Meta launched its Quest 3 VR headset with enhanced features and a game library. Notably, it omitted any mention of its metaverse platform, Horizon Worlds, suggesting a shift away from the metaverse.
The new headset boasts many new features, including higher resolution displays and a 40% slimmer optic profile. The new kit comes with over 500 game titles and will launch in Fall 2023 for $499. However, conspicuously lacking is any mention of Horizon Worlds, Meta’s metaverse, and why the company rebranded from Facebook in late 2021.
Is Meta Ditching the Metaverse?
There is no mention of Horizon Worlds during the entire promotional YouTube video and the announcement on its website. Strange? Maybe not.
Earlier this year, the tech giant announced that it would reduce its workforce by 10,000, accounting for 13% of its employees. The “Update on Meta’s Year of Efficiency” came with a list of meaningless platitudes and retroactive justifications for the layoffs, including subheadings with ‘Flatter is faster’ and ‘Leaner is better.’
But, the message was clear: the company was pivoting away from its Metaverse-side project.
Reality Labs, the company’s metaverse division, posted a $3.99 billion operating loss in April this year. Instead of virtual worlds, Meta has a new favorite tech bandwagon.
Zuckerberg has said that AI is “literally going to touch every single one of our products.”
However, the response online to the Meta Quest 3’s announcement seems generally positive. The commenters are focused on its improvement as a Meta VR Headset for gaming. Not as a gateway into Meta’s proprietary online world.
Interest in the Virtual World Faces Long-Term Decline
Perhaps it is unsurprising that Meta and Zuckerberg have moved away from the metaverse. Interest in the metaverse has plummeted by 91% since it peaked in January 2022, according to Google Trends.
Interest is nearly as low as in the days before Facebook rebranded as Meta. At the time, the rebrand caused excitement about the technology and a massive pump for metaverse tokes.
In crypto, interest in metaverse tokens is also on the long-term decline. MANA, Decentraland’s token, is down 20% over the last 90 days and 9.7% over the last 30. SAND, the token of The Sandbox metaverse, is down 13% and 1% over the same periods.
Likewise, metaverse land in platforms like Otherdeeds, The Sandbox, Decentraland, Somnium, and Voxels have experienced substantial value depreciation of over 90% in the past year, according to a CoinGecko report.
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