The Metaverse

Can Meta Save Itself?

Opinion Piece (Updated 8 Nov 22)

Meta (principally led by MZ) has been making a lot of noise this past year around what they are planning for their Metaverse creation. We touched on a recent interview with Joe Rogan and summarised a few of their plans early in September. However, the question that is currently being bandied about is whether or not MZ has been spending too much time with his tech contemporaries and potentially losing touch with the general public? 

The BBC published an article highlighting the downward spiral of Meta’s shares since February, and its first quarterly revenue decline in July – with no new users being added in the US and Europe. Similarly, The Spectator showcased how failings in both tactical and strategic moves have chipped away at users and investors confidence in the company and their ability to innovate. MZ has shifted his focus away from the daily running of the company and seemingly putting all his energy into building the Meta version of the Metaverse. All this shifting is potentially resulting in a loss of core business focus and ultimately leading to a downsizing of business costs through large-scale staff layoffs, as reported in the Wall Street Journal on 6th Nov 22. The WSJ interviews (see the top of the WSJ article) with a few tech founders seems to indicate that they view the metaverse as a gaming platform that is unlikely to enter into the realm of the general public or business world. They believe the money MZ is investing in his version of the metaverse build is akin to the expenses one would pour into a ‘pet project’ and not a great business decision.

Every company has a lifecycle, and unless they are able to innovate regularly, and in the right areas, a company will either gradually (or very swiftly) find themselves on a rather sticky wicket. Although there are many potential benefits to the metaverse for businesses – it often takes a more ubiquitous use of new technology on a personal level, before it starts to infiltrate the professional realm. 

Is Meta investing too much focus and resources in metaverse technology? There is always risk in developing new technology, and much hype has already been generated by this new potential as having a high future return on investments. Is the metaverse something that will enhance consumers lives to the degree that they will buy into it? Or, are consumers starting to see some of the negative mental health consequences of too little time spent face-to-face with others and too much time with virtual others – and potentially, therefore pulling back on past and current levels of tech use? 

You can read a PDF of the articles by clicking on these links to the BBC article PDF or Spectator article PDF.