Meta’s metaverse unit – Reality Labs – recorded its most successful quarter to date despite sustaining significant financial losses.
Its recently released Q4 report revealed that the division clocked over $1 billion in revenue in the last quarter of 2023, primarily driven by sales of its Quest headsets and the Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses.
Reality Labs Breaks Revenue Records
Although surpassing the $1 billion revenue mark marks a significant achievement for Meta’s Reality Labs, the group is expected to continue incurring substantial losses in the coming periods. The metaverse-focused division reported a loss of $4.65 billion for the quarter and a total loss exceeding $16 billion in 2023.
This marks the division’s largest quarterly operating loss since the fourth quarter of 2020, when Meta initially incorporated Reality Labs’ financials into its reporting.
Reality Labs’ total revenues for 2023 amounted to slightly below $1.9 billion, with over half of the annual numbers generated in the fourth quarter following the release of the Meta Quest 3. The total operating loss for 2023 reached $16.1 billion, reflecting a 17.5% year-on-year increase compared to 2022.
Reiterating Meta’s previous stance, the company’s Chief Financial Officer, Susan Li, indicated that these losses are projected to rise significantly compared to the previous year, citing the continuous product development initiatives in augmented reality/virtual reality as well as its investments aimed at expanding its metaverse ecosystem.
“We expect operating losses to increase meaningfully year-over-year due to our ongoing product development efforts in augmented reality/virtual reality and our investments to further scale our ecosystem.”
AI, Metaverse Key to Meta’s Long-Term Strategy
During an earnings call, Meta’s founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, attributed Reality Labs’ revenues to a “strong holiday season” for its line of VR headsets, particularly highlighting the solid initial performance of the latest Quest 3.
He emphasized that the company’s AI and metaverse strategies are integral components of its long-term vision and added that Meta intends to maintain significant investment in both areas.
Despite prominent players such as Disney shifting their focus away from metaverse plans last year, Meta seems steadfast in its commitment to its metaverse strategy with Reality Labs. Zuckerberg even referred to the metaverse as the “next frontier” and the “successor to the mobile internet,” indicating a strong belief in its potential. Despite criticism from some key players regarding Meta’s goals being deemed “unrealistic,” the exec appears undeterred in his vision.
Currently, the primary focus of Reality Labs is the Quest family of VR headsets. Its Quest app, on the other hand, topped the list as the most downloaded app in Apple’s App Store on Christmas Day.
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