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Mark Zuckerberg Still Bleeding Money on Metaverse

Bleeding Billions

For years, Facebook's parent company Meta has been bleeding billions of dollars in its efforts to build bulky headsets and half-baked VR experiences.

Between 2019 and 2022, the company spent a whopping $36 billion on its Reality Labs division, seemingly spearheaded by CEO Mark Zuckerberg's personal affinity for the technology.

Even several well-reviewed iterations of the company's Quest headset haven't been able to quell the bleeding. Between the beginning of 2022 and July 2023, the company has logged a loss of upwards of $21 billion on the project.

All told, the company has now lost $42 billion since the end of 2020.

In Q4 of last year, the company Reality Labs recorded just over $1 billion in revenue (Meta's total revenue was $40.1 billion) to reach a much-delayed milestone.

While that may sound like an important achievement, the company's metaverse division lost a whopping $4.6 billion that same quarter, an operating loss record.

In other words, Zuckerberg's cartoonish vision of a VR future is still a seemingly bottomless money pit.

Doubling Down

According to a recent analysis by research firm Circana, VR and AR headset sales and glasses dropped almost 40 percent in 2023.

Appetite for the technology, particularly among young users, has cratered. Whether Apple's recently announced Vision Pro headset will inject some much-needed enthusiasm remains to be seen, especially considering the device's eye-watering price tag of $3,500.

Despite its Reality Labs division still bleeding billions of dollars, investors are willing to stand by the CEO's leadership.

Other than his VR efforts, they have some good reason: Meta's stock climbed by more than 20 percent today following its earnings report, adding $200 billion in market cap. It's possibly the biggest surge in stock-market history, per Bloomberg.

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