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Walt Disney Co. has cut its “next-generation storytelling and consumer experiences unit.”
The team of around 50 was dedicated to developing metaverse strategies, per the Wall Street Journal. The team was responsible for using Disney's vast library of intellectual property to tell interactive stories in new formats.
This comes as part of company-wide layoffs that are expected to see around 7,000 leave the company over the next two months.
Disney did not immediately respond to Decrypt’s request for comment.
The firm's metaverse lead Mike White was hired in February 2022 by Disney's former chief executive Bob Chapek who described the metaverse as "the next great storytelling frontier." Chapek was replaced as CEO by Robert Iger last November. White will reportedly stay on at Disney.
Shortly after his appointment, White reportedly told employees that the goal was to "create an entirely new paradigm for how audiences experience and engage with our stories.”
Disney's metaverse strategy remained obscure for a year after the creation of the unit. The company hinted that the metaverse could play a role in fantasy sports, theme-park attractions, and other consumer experiences.
There was an effort last year to create a membership initiative that would be somewhat akin to Amazon Prime—which offers free shipping, discounts, exclusive deals, and more. This effort has since been abandoned, according to WSJ reporting.
Disney’s CEO seems nonetheless bullish on the future of the metaverse, investing in and joining the board of Genies Inc., a startup that sells tools to create avatars for the metaverse.
The metaverse hasn't grown as quickly as Disney hoped becoming an easy target for cuts of this size.