Meta was supposed to bring the metaverse to life. Epic is actually doing it.

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    Mark Zuckerberg's META was supposed to bring the Metaverse into the homes of billions of users via the company's Quest AR/VR headset. Heck, Zuckerberg even changed the name of the social media giant to reflect his lofty ambitions to create a series of interconnected, permanent online worlds.

    But it's looking increasingly likely that Epic Games will be the company that makes the Metaverse a reality. That possibility became even more likely after Disney (DIS) announced it would invest $1.5 billion in the Fortnite game developer.

    inside Press release announcing investmentDisney stopped short of referencing the deal as a way to bring the Metaverse to life, saying, “The new Persistent Universe will give consumers many ways to play, watch, shop, and engage with content, characters, and stories.” We will provide opportunities.” Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, Avatar, etc. ”

    If that's not a kind of metaverse, I don't know what is. This is especially true given that the “persistent universe” is carried out through Epic Games' “Fortnite,” a hugely popular competitive online shooter and building game.

    Fortnite has already hosted online concerts, and recently introduced Lego Fortnite games, racing games, and music-based games.

    FILE - The Meta logo is seen at the Vivatech show in Paris, France on June 14, 2023.  Facebook and Instagram users will now see labels on AI-generated images that appear in their social media feeds as part of a broader tech industry effort. To distinguish between what is real and what is not.  Meta said on Tuesday, February 6, 2024, that it is working with industry partners on technology standards that will make it easier to identify images, and ultimately video and audio, generated by artificial intelligence tools.  (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)

    Meta's vision of a metaverse is still a dream. Epic is making it a reality. (Thibault Camus/AP Photo, File) (Related news)

    Meanwhile, Meta continues to invest in Metaverse, and although Zuckerberg mentioned the technology in the company's latest earnings call, it appears to have taken a backseat to artificial intelligence. In fact, the CEO dedicated much of his prepared remarks during the conference call to Meta's AI investments.

    Yes, he mentioned that the company's Reality Labs division had $1 billion in revenue in the quarter and that the company's Horizon app is among Quest's 10 most used apps. did. But he also peppered the Metaverse bit with plenty of stories about his AI, explaining how the company's Ray-Ban MetaSmart glasses offer a better experience thanks to MetaAI, and how the glasses are a way for people to interact with AI. said.

    In other words, it looks like Epic has completely defeated the meta in the Metaverse. And the difference is likely to widen further in the future.

    Fortnite has been expanding for years

    Epic CEO Tim Sweeney is a believer in the Metaverse. In May 2023, Business Insider reported that the Metaverse List of Failed Tech Industry FadsSweeney tweeted. respond to a joking call The online vigil was held so that “the 600 million monthly active users of Fortnite, Minecraft, Roblox, PUBG Mobile, Sandbox, and VRChat can mourn their loss together in real-time 3D.”

    Mr. Sweeney's point is correct. While millions of people still play games like Fortnite, Minecraft and Roblox, the concept of the Metaverse has largely lost traction. As AI replaced the industry's go-to technology, companies from Microsoft to Disney ended their Metaverse projects.

    But Epic and Meta continue to move forward. While Meta spends billions of dollars on Quest products, Epic builds on characters and intellectuals from Marvel, “Dragon Ball Z,'' “Naruto,'' “Halo,'' “John Wick'' and “Stranger Things.'' Adding property to Fortnite. ”

    But Meta is having a really hard time getting consumers hooked on its Horizon Worlds app. In 2022, The Wall Street Journal reported The app fell well short of its goal of 500,000 monthly users, in fact reaching fewer than 200,000 The app has been renewed in 2023. We aim to add more games.

    MetaQuest 3 on display during the MetaConnect Developer Conference held at Meta Headquarters in Menlo Park, California on September 27, 2023.  (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP) (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP, Getty Images)MetaQuest 3 on display during the MetaConnect Developer Conference held at Meta Headquarters in Menlo Park, California on September 27, 2023.  (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP) (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP, Getty Images)

    MetaQuest 3 on display during the MetaConnect Developer Conference held at Meta Headquarters in Menlo Park, California on September 27, 2023. (JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images) (Josh Edelson, via Getty Images)

    Meanwhile, Epic announced three games in December. That includes Lego Fortnite, an open-world survival game where players create objects from Lego blocks. “Fortnite Rocket Racing” and “Fortnite Festival”. In each game, a Fortnite character can bring in his skins and in-game costumes to create a seamless series of worlds for his Fortnite avatar.

    Adding Disney and its various characters and unique locales to the “Fortnite” formula should help keep players coming back to Epic's interconnected collection of online games.

    It's important to point out that Epic and Meta aren't the only ones building their respective metaverses. Roblox (RBLX) also continues to piece together the concept of the metaverse. And the company announced in its latest quarterly earnings report that bookings reached $1 billion.

    It's also worth noting that Zuckerberg appears to be refusing to abandon the Metaverse. This is despite the fact that the company lost $16.1 billion in 2023 alone on this initiative. This is up from $13.7 billion in 2022.

    Part of the problem with Meta is that its Metaverse requires users to participate primarily through the Quest line of headsets. The company released the Horizon Worlds mobile app to lower the barrier to entry, but it lacks the appeal that “Fortnite” offers.

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    Zuckerberg also faces increased competition in the headset field from Apple's new Vision Pro. on tuesday, he posted on his Instagram reelAfter using the Vision Pro, he says he believes the Quest 3 is not just a cheaper option, but a better product overall.

    But getting people to pony up and continue their quest requires more than just soaking up the Vision Pro.

    Still, the technology and gaming industries are fickle. And Zuckerberg is determined to make his vision of the Metaverse a reality, and it could pay off in the long run. But for now, Fortnite is eating lunch.

    daniel howley I'm the technology editor at Yahoo Finance. He has been covering the technology industry since his 2011. You can follow him on Twitter. @Daniel Howley.

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