Meta’s Reality Labs loses record $4.65 billion in Q4

by Jonathan Adams
Metaverse casino

In its fourth-quarter earnings report, Meta said its Reality Labs unit recorded an operating loss in the period of $4.65 billion

Meta continues to invest billions of dollars a quarter into developing the metaverse, and is just now facing its first competitive threat from Apple.

In its Q4 earnings report Thursday, Meta said its Reality Labs unit recorded an operating loss in the period of $4.65 billion. Analysts were expecting a loss of $4.26 billion, as per StreetAccount.

The metaverse division has now lost over $42 billion since the end of 2020, the first quarter for which numbers are available publicly. The fourth-quarter loss was its biggest yet.

We expect operating losses to rise meaningfully year-over-year because of our ongoing product development efforts in augmented reality/virtual reality  and our investments to further scale our ecosystem, the company stated in its earnings statement.

Revenue within Reality Labs was over $1 billion in Q4, up from $727 million during the same period a year earlier. Analysts polled by StreetAccount were expecting revenue of $768.2 million. Meta debuted its Quest 3 VR headset last fall.

Reality Labs develops the virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies underpinning the metaverse, which Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has called the “next frontier” and the “successor to the mobile internet.” The current centerpiece for the business is the Quest family of VR headsets.

As Meta invests money into the metaverse, Apple is hitting the market with its first headset. Apple’s Vision Pro goes on sale Friday and will cost $3,500, significantly more than Meta’s Quest 3 VR headset, which has a starting price of $500.

Sales of VR and AR headsets and glasses declined nearly 40% in 2023 to $664 million in 2023, as of November 25, as per research firm Circana. An analyst at Circana told CNBC that the sharp decline was likely due to a lack of new stand-alone VR headsets.

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