Meta’s VR Division Faces Mounting Losses as Quest 3 Sales Soar
Meta’s VR division, known as Reality Labs, is experiencing significant losses despite the soaring sales of the Quest 3 virtual reality headset. The company has invested billions of dollars in developing advanced VR hardware and augmented reality (AR) glasses, resulting in substantial financial setbacks. During the recent Meta earnings call, it was revealed that operating losses for Reality Labs are expected to increase substantially year-over-year. The division has already reported losses amounting to $11.47 billion in 2023 and expects even higher losses in the following year.
While Meta as a whole has a thriving business, thanks to its advertising ventures, the popularity of features like Reels, advancements in AI technology, and recent mass layoffs, it is clear that the success of the Quest 3 and potential future models heavily relies on other segments subsidizing the VR division. This sheds light on the challenges faced by other companies attempting to compete with Meta in the wireless VR headset market.
One such company, Pico, recently had to address rumors about potentially shutting down its VR business due to the difficulties in generating profits, even with a popular VR headset in China. The decision to allocate resources towards headsets that struggle to be financially viable poses a dilemma for companies like Pico.
Amidst these developments, interesting features and updates related to the Quest 3 have emerged. Nima Zeighami, creator of Within’s AR Wonderscope app, unveiled a hidden capability of the Quest 3: the ability to take 3D photographs. This feature requires the installation of the Quest Games Optimizer through sideloading, showcasing the device’s potential for photography with its powerful passthrough resolution.
In addition to these revelations, there have been noteworthy updates in the VR and XR space. Steam announced a platform update that introduces various improvements, including a redesigned user interface, integrated Steam and Voice Chat, enhanced notifications, and changes to the storefront. Meanwhile, the Meta Quest 3 received the v59 update, which addresses battery life concerns by introducing a Battery Saver mode that optimizes graphics settings to conserve power.
Another significant development is the continued commitment of Google to its Iris AR/VR glasses, as evidenced by a recent code hinting at the accessibility of Google Assistant through a touch and hold gesture. This suggests that Google still sees a future for smart glasses and aims to incorporate its voice assistant technology into its upcoming eyewear. Additionally, Xreal (formerly Nreal) announced the release of its Air 2 and Air 2 Pro AR glasses, which offer high-quality streaming and gaming experiences.
On the gaming front, The 7th Guest VR, a remake of the 1992 FMV classic, has captured attention with its spooky atmosphere and challenging puzzles, despite some reported bugs. Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghost Lord also promises an immersive experience with its mix of single-player and co-op gameplay, as well as a mixed-reality mode that allows players to fight off iconic characters like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man in their own living rooms.
These developments highlight the continuous advancements in the VR and XR industries, with hardware and software becoming more sophisticated. However, the financial challenges faced by companies like Meta’s VR division underscore the difficulties of generating profits in this space. As the market evolves and competition increases, it remains to be seen how VR companies will navigate the path to financial success while delivering immersive and groundbreaking experiences for users.