Prospects for the metaverse were dealt another blow as entertainment giant The Walt Disney Company reportedly eliminated a unit developing the technology, resulting in 50 employees losing their jobs as part of a broader restructure to reduce headcount by around 7,000.
Citing sources, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported Disney was no longer pursuing the next-generation storytelling and consumer experiences unit tasked with developing metaverse strategies, effectively ending its current interest in the approach.
Former Disney CEO Bob Chapek, who left the company in November 2022, had described the metaverse as the “next great storytelling frontier”.
The division was tasked with finding different technology formats to deliver Disney content and also hinted the metaverse had a role to play in fantasy sports, theme-parks and other consumer experiences.
Disney, like many other technology companies, is being forced to cut costs to deal with the current economic climate.
Last month it announced a plan to shave $5.5 billion from costs and cut 7,000 jobs as part of a broader restructure.
Perhaps the biggest metaverse pioneer, Meta Platforms, is also facing struggles after ploughing significant resources into development.
Investors have expressed concerns about its long-term metaverse strategy, and it has also experienced low user demand and confusion among users about how to use the technology with some early projects.
In addition to staff cuts and a freeze on recruitment, WSJ separately reported Meta Platforms also plans to lower bonus payments for some employees.