Meta’s metaverse losses hit $4.3 billion in fourth quarter of 2022

Tech giant Meta’s metaverse spending spree continues as the company’s Reality Labs division posted a fourth-quarter loss of $4.3 billion. 

Reality Labs is tasked with spearheading the company’s push into the metaverse with the development of virtual and augmented reality technologies. The division lost $13.7 billion for the entire year. 

While both figures are bigger than a year ago, they were both slightly better than analyst predictions that Meta’s Reality Labs would hemorrhage $4.4 billion during the fourth quarter and $13.8 billion for the year.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has remained steadfast in his dedication to pivot and invest heavily in metaverse technologies. Meta’s core business has long been dependent on advertising revenue generated from the billions of users that use its social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

The company’s Family of Apps division, which includes Facebook and Instagram, continues to be Meta’s strongest driver of profit, generating $10.7 billion of income during the fourth quarter. But that was a significant decline when compared to the $15.9 billion Meta earned during the same three-month period in 2021.

Despite the significant drop in profits for Meta’s app business, the division’s revenue clocked in at $31.4 billion for the fourth quarter. In contrast, Reality Labs brought in $727 million in revenue.

Improved expense outlook

Meta lowered its forecast for full-year 2023 expenses, saying they will be in the range of $89 billion-$95 billion. That’s down from a prior outlook of $94 billion-$100 billion, due to slower anticipated growth in payroll expenses and cost of revenue.

Zuckerberg has said his ambition to become a prime player in the emerging metaverse will likely cause Reality Labs to lose more than $10 billion annually for multiple years.

“Facebook just reached the milestone of 2 billion daily actives,” Zuckerberg said in a statement. “Our management theme for 2023 is the “Year of Efficiency’ and we’re focused on becoming a stronger and more nimble organization.”

The comments come after Meta laid off about 11,000 employees in an effort to cut costs. 

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