This year was even harder than we expected”, stated Andrew Bosworth, CTO & Head of Reality Labs at Meta in a long post published on 19 December 2022. The social media giant has received lots of criticism over its huge investments in the metaverse, with critics feeling that it’s too early to go all in for a paradigm shift that is yet to take shape.
But if the blog post is anything to go by, then Meta seems to be determined to prove their critics wrong by continuing to pump more billions into this least traveled path. “During boom times, it’s easy to make big..investments in what’s coming next. But when economic conditions turn, it’s just as easy to turn the other way. : cut back on your ambitions, stick to what’s safest and most profitable today, and squeeze as much as you can from it”, continues the post.
It appears that Meta is looking deep into the future, beyond what everyone or let’s just say most people, are not able to see or do not want to see. They don’t want to follow the example of fallen companies that gave up on new innovations only to be edged out. They don’t want to sit and only squeeze goodies out of a business model that is working today, until it dries up. And with this, Meta is not turning back on its metaverse vision.
Only 20% of the company’s spending is going to Reality Labs, the arm that is handling the metaverse drive. This is no small money, but it’s small in proportion compared to the 80% that is going to core business: Whatsapps, Facebook and Instagram.
One of the key focus areas for Meta is mixed reality – the ability to see the physical environment blended with digital objects. To this end, some developers are already producing interesting apps. But other competing companies such as Apple and HTC are expected to release their gears soon. It’ll be interesting to see how this field plays out.
According to reports fromThe Information, Metas is trying to find ways to pair their AR glasses with additional hardware. They are apparently testing a device that looks like a phone, and it could be used to control the glasses or offer them an increased computing power. Reportedly, Meta had planned to pair the glasses with a smartwatch; however, they faced issues with power and design.
Meanwhile virtual reality icon John Carmack is leaving his executive consulting engagement at Meta after 8 years in the company. He initially announced the resignation in an internal post but later posted it in Facebook after the earlier internal post was leaked with “errors”, as he puts it. In the post, he attributes his decision to leave to inefficiency in the company, even though he acknowledges that the Quest 2 is very much close to what he always wanted. John says he cares so deeply about efficiency, being a systems optimization guy. According to him, Meta’s performance in terms of efficiency is at half of what he would have wanted to see. In the end, he affirms that the future of VR is great and that Meta is still at the forefront of influencing the ecosystem.