The elimination of the metaverse division is a sign that Disney is changing its strategy and moving away from costly, innovative projects. This move will likely save the company money in the short term, but it may also mean that Disney ceases to be a leader in cutting-edge technology.
Rumors have been swirling for weeks that Disney’s next-generation storytelling and consumer experiences unit, the small division that was developing metaverse strategies, would be one of the first to go. With Bob Iger confirming those layoffs on Monday morning, it seems as if these rumors were indeed true. This news comes as a big disappointment to many fans of Disney’s ever-expanding empire, as this division was supposed to be home to some groundbreaking new ideas and concepts in the realm of virtual reality and immersive media.
In February 2022, Disney promoted Mike White to the role of SVP of consumer experiences and platforms, charged with getting the company deeper into the web3 space. Under his supervision, the metaverse division focused on creating more interactive stories in immersive formats using Disney’s extensive library of intellectual property. These stories could be enjoyed by both children and adults alike, deepening Disney’s already existing relationships with both demographics.
WSJ is reporting that all 50 or so employees of the team have lost their jobs, with CEO White remaining in a undefined capacity. This likely signals the end of the company, as it is not clear how they will be able to continue operating with so few employees.
The company could not be reached for comment, but employees reported that they were working on a new product that would change the game. No one was sure just what it would be, but everyone was excited to find
Disney’s new CEO Bob Chapek has pledged to create an “entirely new paradigm” for storytelling with the help of Metaverse creator Neal White. The goal is to use Metaverse to explore the “perfect place” for storytelling, which Chapek believes will be a major force in driving innovation and audience attention.
Facebook hired White as its new head of Metaverse Unit. The company has been struggling to create a viable product and was looking for an experienced executive to help it revive its investment in the technology. White, who formerly headed up Facebook’s virtual reality division, brings with her years of experience in the field. She is expected to help the company focus on developing new products for Metaverse, which is one of Zuckerberg’s key future projects.
Though some were skeptical of Tim Cook’s move to take over CEO at Apple, the company’s recent performance seems to affirm his leadership. Under Iger, Apple has continued to grow its business and build new products such as the iPhone 8 and X. The company is also rumored to be working on a self-driving car, which could become a major player in the automotive industry. Whether or not Iger will stay at Apple indefinitely is still up for speculation, but for now he appears poised for continued success at the iconic tech company.
Some of the biggest tech companies in the world are frustrated by how difficult it has been for Metaverse to go mainstream. They invested billions into new entertainment formats like virtual reality and the metaverse, but there has been low user demand and general confusion among users about how to use these new technologies for anything other than gaming. Despite this, some big companies are still betting on the metaverse, hoping that over time it will become more popular and easier to understand.
One of the casualties of Disney’s restructuring is its long-standing project to create a live action version of The Lion King. This would have been one expensive undertaking, and it’s likely that the film wont make it onto screens anytime soon.
Zuckerberg has been working on metaverse apps for years, but no one really knows what it is. He’s said that the goal is to create a platform that can be used by businesses and individuals around the world. It’s not clear yet if Disney will continue to work on metaverse applications with other teams or if it will be solely Zuckerberg’s project. There are a lot of conflicting reports about what exactly this technology entails, but investors seem to trust him so far – which is good news for those who want to see this project succeed.