•Disney has laid off its metaverse team as part of a company-wide staff reduction.
•Disney had previously invested in Web3 initiatives, including an in-house legal counseling position and selecting Polygon as its blockchain partner.
•The former CEO of Disney, Bob Chapek, brought Mike White to head the metaverse division, but now Disney is questioning the continued value of Web3 despite recent developments.
Disney’s Metaverse Team Laid Off
Disney has been forced to rethink expensive dream projects which are not bringing in any immediate revenue. As a part of this initiative, the entertainment giant recently terminated 50 people who comprised its metaverse team.
In 2022, Disney jumped on the Web3 bandwagon and started hiring initiatives for several positions; one of these include an in-house legal counseling position involving NFTs, blockchain, metaverse, and DeFi. Moreover, the company chose Polygon as its blockchain partner and began investing heavily into Web3 expansion by developing interactive storytelling using Disney’s extensive library of intellectual property.
Former CEO Bob Chapek brought Mike White to head the metaverse division but last month when Bob Iger took over from Chapek he announced budget cuts for around $5.5 billion which would mean eliminating around 7000 jobs as a part of a broader restructuring process. The entire metaverse team was let go except White who retained his job but it is unclear what his role could be now that other members have been cut off from the team.
Questioning The Value Of Web3
It looks like even Disney is not immune to the economic downturn impacting large companies due to Covid 19 and has been forced to question their investment into Web3 initiatives which weren’t bringing in any revenue for them yet. This might indicate an issue deeper than just needing to “streamline” business operations for them causing them to reevaluate their commitment towards their Metaverse dream projects..
Despite initial enthusiasm from Bob Iger about Metaverses plans it looks like they have had to shelve these plans after having no immediate return on investments with regards to these initiatives during this pandemic struck economic downturn period. It will be interesting too see if they decide to move forward with their Web 3 plans or if they abandon them altogether once things start returning back too normal again post Covid 19 crisis situation or not!