• Disney has recently laid off the 50-person team responsible for its metaverse project as part of a larger cost-cutting measure.
• The company had invested heavily in developing Web3 initiatives and was previously bullish on the metaverse.
• The layoffs are indicative of Disney’s questioning of continued value in Web3, and CEO Bob Iger is now leading the restructuring effort.
Disney Lays Off Metaverse Team
Disney recently announced a large staff reduction, including the termination of its entire 50-person metaverse team. This move follows the conglomerate’s recent business streamlining efforts and their attempt to control costs during the current economic downturn.
Disney’s Web3 Initiatives
In 2022, Disney jumped onto the Web3 bandwagon by selecting Polygon as its blockchain partner, investing heavily in developing Web3 initiatives and hiring for positions involving NFTs, blockchain, metaverse, and DeFi. Recently Mike White was appointed to head this division; however after CEO Bob Iger took over from Bob Chapek last month, he announced that budget cuts would be happening soon in order to reduce costs. This led to the termination of all but one member of the metaverse team.
Metaverse Dream Crashing?
The layoffs indicate that Disney is now questioning continued value in Web3 despite its prior bullishness on this venture. Other major entertainment companies have also been rethinking their commitment to such projects due to their lack of immediate revenue potential. As such, it appears that many companies‘ dreams of entering into a fully realized metaverse are crashing due to financial reasons rather than enthusiasm or ambition.
What Does This Mean For Projects?
It remains unclear what will become of existing projects within Disney’s metaverse division or if any new ones will start up again anytime soon given these layoffs and budget cuts. The future state of these projects is uncertain at best until further details emerge from within the company about their plans moving forward with respect to building out a virtual world or engaging with other platforms like Polygon or Decentraland as partners for developing content within theirs environments instead of building out their own platform from scratch.
While it is unfortunate that Disney had to lay off so many employees who were passionate about pursuing a shared dream together through working on a metaverse project; it appears that those ambitions have been put aside for now due to financial constraints imposed by current events outside anyone’s control. Hopefully once things turn around economically then more resources can be put towards exploring innovative ways for people to experience stories together online in new ways which can stretch beyond our traditional notions about what is possible today when we think about storytelling mediums across both digital and physical realms alike!