Disney lays off entire division responsible for its metaverse plans


Posts: 8,777   +110
Staff member
What just happened? In news that will likely make Mark Zuckerberg sweat, Disney has just laid off its entire metaverse team as part of cost-cutting plans that will see 7,000 people lose their jobs over the next two months. It's another blow to the metaverse concept, which many tech companies are now ignoring as they rush to embrace generative AI.

According to the Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the situation, Disney's broader restructuring and cost-cutting plan involved disbanding its next-generation storytelling and consumer experiences unit, which focused on the company's metaverse ambitions.

Former Disney consumer-products executive Mike White headed the division, which has seen all 50 of its members laid off. White remains at the company in an unknown capacity.

The WSJ writes that Disney's former chief executive, Bob Chapek, hired White in February 2022 with the goal of creating "an entirely new paradigm for how audiences experience and engage with our stories."

Chapek is, or perhaps was, a big believer in the potential of the metaverse, describing it as "the next great storytelling frontier." He also invested in and joined the board of a metaverse startup called Genies, which sells tools that allow users to create avatars for use in virtual worlds.

Like many companies, Disney's metaverse plans were not a defined path. It previously hinted that the technology could have applications in fantasy sports, theme-park attractions, and other consumer experiences. It has also produced augmented reality content, including Remembering, an eight-minute AR short film starring Brie Larson.

The move represents more bad news for the metaverse and those invested in it. Meta's Reality Labs, the division responsible for its metaverse push, has lost over $24 billion since 2021. CEO Mark Zuckerberg certainly doesn't talk about the technology very much these days, and last month announced the company's plans to implement generative AI into its services, seemingly prioritizing this area over its metaverse project.

There was more bad news for Zuckerberg earlier this month when two Democratic senators wrote a letter to the Meta boss, asking him to halt the plan to lower Horizon World's age limit to 13 in light of the company's record of failing to protect children and teens.

Permalink to story.



Posts: 8,716   +8,245
Score one for the real world.
Go woke, Go Broke... Enjoying Disney Crash slowly. Now just waiting for the little mermaid and peter pan movie to flop.
That didn't happen, as so many similarly predicted, with Netflix. In fact, Netflix has come back even stronger. 🤣

What makes you think it's going to happen with Disney? IMO, its more likely that most, if not all, of FL's anti-woke laws get shot down as violating the 1st Amendment than Disney shedding crap will make them go broke.

Now going broke trying to convince everyone they should live their lives in a set of goggles? IMO, that would make any company go broke. :laughing:


Posts: 299   +171
Yeah, I don't know why these companies went big into the Metaverse to begin with.

A) Second life did these same things over 15 years ago, but sucessfully (from a technical standpoint). They had a real system you could log in to, better graphics back then than Meta seems to be demo'ing now (seriously, I'm shocked at how bad the Meta demos graphics are); they got people to create content that could be bought and sold in there, made land that could be bought, sold, or rented, and got a fair number of users to log in. At it's peak, you had zdnet and some others even start an "embassy" or other type of office space in Second Life, because it got totally hyped into this big thing like business meetings would be conducted in there, businesses could prototype new hardware in there, etc. etc.

B) Linden Labs (owners of Second Life) is (last I heard) still making $ millions a month, but reportedly via a cut of gambling revenues. I have no idea who is going in there doing that much gambling. There's still a healthy user base (about 40,000 concurrent users a day, and somewhat over 200,000 total active users), but a lot more space than users so you'll see people in some club, then miles of empty buildings or forest or prarie as you pass through sims that nobody visits. I admit to logging in from time to time and looking around!

C) Other than using "blockchain" instead of "exchange dollars for Lindens (at 250 lindens per dollar), buy or sell stuff, exchange Lindens back to dolllars", Meta basically claims to eventually have the same capabilities that Second Life really does have and has had for 15+ years. Meta's gotten the same type of hype, with the downside of being run by Zuckerberg who makes it clear he doesn't care about privacy. I have no idea why these companies didn't look at the real capabilities, hype, and what the system can really be used for (and more importantly what people are WILLING to use it for) and what it can't, from existing systems like Second Life. Ahh well, their loss I guess.
Damn! my friend invested too much on one of these companies that ads for metaverse business (Gears, shops ..etc) and asked me to do the same. am glad I was against this move.

time to share this news with him XD