Thanks to Facebook rebranding itself as Meta near the end of 2021, corporations were sent into a tizzy as a “hot new trend” has emerged, ripe for monetising. Less than two years later, interest in the not-at-all new idea is finally starting to fizzle again. And one of the biggest companies to show signs of reduced interest is none other than media titan Disney. A new report indicates that the House of Mouse is wiping out its Metaverse division, as part of a larger layoff plan.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Disney has “eliminated its next-generation storytelling and consumer experiences unit” involved in “developing metaverse strategies”. While described as a small division in the media titan’s ranks, it still consisted of about 50 people. Which is still only the tip of the layoff iceberg, as the report also says that the company intends to reduce its total headcount by around 7000 over the course of two months.
Part of the report highlights that “Plans for Disney’s Metaverse strategy remains sketchy a year after the division was created”. But to be fair, it’s not just Disney, as this applies almost universally to every company chasing the trend after the Facebook-to-Meta rebranding. In fact, the report notes that such plans included new tech that “might have applications in fantasy sports, theme-park attractions and other consumer experiences”. All of which were things that existed before the boom of the trend in late 2021.
No doubt the economic situation has made Disney decide that layoffs are necessary. But of the 7000 employees that the House of Mouse reportedly plans to retrench, it’s kind of telling that the small by comparison Metaverse division of 50 people got the axe first. It’s also not the first company to have come to that conclusion either, as Fortune reported that Microsoft had done the same last month, cutting off 100 workers from what was dubbed the “metaverse industrial core team”.
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