Not just critics and industry experts were disappointed by Meta’s new $1,500 virtual reality headset. Even Mark Zuckerberg was one of them.
Zuckerberg claimed that VR, the technology he staked his whole $340 billion business on a year ago, is entering “the trough of disillusionment” in an interview with The Verge that was published on Tuesday. When interest in a new technology dramatically decreases, people in the technology sector prefer to use that phrase.
His remarks effectively lower expectations for the new Meta Quest Pro’s commercial performance, which launch on October 25. At the same time, Zuckerberg reaffirmed his conviction that, after the smartphone, the metaverse will usher in the next major advancement in computing, but he added that it will take some time.
He specifically stated to The Verge that the Quest Pro and other metaverse devices won’t be “completely mature” until later this decade.
Later this decade, however, Meta isn’t selling headsets. It is currently selling them and looking to the tech industry and software developers to come up with convincing arguments for purchasing one.
The major takeaway from Meta’s announcement on Tuesday was not the hardware or what it could accomplish, but rather the dearth of compelling applications and use cases that would persuade you to buy one right away. If Meta’s “iPhone moment” was supposed to be this, it fell short.
Remember that all of this is taking place as Meta’s main business, which it operates through the Facebook and Instagram apps, faces formidable obstacles. Facebook users are logging off. Reels, Meta’s TikTok rival, has had trouble generating revenue from advertisements because to low engagement, as The Wall Street Journal reported this week. Recent privacy improvements by Apple make it more challenging for Meta to target adverts at iPhone consumers. The stock has dropped by a staggering 60% this year.
In the meantime, Zuckerberg himself cautions of dwindling interest in the idea while Meta is losing at least $10 billion year trying to drive the metaverse into being.
Yes, it’s feasible that by the end of the decade or maybe in the 2030s, Zuckerberg will be proven to be correct. But since it’s 2022, the business still has a lot of current problems to solve.
Needham analysts wrote a note to Meta investors on Wednesday morning in which they complimented Zuckerberg’s audacious plans for the metaverse but also stressed the need to evaluate the company’s current state.
The Needham analysts added, “Our job is to make stock calls,” later adding, “We respect Mark Zuckerberg’s commitment to a goal in the face of astronomical odds. Meta is prepared to place large wagers that might either revolutionise the world for 2 billion consumers or result in an epic failure.