Social media giant Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook) is a see-saw for the metaverse and artificial intelligence (AI). The rebranding emphasized on the former but the mania, but as of now, it has lost a fortune to the initiative. Meta temporarily shifted its focus on AI but metaverse is still in the sights. CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently showcased that digital worlds are not dead, yet.
Weak Demand, Mighty Loss
Apple was about to pull out its latest mixed reality (MR) toy, Vision Pro, before the world, however, Meta Platforms pulled theirs, Quest 3, beforehand. Quest 3 is less cheaper than its previous variant, Meta Quest Pro, and much more efficient. But, a swarm of the company’s latest product making a landfall is unlikely.
The losses from Meta’s HMD/metaverse hardware business, due to weak demand, may exceed market consensus/ Meta的頭戴裝置 (元宇宙) 硬體事業因需求疲軟造成的虧損可能高於市場共識https://t.co/TU02ohVQP0
— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) October 5, 2023
Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst at TF International Securities, foresees significant losses for Meta’s metaverse hardware. He suggests downsizing the business segment to mitigate further losses. The company already suffered a sizable loss of $21 Billion through its research and development arm, Reality Labs.
But that does not happen to stop Zuckerberg from pursuing corners of the metaverse. His appearance in the Lex Fridman Podcast was reassuring about the things to expect in the future. The duo even discussed bringing the dead back using the technology. However absurd it may sound, The Sandbox already did it by bringing The King, Elvis Presley, back this August.
Mr. Kuo also notes in his post that Quest 3’s shipment forecast tapered off from 7 Million pieces to nearly 2.5 Million pieces in 2H23. The company has unloaded over 20 Million Quest pieces to its buyers. Credit to half of that figure goes to Meta Quest 2 only. Pandemic gave it a little push as people tried avoid getting bored to death at their homes.
The new Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses aren’t immune to the blow either. Ming-Chi Kuo notes that only 1.5 Million units of the product are expected to make it to the users’ faces. 90 percent of Ray-Ban Stories users have already abandoned them. The company missed its initial goal to sell 300,000 units in April 2022. Moreover, there were less than 50,000 users of the product, Mr. Kuo highlights.
A Dream For All, Not Just One
Meta Platforms appears to have been working on bringing about a balance on this metaverse-AI see-saw. Zuckerberg told Lex Fridman that “AI embodying a real creator, there’s a whole set of things that you need to do to make sure that AI is not going to say things that the creator doesn’t want right and that the AI is gonna know things and be able to represent things in the way that the creator would want the way that the creator would know.”
Also, recently, Meta announced its new AI experiences where the company joined hands with creators like Snoop Dogg, Tom Brady, MrBeast and more. All of them are likely to play virtual characters interacting with users through their family of apps.
With the kind of passion and dedication Zuck Bucks is moving with, he may eventually achieve his dream. But it won’t be a win-win situation until a preponderance of people are living it.