Ever since Meta revealed plans to create the metaverse, fans have been hoping to see more of what the service is aside from VR headsets that sell you more products. Unfortunately, the newness of Meta’s metaverse has led to some messy development, already resulting in the axing of projects from Reality Labs.
Sadly, that’s only the start of the bad news for Reality Labs. Aside from canceled projects, Meta has also told their staff to prepare for budget cuts. It’s a truly unfortunate situation all around and the fact that it all goes back to a bunch of metaverse headsets is a bit infuriating.
Canceled metaverse projects
A report from Reuters claims Meta told the Reality Labs staff that they won’t be able to afford certain planned metaverse projects, though they didn’t name which ones. Some projects are being axed while others are reportedly just “postponed” but things aren’t looking good for the company.
Chief Technology Officer Andrew Bosworth reportedly told Reality Staff workers to brace themselves for these changes during the company’s weekly Q&A sessions. While a Meta spokesperson claimed that layoffs are not part of the changes, the canceled projects and lost profits speak otherwise.
Meta’s lost profits
Prior to the news Meta lost a reported $10 billion on Reality Labs last year, resulting in the company making fewer hirings for 2022. Reality Labs also cost Meta $2.9 billion in the first quarter of 2022, and $10 billion in 2021. Not helping this was the company telling investors that it would scale back costs this year due to the recent drop in Facebook users.
A combination of these things is likely why some of these Reality Labs metaverse projects were canceled. It’s unfortunate to see people possibly lose their jobs over this but that’s just how these businesses work, though it doesn’t make the looming possibility any less tragic. We hope the Metaverse spokesperson was correct about layoffs not being part of the changes but that seems doubtful.
The future of Meta
Despite some of the dreadful news regarding Reality Labs, the company itself is likely still safe. While possible layoffs and fewer hirings don't scream a bright future, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg does plan to get back some of their lost profits through their legacy apps, Facebook and Instagram.
The company is still working on projects like Project Cambria, another high-end VR headset that's expected to come out this Fall. VR through Oculus also continues to be a big part of Meta's investments, as more apps and games for the system continue to be announced.
In fairness to Zuckerberg, he did say previously that the metaverse is going to take a long time before coming to fruition. Admittedly, that does make all these investments from bigger companies seem more ridiculous in hindsight but they seem to be ready for a VR headset future.