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Zuckerberg Denies Abandoning Metaverse Despite $4B Q1 Loss

AI and the metaverse remain priorities, second wave of redundancies underway and new VR hardware later this year

Image source: Facebook

Despite reports claiming that the rise of AI has killed the metaverse, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the Facebook parent company is still prioritising its metaverse ambitions. This is despite the fact that the company’s VR and AR division Reality Labs lost in the region of $4 billion last quarter as seen in Meta’s first quarter financial reports for 2023.

According to Zuckerberg, “A narrative has developed that we’re somehow moving away from focusing on the metaverse vision. So I just want to say upfront that, that’s not accurate. We’ve been focusing on both AI and the Metaverse for years now, and we will continue to focus on both.”

The recent AI boom

Many, if not all, behemoth tech giants have been trying to leverage AI in some way since the start of 2023. Recent statements from Zuckerberg, other Meta executives and even the launch of LLAMA, led some news outlets to report that the tech firm could be shifting its focus towards AI and moving away from its metaverse ambitions.

However, the Meta CEO says otherwise as he believes that, “Building the metaverse is a long-term project, but the rationale for it remains the same and we remain committed to it.

“The goals of our efficiency work are to make us a stronger technology company that builds better products faster, and to improve our financial performance to give us the space in a difficult environment to execute our ambitious long-term vision,” said Zuckerberg.

The company also expects Reality Labs’ losses to increase through 2023. And that it expected a capital expenditure between $30 billion and $33 billion for the year. This is due to the company’s increased investment in generative AI projects and its efforts to enhance its AI capabilities to back up ads, Feed, and Reels.

More layoffs underway

The number of people who have lost their jobs so far is already something to remember in 2023 – 10,000 this year, 11,000 in 2022 – and the layoffs aren’t looking to end anytime soon.

“So far we’ve gone through two of the three waves of restructuring and layoffs that we had planned for this year — in our recruiting and technical groups. In May we’re going to carry out our third wave across our business groups,” said Zuckerberg.

After acknowledging that the layoffs have been a difficult process, the CEO said, “I expect us to focus on improving our distributed work model, delivering AI tools to improve productivity, and removing unnecessary processes across the company.”

Zuckerberg adds that Meta has two technological waves driving its roadmap which is AI and the metaverse and that, “The next milestone is that we’re gearing up to launch our next generation consumer virtual and mixed reality device later this year.

“We have incredibly exciting opportunities ahead in our family of apps, AI and the metaverse. I’m confident that our efficiency work will improve our ability to execute on all of this.”

Written By

Isa Muhammad is a writer and video game journalist covering many aspects of entertainment media including the film industry. He's steadily writing his way to the sharp end of journalism and enjoys staying informed. If he's not reading, playing video games or catching up on his favourite TV series, then he's probably writing about them.

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