Meta Going All In? Recent Metaverse Moves by Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg, the billionaire co-founder of the largest social media group is obsessed with the concept of the fully immersive experience of tomorrow, aka the Metaverse. This is his latest endeavor as he tries to stamp the status of Meta as an innovation-driven company.
Zuckerberg’s Big Libra Disaster
Meta (formerly Facebook) is perhaps the biggest player in the metaverse right now. Together with Web 3.0 tech commentators believe that this is the next iteration of the internet. Previously, he was interested in creating the digital currency standard of the future with the Libra project (later renamed Novi and then Diem). But, that initiative was a colossal failure for the company as governments around the world cracked down hard on it. The project scaled down massively and even just wanted to operate as a normal digital currency exchange wallet when it was rebranded as Diem. However, even that didn’t work.
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Zuckerberg Wants a Giant Slice from the Metaverse Pie
So, back to Zuckerberg; his colossal failure with digital currency has shaken his standing a little. He has put the digital currency aspirations aside and is now completely focused on the metaverse. He renamed the company Meta to give it an entirely new direction toward immersive technologies.
Latest Developments in the Metaverse Division
Over $3 Billion Spent on Metaverse Division
Zuckerberg’s metaverse group named the Reality Labs Division is currently one of the biggest budget groups within the larger company. But, it is also consuming resources like a hungry cookie monster.
According to the latest figures, the division has lost around $3 billion in the first three months of the year alone. While the sector overall is still being figured out, Zuckerberg isn’t afraid to throw big bucks at the developers and concept engineers working in the metaverse team.
But, he has now shown indications that he is willing to cut back on the heavy spending after a big first-quarter loss. That means the second quarter might see lesser losses than the first one. Zuckerberg has himself stated that the metaverse initiative is likely to continue to cost a lot of money to develop. Zuc wants a big slice of the metaverse pie and is not going to give up on the idea. He, however, will have to reconsider the pace of the project depending on the amount of resources he can muster.
Zuckerberg is still all-in on the important sector and is unlikely to give it up. He reportedly had to cut back on it after a disastrous end to 2021 and the start of 2022 for the company. At one time, Facebook had been losing 1 million users every week, but user numbers have improved in recent times. The latest step to cut back on these billions was probably for shareholder confidence rather than a genuine reconsideration by Zuc.
Meta Looking to Open the First Physical Hardware Store in California
Meta announced just this Monday that it was opening the first physical hardware store for its metaverse-related products. This is a big move from the company as it shows that its gadgets aren’t just high-end prototypes only.
The devices include the much-touted Virtual Reality (VR) headsets like the Quest 2 VR which is going to be trialed there for the first time and Portal, a video calling innovation that the company keeps promoting. The devices will also be available for purchase on the store. Another additional gadget is essentially a pair of smart glasses that the company developed in partnership with Rayban. That, however, will not be available for sale.
Meta’s new store will be opened on its Burlingame campus in California. This is a crucial market testing phase for the company as it plans to roll out new immersive technologies in the near future. Until now, most of the metaverse hardware and software was seen as a gimmick, just for laughs and not for actual sustained use by the masses. Maybe the new range of headsets and gadgets has a lot packed in them. We will have to wait and see.
Meta Unveils 47% Fees from Creators
Meta has recently suggested that it could charge up to 47% from creators as fees on its under-development content trading platform. This is true for the reportedly new NFT platform that the company is working on right now.
This move expectedly received flak from the creator community as well as commentators, journalists, and even other companies. Apple and Second Life slammed the suggested high fees. It is way higher than what any platform charges at the moment and it could be Meta’s downfall in the sector.
Meta is in a mixed situation right now as it is looking at its first store launch, yet at the same time, it has to cut back on its aggressive development because of the big Q1 losses. The platform also received a lot of flak because of the high reported fees associated with buying and selling digital content including reportedly NFTs.