- Disney will lay off 7,000 employees as part of its restructuring plans.
- The entertainment giant has shuttered its metaverse division.
- Disney could still return to the metaverse.
Despite many considering 2023 as the year metaverse projects rise, the sector continues to claim major victims – the latest being Disney. The globally recognized brand is backtracking from its anticipated Web3 storytelling experience as it cuts costs amid difficult times.
On Tuesday, March 28, Disney announced that it is laying off 7,000 employees over the next two months. The proposed firing round would help the company cut operating costs by $5.5 billion.
Disney’s 50-member metaverse strategy team was also impacted. The Magic Kingdom sought to use Web3 technology to “create an entirely new paradigm” for how audiences experienced and engaged with their stories, as per Ex-CEO Bob Chapek.
The decision was influenced by economic struggles affecting businesses worldwide. Disney’s consultants, McKinsey & Co., advised that laying off employees would be the best course of action moving forward.
Michael White, a former Disney consumer products executive, spearheaded the strategy team in finding innovative ways to tell interactive stories using Disney’s extensive lineup of intellectual property. Reportedly, White will remain at Disney in an unspecified role; however, other members of the unit will not.
Disney set up the metaverse division in February 2022 under Bob Chapek’s leadership, who touted metaverse as “the next great storytelling frontier.” However, due to the underwhelming performance of the crypto industry in 2022, the plans were left comatose, and the division made little progress.
However, not all hope is lost since there’s a strong likelihood that the company will one day take its storytelling experience to the metaverse again.
There’s Still Hope
Even with opting to shutter its metaverse division, Disney returning to the metaverse is still a possibility. The company could revisit the metaverse, given it patented a “virtual-world simulator” in December 2021.
The media conglomerate aimed to provide headset-free augmented reality (AR) rides at theme parks.
Although Disney is under new leadership, current CEO Robert Iger is enthusiastic about the metaverse sector. The CEO has invested in and joined the board of Genies Inc., a Web3 startup that creates avatars for the metaverse.
On the Flipside
- On March 14, Meta’s restructuring led to the company laying off 11,000 employees. The firm pulled the plugs on many of its projects, including Facebook and Instagram NFTs.
- Law firm Cooper & Kirk alleged US federal regulators are engaging in a war against the crypto sector by threatening to debank businesses.
Why You Should Care
Disney taking its library of blockbuster intellectual properties to Web3 could have surged the sector’s adoption. However, the company’s exit could affect the entire industry, with other major companies using it as an example to follow.
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