Disney lays off metaverse employees as part of restructuring
- Disney fired the employees of its metaverse division as part of its $5.5 billion restructuring plan.
- The division’s head, Mike White, remains employed at the firm.
The Walt Disney Company began laying off thousands of employees to cut costs. Among those caught in the layoffs are employees from the division that were working on the company’s metaverse strategy.
Furthermore, Disney fired the 50-person strong next-generation storytelling and consumer experiences unit.
Metaverse unit shuttered 8 months after collaboration with Polygon
According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, the employees of Disney’s metaverse division were fired in the first round of layoffs. The layoffs are part of a broader restructuring plan, which seeks to reduce the company’s staff count by 7,000 over the next couple of months to cut operating costs.
The metaverse division head Mike White remains employed at Disney, according to the report. White’s team was responsible for:
“Finding ways to tell interactive stories in new technological formats using Disney’s extensive library of intellectual property.”
When Disney created the unit in February 2022, the firm’s former CEO, Bob Chapek, had predicted that the metaverse would:
“Create an entirely new paradigm for how audiences experience and engage with our stories.”
The company took the decision to sunset the metaverse division as it addressed many challenges. They are issues posed by economic headwinds and growing competition from rivals in the streaming space. The company could save more than $5 billion from the restructuring plan. News of the layoffs lead to a 1.5% increase in the company’s share price on 27 March.
Disney had picked Polygon [MATIC] in July last year for its accelerator program, which revolved around the development of new products using augmented reality (AR), non-fungible tokens (NFT) and artificial intelligence (AI). A 2021 Citi report stated that Disney was among a group of companies that could profit from NFTs.