New York.- Last October, when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company would change its name to Meta and become a “metaverse company,” he outlined a vision of a utopian future many years from now in which thousands of millions of people would immersively inhabit digital environments for hours on end, working, socializing and playing within virtual and augmented worlds.
Since then, Meta has spent billions of dollars and assigned thousands of employees to make Zuckerberg’s dream possible. But Meta’s metaverse efforts are off to a rocky start.
The company’s flagship VR game, Horizon Worlds, continues to be buggy and unpopular, prompting Meta to implement a “quality lock” for the rest of the year while it updates the app.
Some Meta employees have complained about frequent strategy changes that seem tied to Zuckerberg’s whims rather than a cohesive plan.
And Meta executives have taken issue with the company’s metaverse strategy, with one leader complaining that the amount of money the company had spent on untested projects made him “sick to the stomach.”
On Tuesday, Meta is expected to unveil a new VR headset at a developer conference, along with other new features from the metaverse. The stakes are high for the company, which is racing to transform to offset downturns in other parts of its business. TikTok is siphoning off younger users from Facebook and Instagram, Meta’s two big moneymakers, and Apple made privacy changes to its mobile operating system that have cost Meta billions of dollars in ad revenue.
The company’s share price has fallen nearly 60 percent in the past year, a reflection not only of the broader market turbulence, but also of skepticism from some investors that the metaverse will be very lucrative anytime soon. . In late September, the company announced it would freeze most hiring, and Zuckerberg warned employees that layoffs could follow.
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Skepticism, confusion and frustration: Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse