Meta’s stock price had fallen by -19.66%! Meta’s dropping stocks challenges metaverse vision?
Meta’s dropping stocks challenges metaverse vision? At the time this post was being written, Meta’s stock price had fallen by -19.66% in after-hours trading following the market closed last night, which happened to closely follow the report’s publication. A firm spokeswoman claimed that officials had somewhat anticipated the falling Meta’s stock price and that it might continue into the following year. In February 2022, Meta stock tumbled 26%, wiping US$230 billion of the value of the company. Since then, its stock has continued to slide and has now lost roughly one-third of its value in less than a week. Of particular concern to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg are privacy controls introduced by Apple last spring which allow users to prevent companies like Facebook from monitoring their activities. That upends Facebook’s business model which is built on selling user data to advertisers. Zuckerberg says the change could cost the company US$10 billion a year. Facebook risks missing the point of the metaverse—and a coming shift in consumers’ behavior—if it fails to permit digital ownership, according to some of the virtual world pioneers.
Bosworth’s note made the case for why employees — and the public — should believe in the company’s $10 billion-a-year investment in developing new technologies like AR/VR, eye-tracking, and graphics processing.
“This post is my attempt to set the record straight,” said Bosworth in an interview with Recode last week, speaking to critics who think Meta is spending too much on new technology that hasn’t yet caught on at the same scale as social media. “There’s been a really bad misunderstanding of the business and the fact that 80 percent of the investment that we’re making is an investment in the core business. And if you ask the average person, isn’t it reasonable for a company to invest some percentage, maybe even 20 percent, in its future?”
Zuckerberg’s Metaverse Vision
The CEO believes that humans will migrate into the metaverse in the future, completely leaving behind the reality for a world which will be created and governed by them entirely. Explaining his vision, he claimed how there will come a time when virtual worlds will be so absorbing that nobody would want to leave, and this is when the metaverse will emerge. While speaking to Lex Fridman in the podcast, he said, “A lot of people assume the metaverse is about a location, but one description of it is a period when immersive digital worlds become the primary way we live our lives and spend our time.”
Spending on the metaverse is bonkers
Mr. Zuckerberg believes so much that the internet’s next generation is the metaverse — a still fuzzy and theoretical concept that involves people moving across different virtual- and augmented-reality worlds — that he is willing to spend big on it. So big that the spending amounted to more than US$10 billion last year. Mr. Zuckerberg expects to spend even more in the future. Yet there is no evidence the bet will pay off. Unlike Facebook’s shift to mobile devices in 2012, virtual reality use is still the province of niche hobbyists and has yet to really break into the mainstream. Widespread augmented-reality headsets are also months — if not years — away. In essence, Mr. Zuckerberg is asking employees, users, and investors to have faith in him and his metaverse vision. That’s a big ask for something that will cost the company billions in the coming years and that may never come to fruition.
Success so far
This year, Meta released a $1,500 “mixed reality” — headset, called the Quest Pro. Mixed reality means that instead of being completely immersed in a virtual environment, you can see virtual reality projected onto your surroundings. The Quest Pro is being marketed to business customers like architects, clothing designers, and other professionals who use 3D modeling for their jobs.
Meta’s older, more affordable virtual reality Quest 2 headsets are more popular with regular consumers (they’re the leading VR headset in the consumer market), but the technologies are still niche compared to the scale of Facebook or Meta-owned Instagram. For comparison, Meta has sold an estimated 14.8 million Quest 2 headsets since launch, according to analyst firm IDC, whereas Facebook has nearly 3 billion monthly active users.