Things are looking up for Meta. The company beat revenue expectations, reporting an increase in year-over-year revenue for the first time in three quarters. But this ray of light for the company formerly known as Facebook comes amid harsh restructuring, resulting in more than 10,000 jobs eliminated this year.
Tech moves through buzzwords like clockwork. Though the metaverse was all the rage when Meta changed its name — a sort of recursive and self-referential generation of hype — now, it’s all about AI. Despite big losses in its metaverse investments, CEO Mark Zuckerberg made it a point to tell investors that he is not making a u-turn into the AI lane. Rather, he sees AI as 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.”
Meta isn’t expecting Reality Labs to make money yet, but investors have voiced concerns that this hefty investment might not pay off. Zuckerberg’s interest in ongoing AI development might quiet some of those worries — Meta’s stock price has increased, for one — but the metaverse is still bleeding money.
Reality Labs, Meta’s department for VR and AR, lost nearly $4 billion this quarter. In all of last year, it lost $13.7 billion. Zuckerberg pointed out, though, that VR and AR technology do in fact involve AI.
“Our vision for AR glasses involves an AI-centric operating system that we think will be the basis for the next generation of computing,” Zuckerberg said on the call.
When it comes to its metaverse vision, Zuckerberg said that half of daily active users on its Quest headsets spend more than one hour per day on their device. Meta did not disclose just how many people are actually using Quest headsets on a daily basis.
“Building the metaverse is a long-term project, but the rationale for it remains the same, and we remain committed to it,” Zuckerberg said.