Hollywood Turns the Page on the Metaverse – and Disney Just Got the Memo | Analysis

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The entertainment giant shut down its 50-person virtual reality team, but it’s on the trailing end of enthusiasm that’s already fizzled

Disney metaverse
Disney just shut down its metaverse department. (Dall-E)

Tech famously has a hype cycle documented by the Gartner research firm. It’s as follows: An innovation triggers inflated expectations, followed by a peak of enthusiasm, a trough of disillusionment and a slope of enlightenment. As far as Hollywood is concerned, the metaverse is deep in the trough.

The latest sign is Disney’s elimination of a 50-person metaverse team championed by former CEO Bob Chapek earlier this week. But far from being an indicator of things to come, Disney is on the trailing edge of studios letting disappointing VR experiments quietly expire or peter out in obscurity.

Riding the curve

Peak VR enthusiasm among the entertainment industry arrived in 2017, with a mix of fear of getting left behind and greed for the money to be made: Unfailingly optimistic researchers projected a $95 billion market for VR hardware and media by 2023.