He still hasn't given up the ghost.
Almost exactly two years ago, CEO Mark Zuckerberg changed Facebook's name to "Meta" to signal a sea change in his metaverse-focused operational priorities — and in the ensuing years, there's arguably not much to show for it besides bulky headsets, half-baked VR experiences, and tens of billions of dollars in losses.
And the losses keep piling up. In the company's Q3 earnings report, Meta reported a whopping $3.74 billion operating loss on its Reality Labs division, which has been tasked with building out Zuckerberg's vision of the metaverse.
Paired with news from over the summer that the company had recorded a $21.3 billion loss on Reality Labs since the start of 2022, Meta is clearly a long way away from turning a profit with a product that most people have no interest in using.
Notably, the 600-person Reality Labs division was subject to job cuts earlier in October, and although we don't know exactly how many people got the axe, these headlines coming in the same month certainly spell trouble.
Though there have been some significant technological advances in recent months, including a demonstration of what podcaster Lex Fridman referred to as "the first interview in the metaverse," Zuckerberg's expensive virtual reality pipe dream has thus far proven to be exactly that.
In September, for example, news dropped that Meta's Quest Pro VR headset, which went on sale for an eye-bulging $1,500 last year, was a party favor at a Roblox conference where attendees were given the goggles for free.
And whether the company's latest headset, the $500 Quest 3, which Wired called "an excellent portal to an empty metaverse," will fare any better remains to be seen.
In the first quarter of 2023, news sites rushed to publish obituaries to the metaverse after Zuckerberg appeared to switch his fealty to artificial intelligence. Half a year later, it's unclear whether those obits were premature — for one, Zuckerberg is still committed to giving his metaverse avatars legs for some reason.
But given these cumulative losses, it does seem like his metaverse is dying a slow and expensive death.
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