Meta reconfirms its commitment to the metaverse
While Meta admits that 2022 was “more difficult than we expected” for its metaverse plans, Meta remains committed to the technology, Reality Labs CTO Andrew Bosworth wrote in a blog post. To that end, the company plans to spend 20 percent of its total spending on Reality Labs in 2023, with half of that going directly to augmented reality (AR) initiatives — about the same amount as last year.
Meta has been criticized this year for spending billions on metaverse projects and seeing a $9.4 billion loss from Reality Labs through the first three quarters of 2022. “Economic challenges around the world, combined with pressure on Meta’s core business, have created a perfect storm of skepticism about the investments we’re making,” Bosworth admitted.
However, reversing course now could have “disastrous consequences”, he added. With Facebook’s daily active users (DAUs) at an all-time high, the 20 percent investment in Reality Labs “makes sense for a company committed to staying at the forefront” of AR technology.
While Reality Labs is losing money, the spending has allowed Meta to develop “foundational pieces of technology” for the future, Bosworth said. Specifically, Meta shipped the Quest Pro headset with mixed reality and eye and face tracking adopted by developers, creators, and builders. “We will live with the benefits of this work for decades to come.”
However, it looks like Meta and its investors will have to remain patient, as the company’s vision for immersive AR glasses is years off. “Our vision for true AR glasses will require years of progress to make our devices slimmer, lighter, faster and more powerful, while consuming much less battery power and generating much less heat,” according to Bosworth.
In the shorter term, Reality Labs is working to improve its awesome basic avatar system, with more news to come in 2023. It also plans to help Horizon Worlds “thrive,” will launch a Meta Question Gaming Showcase in the spring, and reveal the “sequel” to the Meta Quest 2″ sometime next year.
Virtual reality pioneer John Carmack recently left Meta, criticizing the company’s lack of efficiency. Bosworth also acknowledged the likely arrival of Apple’s AR headset and HTC’s Meta Quest competitor, which is likely to arrive in 2023. Given all that, Meta likely wanted to reassure users and investors alike that the company is staying on course with AR, despite the challenges.
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