Meta’s Reality Labs Had Its Best Quarter Yet, But is Still a Money Pit

Meta Spatial Video

Meta’s Reality Labs, the division responsible for its virtual reality endeavors, had its best quarter ever, but still lost more than $4 billion.

Despite generating $1 billion in revenue, the virtual reality-based division lost $4.6 billion in the quarter, continuing its money-losing streak. In fact, the division lost more than $16 billion in 2023 Engadget reports, a trend that stretches back to the inception of Reality Labs.

Even though the division did manage to generate revenue, it still managed to lose more last quarter than it did in years past. For example, in 2022, the division lost $2.8 billion in one quarter, which was considered catastrophic at the time. But even as this division has never made Meta any money and continues to cost the company tens of billions of dollars, Meta continues to be dedicated to it.

“We had a good quarter as our community and business continue to grow,” Mark Zuckerberg, Meta founder and CEO, says. “We’ve made a lot of progress on our vision for advancing AI and the metaverse.”

2023 was labeled the “year of efficiency” by Zuckerberg, a statement made after the company laid off more than 10,000 employees.

“This was a pivotal year for our company. We increased our operating discipline, delivered strong execution across our product priorities, and improved advertising performance for the businesses who rely on our services,” the company says in a public release about the latest earnings report.

“We will look to build on our progress in each of those areas in 2024 while advancing our ambitious, longer-term efforts in AI and Reality Labs.”

With Apple’s entry into the virtual reality space with the Vision Pro (although the company would prefer to call the it a “spatial computing” device), Meta may face additional pressure to innovate and improve its line of virtual reality headsets.

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Apple’s idea of the augmented reality and virtual reality space involves spatial video, the ability to play a video window in an augmented reality or virtual space. Meta’s headsets didn’t allow this previously, but yesterday the company added support for spatial video and pinch controls to the Quest in a bid to more strongly compete with Apple’s new headset.

Beyond Reality Labs, Meta overall had a good quarter and reported a revenue of $40.1 billion, capping the year at $135 billion.

Image credits: Meta