Things are looking up for Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, as it recently reported an increase in year-over-year revenue for the first time in three quarters. This positive news comes amidst harsh restructuring, resulting in the elimination of over 10,000 jobs this year. Despite substantial losses in its metaverse investments, CEO Mark Zuckerberg remains committed to the company’s vision for virtual reality (VR) and the metaverse.
Tech moves through buzzwords like clockwork, and the metaverse was a prominent one when Meta changed its name. However, the focus has now shifted to artificial intelligence (AI). Zuckerberg was quick to reassure investors that he is not making a u-turn into the AI lane. Instead, he sees AI as a technology that works in tandem with the metaverse. “A narrative has developed that we’re somehow moving away from focusing on the metaverse vision, so I just want to say up front that that’s not accurate,” Zuckerberg said. “We’ve been focusing on AI and the metaverse, and we will continue to.”
Although Meta’s Reality Labs, the department responsible for VR and AR, is not expected to make money yet, investors have voiced concerns about this significant investment. Zuckerberg’s interest in ongoing AI development might alleviate some of these worries, as Meta’s stock price has increased. However, the metaverse is still hemorrhaging money, with Reality Labs losing nearly $4 billion this quarter and $13.7 billion last year.
Zuckerberg emphasized that VR and AR technology do involve AI, shedding light on the connection between the two. “Our vision for AR glasses involves an AI-centric operating system that we think will be the basis for the next generation of computing,” he said on the call.
In discussing Meta’s metaverse vision, Zuckerberg shared that half of the daily active users on its Quest headsets spend more than one hour per day on their device. However, the company did not disclose how many people are using Quest headsets daily.
“Building the metaverse is a long-term project, but the rationale for it remains the same, and we remain committed to it,” Zuckerberg asserted. This commitment is crucial as the company navigates financial challenges and shifts in technology focus.
Despite the losses and restructuring, Meta remains devoted to its VR and metaverse vision. The company believes that AI will complement and enhance the metaverse, rather than replace it. As Zuckerberg reassures investors and the public of Meta’s commitment, it will be interesting to see how the company balances its investments and innovations in both the metaverse and AI to achieve its long-term goals.