Zuckerberg expresses optimism about future of metaverse

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke at the New York Times DealBook Summit in New York City on Wednesday. He expressed his optimism about the future of the metaverse.

In a remote interview, Zuckerberg was asked if the tech titans’ metaverse project was still feasible, considering the cost and the skepticism cast on the platform.

“I think things look very different on a ten-year time horizon than the zone that we’re in for the next few years … I’m still completely optimistic about all the things that we’ve been optimistic about,” the 38-year-old said.

According to Zuckerberg, most of the company’s financial and time investment went into developing Meta apps such as Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp and others. And they spent only a small portion of their investment on improving metaverse-related projects.

“About 80 percent of our investments—a little more—go towards the core business, what we call our family of apps, so that’s Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp Messenger, and the ads business associated with that. Then a little less than 20 percent of our investment goes towards Reality Labs,” Zuckerberg said.

Metaverse is a costly venture

The most recent earnings report from Meta, released on October 26, revealed that its revenue fell four percent year on year in the third quarter to $27.7 billion. Its net income was $4.395 billion, down from $9.194 billion the previous year.

The data showed that Zuckerberg’s virtual reality project cost $9.44 billion in 2022, closing in on the more than $10 billion in losses documented in 2021. It also revealed Reality Labs’ largest-ever quarterly loss, which was $3.672 billion in the third quarter.

The Harvard alumni explained Reality Labs’ spending, claiming that 40 percent is spent on VR investments and the rest on another long-term project.

Zuckerberg acknowledged that due to macroeconomic issues, Meta would need to conduct business with greater efficiency and discipline in the future. The company cut back on spending and laid off 11,000 employees on November 9

He explained that the company expected the economy to move in a specific direction based on encouraging indicators related to e-commerce businesses during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, but that has yet to occur.

Despite these setbacks, he is determined to move forward. He said there would be massive technological advancements leading to the 2030s, saying, “the way we communicate gets richer and more immersive.”

“If someone has to build that and invest in it and believe in it, there’s a lot of new technology that needs to get invented to create that. So I’m still very optimistic about that,” he added.

Zuckerberg slammed Apple

During the conference, Zuckerberg joined Elon Musk in criticizing Apple for its restrictive App Store policies. “I do think Apple has sort of singled themselves out as the only company that is trying to control unilaterally what apps get on a device, and I don’t think that’s a sustainable or good place to be,” the billionaire CEO said.

He cited other computing platforms, such as Windows and Android, which are less restrictive and even allow third-party app markets and sideloading. He promised that Meta would enable sideloading with its existing VR and future AR units.

“I do think it is it is problematic for one company to be able to control what kind of app experiences get on the device,” he said.