Meta’s third quarter revealed a significant financial hit, particularly in its Metaverse-focused Reality Labs division.
According to the third quarter of 2023, despite total revenue of $34.1 billion. result, grew 23% year over year, while its Reality Labs division plummeted with a loss of $3.7 billion. This downturn is believed to be due to declining sales of Meta’s Quest 2 as consumers hold back on purchases in anticipation of the recently released Quest 3 virtual reality headset.
Reality Labs lost $11.4 billion in 2023 (with one quarter left)
— Game developer (@gamedevdotcom) October 26, 2023
A glimpse into Meta’s financial performance
Despite Reality Labs’ setback, the third quarter wasn’t all gloomy for Meta. The tech giant boasted a net profit of $11.6 billion, an increase of 164% from $4.4 billion a year earlier. Online advertising and gaming, fueled by China’s growth, contributed significantly. Additionally, the quarter overall benefited from lower operating expenses in the Reality Labs division, resulting in Meta’s highest operating margin in his two years.
The number of monthly active users on Facebook’s platform increased by 3% to 3.05 billion. Additionally, Family’s daily active users averaged 3.14 billion in September, reflecting 7% year-over-year growth.
The growing dominance of AI
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg articulated a strategic pivot to artificial intelligence (AI) in his remarks. He emphasized the importance of generative AI, and in the last month alone he mentioned the staggering 30 million downloads of his Llama large-scale language model. With AI-driven feed recommendations, the time users spend on Facebook has skyrocketed by 7%.
Zuckerberg’s vision for the future also highlighted the power and potential of the Meta Quest 3 headset. Touted as a mixed reality device, the Quest 3 promises to blend the virtual and physical realms to provide users with an immersive experience like never before.
Ray-Ban and Meta’s AI-powered vision
Another notable venture is the launch of the second generation Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses. Integrated with Meta AI, users can interact verbally, ask questions, and receive voice responses through the device’s built-in speaker. Zuckerberg envisions augmented reality (AR) merging with these smart glasses in the not-too-distant future.
The possibilities for the Metaverse appear to be endless as Horizon software undergoes testing to ensure cross-device functionality. Zuckerberg emphasizes the challenge of blending these advanced technologies into a seamless and holistic user experience. Additionally, CFO Susan Lee has hinted that Reels will deliver some revenue growth, a change that happened sooner than expected. With more than half of users’ time spent on video services on Instagram and Facebook, the company predicts fourth-quarter revenue will rise from $36 billion to $40 billion.
Shareholder concerns and future recommendations
Meta’s long-term shareholder, Altimeter, expressed concern in an article. open letter To Zuckerberg. The letter states that Meta needs to regain momentum and refocus its strategy by cutting headcount costs by 20%, reducing annual capital expenditures from $30 billion to $25 billion, and increasing its commitment to Metaverse/Reality Labs. He proposes a three-part plan that limits investment to $5. B is every year.
Brad Gerstner, the letter’s author, emphasized the urgent need for tech giants to reduce excess and effectively deploy resources to realize the future envisioned by AI.
From a geopolitical perspective
Amid financial reviews and strategic discussions, geopolitical instability, particularly in the Middle East, remains a significant concern. Although Meta’s direct exposure to conflict is limited, it has observed fluctuations in advertising spending due to disruptions. We remain vigilant and are continuously monitoring the evolving situation.
Meta’s journey, a mix of victories and challenges, reflects the dynamic state of the technology industry. As we move forward, the balance between innovation and fiscal responsibility remains critical.