Meta Platforms Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg demonstrates Meta Quest Pro during the Meta Connect virtual event in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, October 11, 2022.
Michael Nagel | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Critics and tech pundits weren’t the only ones disillusioned with it Meta‘s new $1,500 virtual reality headset. So was Mark Zuckerberg himself.
In an interview published Tuesday with The Verge, Zuckerberg said VR, the technology he bet his entire $340 billion company on a year ago, is “reaching the valley of disenchantment.” It’s a term people in the tech industry like to use when excitement around a new technology drastically wanes.
His comments effectively set near-zero expectations for the success of the new Meta Quest Pro, which goes on sale October 25th. At the same time, Zuckerberg reiterated his belief that the Metaverse will be the next iteration of computing after the smartphone — it’ll just be a long time coming. Specifically, he told The Verge “it won’t be until the end of this decade” when Metaverse gadgets like the Quest Pro will be “fully mature.”
But Meta stopped selling headsets later in the decade. It’s selling them now, expecting technologists and software developers to come up with compelling reasons to buy a device.
That was the biggest takeaway from Meta’s event on Tuesday — not the hardware and what it can do, but the lack of compelling software and use cases that make you feel like you need to buy one. If this was to be Meta’s “iPhone moment,” it wasn’t enough.
And remember, this is all happening as Meta’s main business through the Facebook and Instagram apps, and it’s facing crushing headwinds. Users leave Facebook. Reels, Meta’s TikTok competitor, is struggling to make money from ads, despite low engagement, the Wall Street Journal reported last week. apples Recent privacy updates made it difficult for Meta to target ads to iPhone users. The stock is down a whopping 60% so far this year.
Meanwhile, Meta loses at least $10 billion each year trying to launch the Metaverse, as Zuckerberg himself warns of waning interest in the concept.
Yes, it’s possible that Zuckerberg will be right by the end of the decade or sometime in the 2030s. But it’s 2022, and the company still has a lot of current issues to deal with before then.
In a note to meta-investors Wednesday morning, Needham analysts praised Zuckerberg’s risky ambitions for the Metaverse, but also emphasized the importance of assessing where the company is today.
“Our job is to make stock purchases,” the Needham analysts said, later adding, “We admire Mark Zuckerberg’s commitment to vision in the face of overwhelming opportunity. Meta is ready to make big bets that could change the world for 2 billion consumers, or create an epic failure.”
WATCH: Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveils the $1,500 Meta Quest Pro mixed reality headset