Facebook and Quest company Meta is currently getting raked over the coals by investors, due to yet another quarter of massive losses in its VR and metaverse division.
The company’s quarterly earnings revealed that its Reality Labs division — which covers its VR and XR efforts as well as metaverse endeavors — saw $3.7 billion in losses from operations. But while this was an exceptionally large loss for the division, it’s coming off a long history of losses going back quarter after quarter. That same division has seen losses of $9.4 billion so far this year, compared to $6.9 billion in the same period last year.
Notably, though, this doesn’t seem to be directly tied to a massive drop in revenue. Overall company revenue was $29 billion for the quarter, down only 4% year over year. But revenue for the Reality Labs segment alone was only $285 million, meaning Facebook’s “Family of Apps” division (which deals with Facebook, Snapchat, and the like) largely carried the company. Put simply, Meta’s VR and metaverse eforts are bringing in very little money compared to how much money Meta is spending on them.
And it’s prepared to spend even more. Alongside its announcement of a new consumer Meta Quest headset for next year and expenditures related to that, Meta said it expected the division’s operating losses to grow “significantly”.
“Infrastructure-related” expenses are also expected to play an even bigger role.
Meta doesn’t have a lot of good answers
For right now, it doesn’t sound like Meta has a lot of good answers for shareholders upset at the big spending, either. In its earnings outlook, Meta said it had “increased scrutiny on all areas of operating expenses,” but said that scrutiny would take time to actually have an impact on the numbers. Given some of the language used in the earnings, it’s sounding more and more like this may mean layoffs.
And on the earnings call, multiple shareholders brought up the spending issue, only to be repeatedly reassured that Meta was confident its investments would eventually pay off — though perhaps not for a while, as leadership indicated its metaverse efforts may take some time to bring returns.
It wasn’t that long ago that the very idea of the Metaverse was under fire from all sides as Meta announced its premium headset, the Meta Quest Pro, at a hefty $1499.99 price tag. At the same time, Zuckerberg and Meta were being readily mocked by the internet due to the ridiculous visuals of its employee metaverse, Horizon Worlds, which apparently none of its employees actually enjoy using. And just this morning, Xbox boss Phil Spencer called current ideations of the metaverse a “poorly-built video game”, saying that “building a metaverse that’s like a living room is not how I want to spend my time.”
Meta stock is currently seeing the impact of the earnings call. At the time this piece was written, it had dropped 19% in after-hours trading to $105.30 — a price lower than any the company has seen this year.
Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.
Source: IGN Video Games All