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Disney eliminates its metaverse division to save money as broader cutbacks are expected

During the most recent round of cutbacks at Disney, the company’s metaverse section of 50 employees was eliminated entirely, while the team’s leader was retained.

The cross-divisional Next Generation Storytelling & Consumer Experiences group, which incorporated Disney’s aspirations to expand into the metaverse, has been eliminated by Disney as part of an attempt to reduce costs across the entire business. Around fifty people are going to lose their jobs as a result of Disney’s decision to disband its Next Generation Storytelling & Consumer Experiences division, which was headed by Mike White, a seasoned employee at the business.

The division was charged with finding methods to convey interactive stories in new technological platforms using Disney’s substantial collection of intellectual property. Mike White, a former executive in Disney’s consumer-products business, was given the responsibility of leading the division. In February of 2022, Bob Chapek, who had previously served as the chief executive of Disney, recruited Mr. White with the intention to “create an entirely new paradigm for how audiences experience and engage with our stories”. Chapek communicated this intention to Disney’s staff via an internal letter at the time.

The company had been developing a cross-divisional membership programme under Chapek, who was abruptly fired by Disney’s board in November 2022 and replaced with former CEO Iger. This programme was envisioned as bringing together perks and exclusive offers from across theme parks, cruises, Disney+, retail outlets, and other touch points. Chapek was succeeded as CEO by Iger, who had previously served in that role. In accordance with Iger’s reorganization, Disney has likewise abandoned that initiative.

As part of Disney’s effort to cut expenses by $5.5 billion, the company’s “metaverse” division was terminated on Monday, along with the first phase of the company’s plan to cut 7,000 positions under the leadership of temporary CEO Bob Iger. Iger is responsible for leading the company’s cost-cutting efforts. Iger informed employees in a letter on Monday that there will be a bigger second round of cutbacks the following month, following the cuts that took place this week. According to Iger, the third and concluding round of cutbacks will take place “before the beginning of summer.”

As part of a larger strategy to restructure the company, Disney disclosed in February that it would reduce its spending by $5.5 billion and eliminate approximately 7,000 positions. Many large media businesses have been put under pressure as a result of economic challenges, intense competition in streaming, and declining earnings from cable TV and the box office of theatrical entertainment.

Tech businesses that have placed bets on new entertainment platforms are becoming increasingly dissatisfied due to the slow increase in prominence of the metaverse. The parent company of Facebook and Instagram, Meta Platforms Inc., has allocated billions of dollars in resources to the metaverse, only to discover that there is a low demand for the technology and widespread misunderstanding among users regarding how to use it.


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