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Disney Lays Off Its Entire Metaverse Divison

This is the start of 7,000 job cuts across the business

Entertainment conglomerate Disney has laid off all 50 or so employees in its next-generation storytelling and consumer experiences division in the first of a planned three rounds of layoffs, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. These layoffs are part of Marvel Entertainment’s parent organisation cutting 7,000 jobs across the company as it aims to save a hefty $5.5 billion in costs.

The 50-person team had been exploring how the company could make its way into the metaverse by exploring how Disney could leverage its existing intellectual property in what former CEO Bob Chapek described as, “The next great storytelling frontier.”

Disney announced its metaverse ambitions last year, shortly after Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook was being rebranded to Meta. Chapek, who was still CEO of Disney, named Mike White to helm the next-generation storytelling unit.

While it remains unclear if White is among those that have been laid off, he’s worked at Disney for more than a decade sifting through various roles and according to his LinkedIn profile, he is still executive VP of next-generation storytelling and consumer experiences.

What could’ve been (and could still be)

“For nearly 100 years, our company has defined and re-defined entertainment by leveraging technology to bring stories to life in deeper, more impactful ways,” Chapek said in the memo last year. “Today, we have an opportunity to connect those universes and create an entirely new paradigm for how audiences experience and engage with our stories… This is the so-called metaverse.”

According to WSJ, Disney’s metaverse division could’ve been working on, “Fantasy sports, theme-park attractions and other consumer experiences.”

Disney’s current CEO Bob Iger is yet to reveal where the company’s metaverse ambitions are headed after the layoff and it’s likely to take some time before it forms another potential metaverse team.

The company has been under pressure from investors to implement significant cost-cutting measures and the layoff is the first step which has commenced this week. TechCrunch reports that Disney will send a massive round of layoff notifications next month as well as notify affected employees of the third round before summer.

Written By

Isa Muhammad is a writer and video game journalist covering many aspects of entertainment media including the film industry. He's steadily writing his way to the sharp end of journalism and enjoys staying informed. If he's not reading, playing video games or catching up on his favourite TV series, then he's probably writing about them.

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