- Meta plans to downsize its Reality Labs division, specifically one focused on custom silicon for augmented reality and virtual reality hardware.
- Despite investing more than $36 billion in Reality Labs since 2019, Meta has faced challenges in chip development and has failed to achieve a mainstream hit in the augmented or virtual reality space.
- Other tech giants such as Apple and Microsoft have also slowed down their augmented reality and virtual reality projects, indicating industry-wide challenges in both technology development and consumer demand.
Meta plans to wind down its Reality Labs division, which is responsible for developing custom silicon to power the tech giant’s augmented reality and virtual reality hardware. The announcement came through Meta’s workplace discussion forum on Tuesday, according to a recent report by Reuters, citing sources familiar with the matter. Employees were told they would be informed of their positions within the company by Wednesday morning.
Reality Labs, once at the heart of Meta’s metaverse ambitions, has about 600 employees in its silicon division alone, known as the Facebook Agile Silicon Team (FAST). Their main mission is to develop custom his chips designed for augmented and virtual reality hardware, including products such as Meta’s Quest series of mixed reality headsets and smart glasses in partnership with eyewear manufacturer EssilorLuxottica. It revolves around.
Meta’s augmented reality products have had mixed luck
Additionally, Meta recently announced new versions of these smart glasses and the consumer-centric Quest 3 headset at its annual Connect conference. Additionally, the company is exploring the development of augmented reality glasses that can project virtual objects onto see-through lenses. According to a source, a compatible smartwatch is also being developed in parallel.
However, the Reality Labs division faces challenges in chip development. As a result, Meta relies on external chip makers like Qualcomm for its current product line, including the Quest headset and Ray-Ban glasses. Reliance on third-party silicon vendors could be one of the catalysts for impending downsizing, but it remains speculative.
Meta has cut about 21,000 jobs since November as it tries to appease investors by cutting costs. The move was made in response to concerns about declining revenue growth, high inflation, and Reality Labs’ financial performance.
The broader context of Meta’s restructuring cannot be ignored. Importantly, the company has committed more than $36 billion to Reality Labs since 2019. Despite such huge investments, Meta has yet to score a mainstream hit in the augmented or virtual reality space.
In addition to Meta, other major Silicon Valley companies have expressed strong interest in augmented reality and virtual reality technologies, recognizing them as the next frontier in computing. But Apple and Microsoft are also putting the brakes on their respective augmented and virtual reality projects. His twin challenges still loom large: difficult technological barriers and uncertain consumer demand.
Given these ongoing developments, there has been speculation about what the layoffs might mean for the future of Meta and the Metaverse.
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