Meta is spending billions of dollars a quarter to fulfill CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s dream of a futuristic virtual world that he calls the metaverse.
Despite the company’s commitment to making its founder’s dream come true, the virtual reality market is contracting.
Sales of VR headsets and augmented reality glasses in the U.S. plummeted nearly 40% to $664 million in 2023, as of Nov. 25, according to data shared with CNBC by research firm Circana. That’s a much steeper drop than last year, when sales of AR and VR devices slid 2% to $1.1 billion. (...)
Meta declined to provide a comment for this story but pointed to a blog post on Monday from Chief Technology Officer Andrew Bosworth, who runs Reality Labs. Bosworth called artificial intelligence and the metaverse Meta’s “two long-term bets on technologies of the future,” and said they’re beginning to “intersect in the form of products accessible to huge numbers of people.”
“Making long-term bets on emerging technologies isn’t easy,” Bosworth wrote. “It’s not guaranteed to work, and it’s certainly not cheap. It’s also one of the most valuable things a technology company can do — and the only way to remain relevant over the long run.” (...)
Meta debuted the Quest 3 VR in October, starting at $499, or $200 more than where the predecessor Quest 2′s base model was initially priced in 2020. Sales have at least been strong enough to help lift the VR market during the pivotal holiday period, even if the year overall has been week.