Disney to close metaverse division

Published on: 29th March 2023

As part of planned layoffs that will begin this week, Disney is reportedly closing its metaverse division with the loss of 50 jobs.

CBNC reports that Disney is to close its metaverse division, following initial reports in The Wall Street Journal.

With plans to create a new digital world, former CEO Bob Chapek established a unit focused on the company’s metaverse strategy led by Mike White, who was previously in charge of Disney’s consumer experiences and platforms. Bob Chapek told employees in a memo at the time that the division would “connect the physical and digital worlds” for Disney entertainment.

Fifty employees working in the metaverse decision are set to lose their jobs, although Mike White will remain at the company in a new role, yet to be announced.

Disney never explicitly outlined what it planned to do with the metaverse, but in 2021, said it was creating “unparalleled opportunities” for consumers to engage with its products and platforms.

“Suffice it to say our efforts to date are merely a prologue to a time when we’ll be able to connect the physical and digital worlds even more closely, allowing for storytelling without boundaries in our own Disney metaverse,” said Bob Chapek at the time.

Disney’s latest round of layoffs was announced in February and will impact about 7,000 employees in total. The job cuts will be cross-company, affecting Disney’s media and distribution division, parks and resorts, and ESPN.

Since returning to Disney as CEO last year, Bob Iger has set about reorganising the company, and the job cuts are part of a broader effort to reduce corporate spending and boost cash flow. Disney said last month it plans to cut $5.5b in costs, including $3b in content spend.

Disney will host its annual shareholder meeting on April 3rd, when further confirmation of the company’s strategy going forward is expected to be made.


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