Mark Zuckerberg has a message to all his metaverse critics out there: He doesn’t care what you think. Not only is he not cutting back on augmented and virtual reality investments to take account of the economic slump, he plans to spend even more money! In reporting third-quarter earnings Wednesday, Facebook owner Meta Platforms—showing a stunning 4% drop in revenue—revealed that losses at the Reality Labs division developing AR and VR gear for the futuristic metaverse jumped 31% from the second quarter.
That puts the annualized metaverse investment at nearly $15 billion, well above the $10 billion annual figure the company had previously given. Moreover, the losses will “grow significantly” next year, Meta said. And that’s just part of a continued ramp-up in investment spending at Meta. Executives projected that overall operating expenses will grow next year by around 14%. Capital expenditure meanwhile will also rise. That’s partly due to the metaverse investments but it’s also due to spending on artificial intelligence, which fuels all sorts of services, including the company’s TikTok rival Reels, as well as spending on advertising and business messaging tech. Meta executives say they’re becoming more careful about their expenditures, but you can’t really see it in the numbers.