For the past year and a half, Meta has lost a total of over $30 billion trying to find a way to bring virtual reality and augmented reality to your home.
That total comes from the last set of operating losses for Reality Labs, Meta's division for researching AR and VR. It lost a total of $10 billion in 2021 and $13.7 billion in 2022. Add in the $4.3 billion it lost in the previous quarter and the $3.99 billion it just lost this year and you get that very, very big number.
The losses are getting smaller, which suggests Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg's "year of efficiency" (which included laying off 21,000 employees) might've stemmed the bleeding.
Despite the tech world's waning interest in "the metaverse," especially as AI continues to flood the public consciousness, Meta continues to hold on tight to Reality Labs. Last year, it increased the price of its Quest 2 VR headset, citing increased production costs and a desire to invest in "groundbreaking research and new product development that pushes the VR industry to new heights." It's all part of a 10-year plan, according to Zuckerberg.
Not all of us have 10 years to wait for this dream to become reality, and $30 billion is a lot of money. Here are some things you could do with that right now:
- Donate it all to mutual aid groups
- Buy several remote islands
- Fund 113 Grand Theft Auto games (based on GTA 5's estimated $265M budget)
- Buy 100,000 of these partially submersible watercrafts
- Use it to expand Star Citizen's scope even more (it only cost SpaceX "approximately $390 million" to develop the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 rockets, so maybe they could get some real space travel in the mix?)
- Splurge on antique pottery from the tomb of the first emperor of China
- Invest, then buy a social media platform and run it into the ground
Or you could continue down Meta's path and search for ways to encourage people to embrace life in the metaverse, VR gaming, and going out with AR glasses on. Outside of the Quest, Meta hasn't had anything particularly impressive to show for it, but clearly $30 billion is a drop in the bucket for what it believes is the future.
Next month, Meta will hold a VR gaming show where it will show "over 40 minutes of content," for upcoming games, and maybe a peek at its next-gen Quest headset.