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It seems even Disney has given up on the metaverse
Disney's metaverse division has been axed
After muscling its way into the essential tech lexicon over the past few years, the metaverse has had another slip, as even the House of Mouse looks to have become disillusioned with the concept.
Disney has reportedly dissolved its internal metaverse development team that was experimenting with ways to tell interactive stories in the new format using the company’s popular IPs.
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny: Disney’s metaverse
🥽 Disney has dissolved its metaverse development team
🙁The company has just announced a sweeping round of lay-offs
🤩 Disney executives previously spoke highly of the metaverse as a format
🤔 It’s unclear whether it will pursue dev work in some other form
According to the Wall Street Journal, it comes as part of a broader wave of restructuring that will see around 7,000 Disney employees lose their jobs.
The metaverse team’s original goal was reportedly to “create an entirely new paradigm for how audiences experience and engage with our stories”. Former Disney CEO Bob Chapek had previously described the metaverse as “the next great storytelling frontier.”
As the Wall Street Journal reports, Disney’s plans for how it wanted to wield the format were always rather unclear, and it had previously hinted at integrating it into theme-park attractions and other consumer products.
While the 50 or so employees of the metaverse division have reportedly lost their jobs, team lead Mike White will stay on at the company. It’s unclear whether Disney is halting its metaverse ambitions entirely, or will continue to develop them elsewhere with a pared-down team.
Elsewhere, the report mentions Disney has abandoned plans to create an Amazon Prime-like platform that would bundle Disney+ with other retail services and smartphone apps for visitors to use at its theme parks. It’s not clear how long the idea has been in development.
The lay-offs follow a wave of redundancies in the tech sector. Meta last year cut 11,000 jobs, Google axed 12,000 and Microsoft followed with 10,000. Twitter cut its workforce in half, before announcing even more lay-offs earlier this year.
That Disney’s metaverse team was chopped is perhaps unsurprising. Although businesses flocked around the concept when it first become a tech buzzword a few years ago, we’re yet to see it fully realized or turned into a genuinely marketable consumer product – outside of gaming-specific forms like the PSVR 2. Other industry professionals have simply slammed the metaverse for simplicity. Maybe the time will come when tech executives give up on it altogether.
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