Disney platforms. This includes streaming services, retail operations, and smartphone apps that Disney park users use to pay for meals and merchandise.

    However, efforts to create an Amazon Prime-like service for Disney customers have been discontinued. Disney’s stock fell 0.3% after news of the Metaverse division’s demise, but he’s up 10% in 2023.

    Now the company is facing pressure from investors and has to cut back on what it sees as non-essential business. The job cuts are expected to save the company $5.5 billion as part of a broader restructuring plan. Tough competition in the streaming market and declining cable TV and box office revenues may have influenced Disney’s decision-making.


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