In early November 2021, Mark Zuckerberg announced the conversion of Facebook to Meta as part of his bid for the metaverse. Almost a year later, many things have changed, but not exactly for the better: the price of its shares has fallen more than 60%, from 335.37 to just 130 dollars, and its market capitalization is around 350,160 million dollars. To all this is added, in addition, the disappointment generated by the first samples of virtual worlds developed by Reality Labs, his metaverse company. Faced with this situation, many begin to question what exactly the more than 15,000 million dollars have been spent that the technology giant has invested in this project.
Reality Labs “brings together a world-class team of researchers, developers and engineers to build the future of connection within virtual and augmented reality (VR),” according to its own website. The company entered the public radar in 2021, when Meta announced that it had invested more than 10,000 million dollars in it. However, everything else has been characterized by a lack of transparency.
One of the few things that is known is that Reality Labs recorded losses of more than 10,000 million dollars in 2021. Looking ahead to this exercise, these figures are expected to be even higher. In the absence of official confirmation, a Benchmark analyst estimates that at least 60% of losses of the metaversa company is due to the high costs associated with the research and development of these virtual worlds. Still, Meta still finds it more profitable build the metaverse to delegate to third parties due to current regulation, the expert points out to Business Insider.
The problem is that, for the moment, the investment in Reality Labs has not translated into great advances. To date, the company has presented a couple of avatars -in the latest version they do have legs- and the Meta Quest Pro, mixed reality glasses that cost 1799.99 euros. Likewise, the company led by Zuckerberg has made public its plans to expand virtual worlds in the strict sense to Horizon World -its multiplayer platform-, which can be accessed from a web browser.
Should Zuckerberg leave Meta?
The poor figures that Meta has registered this year and the little progress in the metaverse could be unequivocal signs that the time has come for Zuckerberg takes a step back.
He would not be the first founder of a tech giant to have made this decision. In 2008, Bill Gates announced that he was leaving his post at the helm of Microsoft -the company he created with Paul Allen in 1975- to dedicate more time to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, his non-profit organization “dedicated to improving the quality of life for people around the world”.
Other examples are Larry Page and Sergey Brin. In 2019, the founders of Google left their positions at the head of Alphabet – the tech giant’s parent company – to “simplify the management structure” of the company.
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Meta, one year later: what the more than 15,000 million invested in the metaverse have translated into