Facebook burns $3 billion on virtual reality in a few months

Cartoon Mark Zuckerberg throws money and virtual reality headsets into a big fire.

picture: Kotaku / Shutterstock / Kevin Deitch (Getty Images)

A metafiction filled with digital worlds and avatars may come one day, but it won’t come cheap. Facebook’s parent company Meta has released its financial results for the first quarter of 2022 and shows that the company is this year alone Virtual RealityThe Focus Circle has lost $2.96 billion so far. This trend continues to run heavily in the red, with the division itself losing nearly $20 billion since 2020.

As I mentioned VentureBeatMeta released its financial results for the first quarter of 2022 yesterday and revealed that Reality Labs, the company’s group focused on virtual reality, only lost about $3 billion. During the same time period, the division generated just $695 million in revenue. Now, in most cases I wouldn’t say “just” before a disgustingly huge number like 695 million.

However, this is a drop in the bucket compared to what Mark Zuckerberg’s company has spent on virtual reality. In 2021 alone, Meta lost $10 billion through its VR business. In the same year, it brought revenue $2.3 billion, less than it lost in just the first quarter of this year. And remember, in 2020, Meta’s virtual reality division burned an additional $6 billion.

Today’s new numbers are not surprising. It’s not cheap to create virtual reality headsets or software. Meta and Facebook continue to spend a lot of money on advertising, research, and construction and development of virtual reality headsets, applications and social spaces. It has also hired more people to work in its virtual reality department Reported 17,000 employees As of 2022. So it makes sense that paying so many people to build something as expensive as our collective VR future would cost some money.

Photo of a man in his white apartment playing in virtual reality using Quest 2.

And the company’s main speaker Meta Quest 2 (Formerly known as Oculus Quest 2) great sale. But these new numbers show that virtual reality and metaverse It’s still an expensive project for Meta.

Notably, the Meta will be fine, even if it burns money building the VR-powered metaverse of tomorrow. The company’s total revenue in the first quarter For 2022, it exceeded $25 billion. Last year, it generated an astounding total revenue of $117 billion Across all sections and applications. So Zuck can keep spending all that money building his metaverse. (Hopefully it’s better than Mostly the boring and sterile world that exists today…)

Read more: 2021 saw a 31% increase in insurance claims related to VR

Of course, the question remains: Will virtual reality escape being a niche interest and niche market that takes billions of dollars to support year after year? Certainly, some companies like Valve and Sony have continued to show interest and invest in and build their own companies Virtual reality experiences and devices. But the future of virtual reality seems to be as a tool for accessing the metaverse, whatever (maybe) it ends up being.

Now I’m wondering, how many years and billions of dollars will it take to get to the metaverse, and we even do You want He. She? Zuckerberg and dead Billions of people are betting that the answer to this question is yes. But I’m not so sure.

Correction 04/28/2022 9:05 PM ET: We revised several statements to clarify this they point for the company Revenue, rather than profits.

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