Big tech

Meta spent $12.5 billion (and lost $10.2 billion) on mixed reality projects last year

But it still made $46 billion in profit overall, thanks to its money-printing advertising business.
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Francis Scialabba

· less than 3 min read

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For the first time, formerly-Facebook-now-Meta broke out the financials of Reality Labs, its AR/VR—metaverse, if you please—division.

It ain’t pretty…But 1) no one expected it to be and 2) with ~$57 billion in annual profit from its “family of apps” alone, Meta can afford some financial ugliness.

  • Reality Labs generated ~$2.3 billion in revenue last year, double the ~$1.1 billion it made in 2020. The jump is mostly because it sold more of its Oculus VR headsets.
  • But it spent ~$12.5 billion in 2021, and ~$7.8 billion in 2020.
  • In sum: Reality Labs lost $10.2 billion last year, and $6.6 billion in 2020.

These losses are primarily driven by Reality Labs’s adding a ton of staff—it had nearly 10,000 employees in the division as of last March, and has announced plans to hire another 10,000 to work on metaverse projects in the EU.

  • Employees across the company are reportedly being encouraged to apply for open gigs at Reality Labs, if they want to build a career at Meta. Not all of them are pleased about this, according to the New York Times.

Looking ahead…Facebook wrote that it expects to further increase its investment in Reality Labs in “future periods.” In other words: It will spend at least another $10 billion on the metaverse this year.

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