Is Meta's $36 Billion Investment On The Metaverse Worth It? – Screen Rant

Meta’s bet on the metaverse has cost the company billions, but is it making headway on its plan or is the technology not quite ready for market?
Meta has gone all-in on the metaverse, but has the investment paid off? Facebook has completely rebranded to reflect its intention of becoming a virtual and augmented reality company. Beyond the visual changes, Meta has poured billions into its virtual and augmented reality division to beef up the metaverse. Meta's bet put more than just the company's industry standing and overall brand image on the line. The company, led by CEO Mark Zuckerburg, has placed heavy investments into developing the metaverse. These projects are housed under the company's Reality Labs division, including Meta Quest headsets.
The company's journey to the metaverse officially began in 2014 when it acquired Oculus VR for around $2 billion. At the time, Oculus was one of the more prominent names in consumer virtual reality. In the years before and after the acquisition, other tech companies forayed into virtual and augmented reality. Google tried out Google Glass, and Microsoft created the HoloLens, neither of which took off. According to reports, Apple has been working on a virtual and augmented reality headset for years, but that project hasn't seen the light of day yet. So there is no precedent for a goal like Meta's to succeed, but will the company break the mold?
Related: Eight Tech Companies That Have Big Plans For The Metaverse
According to Business Insider, the division has been unprofitable — reporting a $3.7 billion operating loss and $285 million in revenue in its latest quarter. So, with these numbers in mind, it's easy to wonder whether Meta's investment is worth it. The company has spent $36 billion on its Reality Labs division since 2019, injecting a ton of capital into an already-unprofitable sector of Meta. At a 2022 meeting with shareholders, Meta executives projected that the company would continue to operate at a loss for three to five more years. It seems clear that Meta's bet on the metaverse is unwise, even if it eventually works out. Innovative products typically require significant research and development investments before they hit the market, but Meta's virtual reality offerings have been on shelves for a while now.
Supporters of the metaverse might claim that the digital reality environment is different from other innovations, citing the need to develop an online infrastructure before it can win over users. However, the online version of the metaverse isn't the problem — the hardware is. Virtual reality tech has not advanced significantly over the last decade, and computer development overall has stalled in recent years.
The times of gigantic year-over-year technology advancements have passed (at least for now), and VR headsets today look and feel similar to past generations. Meta's bet won't pay off until virtual reality equipment can shrink to be more comfortable and less cumbersome. Based on the rate of virtual reality advancements thus far, it doesn't look like Meta will make its goal a reality anytime soon.
Next: What You Can Do With Meta's Avatars Starting Later Next YearSource: Business Insider
Brady Snyder is a journalism student at St. John’s University specializing in Apple, wearables, and audio. Based in New York City, he reviews consumer technology, software, and services. Brady is well-versed in iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, and macOS — but experiments with Android and Windows as needed. He believes that competition between technology companies facilitates progress, and cautions against sticking to one particular brand or device. Instead, Brady tests out any tech product or service he can get his hands on, and aids buyers in making an informed decision about what is best for their needs. He’s currently flipping into the future with Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G, but the Apple Watch’s incredible fitness features might have him coming back to the iPhone in no time. Brady’s always searching for the best and most productive workflow with his technology, regardless of the platform he is currently using. Follow Brady on Twitter @BradyPSnyder.


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