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Remember the Metaverse? By now we were all supposed to be navigating personal avatars through immersive digital landscapes. However, the suddenly excessive interest of investors gradually waned. Facebook was initially so enthusiastic about the concept that CEO Mark Zuckerberg changed the company’s name to Meta. spending $10 billion a year to realize his ambitions,
He originally planned to hire 10,000 Metaverse workers in the EU alone. Luxury brands have entered the virtual world for cash rewards, helping to push the Metaverse economy’s valuation into the stratosphere. Goldman Sachs projects $8 trillion over the next 20 years. Citi, on the other hand, expected $13 trillion. But today, Zuckerberg is less talking about the Metaverse and more about AI and even efficiency.
Reality Labs, the division that makes the Meta Quest headset, continues to lose money. Last year, it posted an operating loss of $13.7 billion. And only 1 in 10 of the visitors to Horizon Workrooms, the company’s flagship social space, are repeat visitors. After advertising losses and major layoffs, Zuckerberg was forced to refocus his efforts on Meta’s social media app.
Currently, Metaverse receives only 20 percent of corporate investment. And while Zuckerberg’s new text-based service, Threads, is targeting Rival X, formerly known as Twitter, it appears to have little to do with powering the Metaverse.
A feeling of fatigue has spread. Microsoft shut down its Metaverse division just four months after creating it, laying off 100 people. Disney has shut down its Metaverse division and cut 50 jobs. There continues to be confusion about what the Metaverse even should be. It is plagued by technical flaws and apathy is widespread. 40 organizations pay no attention to the metaverse at all.
Decentraland, a virtual real estate platform, was recently valued at $1 billion. However, the price of virtual land has since fallen. But Meta remains bullish, investing heavily in augmented reality kits that it hopes will change the way people live and build the next computing platform.
But Apple’s newly released mixed reality headset is changing the metaverse, ushering in a new era of spatial computing, and less than two years after its dramatic announcement, what little investor enthusiasm remained. It seems that it has been erased. For those still dodging tumbleweeds in Zuckerberg’s crumbling edifice, they may not have long left.