Facebook parent company Meta is aiming to push humans into the digital world with its VR metaverse. However, the company is also working on the opposite, Meta Augmented Reality glasses that bring the digital world into reality.
In a report by The Verge, multiple Meta employees exposed CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s plans for the technology. The damming report reveals the struggles behind the tech, and how everything rests on plans for mixed reality hardware.
Mark Zuckerberg’s ego is tied to Meta Augmented Reality
Just like its virtual reality metaverse, Meta has already lost billions on the development of AR hardware. However, despite this, the company is already expecting to see colossal losses upon the technology’s initial release in 2024.
Reportedly, the company only has “sales expectations in the low tens of thousands” for its first generation hardware. Additionally, that first generation is expected to be far pricier than the company's Oculus Quest headsets.
With the bill of materials for a pair of the tentatively titled Project Nazare glasses in the thousands, Meta Augmented Reality will have to be sold at a huge loss. While other, cheaper versions are in development for 2026 and 2028, Meta will have to cope with years of losses as they hope for it to pay off.
One former employee explained that CEO Mark Zuckerberg is betting everything on the technology one day taking off. “Zuck’s ego is intertwined with [the glasses],” they said. “He wants it to be an iPhone moment.”
A wish to kill Apple and Google
The report explains that Meta Augmented Reality is designed with the express purpose of taking out Apple and Google. With apps like Facebook dependant on smartphones to which they have to split profits with, Zuckerberg wants his own platform to own 100% of the income.
As such, Project Nazare is developed to work without the use of a smartphone. However, it still requires a “phone-shaped device” that provides most of the glasses’ power. This is because the hardware is too small to contain the amount of power needed for a true AR experience.
It’s currently unknown what exactly Meta Augmented Reality will be used for, outside of displaying adverts in real life. While “hologram” voice calls are noted as a feature, that doesn't seem to be a feature that many — if any — will pay almost a grand for.
AR glasses are already on the market from companies like Google and Microsoft, but they have not caught on. Maybe it’s because they're far too expensive. On the other hand, it may be because there currently isn't enough reason to move from smartphones to glasses.