Disney Shuts Down Metaverse Unit as Part of First Wave of Layoffs
As part of a companywide cost-cutting effort, Disney has axed its cross-divisional Next Generation Storytelling & Consumer Experiences group, which encompassed the Mouse House’s metaverse ambitions.
The elimination of Disney’s Next Generation Storytelling & Consumer Experiences group, led by company veteran Mike White, affects about 50 employees, Variety confirmed. The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. A Disney rep declined to comment.
The shutdown of Disney’s metaverse group came Monday as part of the first wave of the company’s move to cut 7,000 jobs under interim CEO Bob Iger. Following this week’s layoffs, there will be a larger second round of cuts next month, Iger told employees in a memo Monday. a final round will hit “before the beginning of summer.”
In early 2022, then-CEO Bob Chapek appointed White to a new role coordinating the Mouse House’s “metaverse” efforts going forward. As senior VP of the division, White, who has worked at Disney for more than a decade, was tasked with connecting the dots among the company’s initiatives that blend “physical and digital worlds,” Chapek wrote in a memo to staff at the time. Disney also had hired Mark Bozon, a top Apple gaming executive, as a senior creative leader for the Next Generation Storytelling & Consumer Experiences team.
White is expected to remain at Disney but the status of other members of the metaverse unit is unclear. In addition to serving as SVP of Next Generation Storytelling & Consumer Experiences, White has been in charge of Disney’s consumer digital products team. Since joining Disney in 2011, White previously led technology organizations at Disney Parks Experiences and Products, Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media, and Disney Interactive.
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