Disney’s recent decision to halt its metaverse plans and axed its metaverse development team to save on costs has been making headlines. According to a reputed news publishing house, the company is implementing a broad restructuring, with roughly 7,000 people expected to be let go over the next months. Disney’s metaverse team consisted of 50 individuals, all of whom have seen their positions terminated, though the team’s head, Mike White, will continue in an unknown capacity.
Disney made headlines in 2022 when it announced its plans for metaverse experiences and even implied that this new form of engagement would create a new standard for entertainment. Reports in 2022 spoke of how Disney’s metaverse plans would set the foundation for interaction with audiences for the next 100 years. The company had laid out some fairly detailed plans, and it obtained a patent for an amusement park in the metaverse, much to the jubilation of the crypto community. It also posted a job vacancy related to NFTs.
Todayq News reported in September 2022 that Disney had posted about a job, seeking legal counsel that will provide them with “legal advice and support for global NFT products” for all of its subsidiaries, including Disney parks, experience, products, and media/entertainment distribution. The company wanted the candidate to be a member of the California state bar to work at its headquarters in Burbank, California. Other expectations from the candidate were that he also be experienced in “the NFT, cryptocurrency and Web 3 space, including knowledge of related legal considerations and issues.”
As the company in charge of some of the biggest franchises in the world, many will lament Disney’s decision to halt its metaverse plans. The company had the IP and the technology to potentially reach hundreds of millions of users (if not billions), and the hype was possibly the highest there ever was for a metaverse initiative. More recently, it reappointed Bob Iger as CEO, who is pro-metaverse.
Disney is not alone in implementing cost-cutting measures; several other corporations have done the same during this anxious period for the global economy. Meta, Microsoft, Google, Twitter, and others have also laid off thousands of employees. Metaverse departments appear at the top of the list for many companies that are working on cost reduction. Meta and Microsoft have both either ended their metaverse plans or scaled them down immensely. Meta is going through a “year of efficiency,” according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, as its Reality Labs department imposes high costs on the company. Microsoft shut down its entire industrial metaverse team, which had about 100 employees.
Job losses are a major theme of 2023 as far as global businesses are concerned. Those that have conducted layoffs in the crypto industry include Coinbase, Polygon, and Immutable. Disney’s decision to halt its metaverse plans and lay off its development team shows the level of uncertainty and unpredictability that still exists in the world economy.
Despite this setback, it remains to be seen if and when Disney will restart its metaverse intentions. The company has a history of adapting to new technologies and consumer trends and creating groundbreaking experiences that entertain and inspire people worldwide. Only time will tell if Disney’s metaverse plans will ever see the light of day.