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Metaverse Division’s $4B Loss Drags on Positive First Quarter for Meta

In what was generally a strong first quarter for the Mark Zuckerberg-led social media juggernaut, Meta experienced a nearly $4 billion loss from its metaverse venture with Reality Labs. While the $4 billion loss followed a $14 billion loss in 2022, Zuckerberg stated in the earnings report that Reality Labs would most certainly incur additional losses throughout the rest of 2023.

“We continue to expect Reality Labs operating losses to rise year over year in 2023,” Zuckerberg stated. Reality Labs’ losses, however, were offset by the company’s advancements in its artificial intelligence division, according to the CEO.

“Our AI efforts yield positive results across our apps and business.” We’re also getting more efficient to produce better goods faster and be better positioned to deliver on our long-term vision.”

While Zuckerberg recently referred to AI as the company’s “single largest investment,” he also stated that Meta’s metaverse goals remain a major priority. “A narrative has developed that we’re somehow shifting away from focusing on the metaverse vision,” he said, adding, “We’ve been focusing on both AI and the metaverse for years now, and we will continue to focus on both.”

Furthermore, Zuckerberg stated that metaverse technology will aid its AI visions and vice versa. “Metaverse technology will also aid in the delivery of AI.” For example, immersing AI agents will benefit from our significant investment in Avatars over the previous many years.”

In a Feb. 28 Facebook post, Zuckerberg noted that the company is developing a suite of creative and expressive tools to help “turbocharge” the efficiencies of some of its existing products: “Over the longer term, we’ll focus on developing AI personas that can help people in a variety of ways.” We’re looking into text-based experiences (like chat in WhatsApp and Messenger), image-based experiences (like creative Instagram effects and ad formats), and video and multi-modal experiences.”

Despite this, Zuckerberg remarked that the company has “a lot of foundational work to do” before it can give “really futuristic experiences” to its users. Following announcing a better-than-expected first quarter, Meta shares rose 11.7% after hours.


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