Meta CEO Says It Expects One Billion People to Be in The Metaverse by 20230

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In a recent interview with Jim Cramer of Mad Money fame, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg opined on various metaverse-related topics. As we all know, the metaverse is seen by the company as the next big thing in computing. So big, in fact, that it changed its name from Facebook to reflect its pivot towards virtual worlds. In the discussion Zuckerberg  addressed how he envisions many aspects of the technology’s future.

In the interview, Zuck revealed Meta’s lofty ambitions. He said he hopes there will be at least a billion people in the metaverse by the end of the decade. In addition, he thinks each of those people will be spending hundreds of dollars a year on digital bobbles. He estimated people will be “buying digital goods, digital content, different things to express themselves,” he said. These digital goods could also include avatar clothes, virtual home decorations, or items to adorn a virtual conference room. Doing the math, this means Mark thinks his company will be pulling in hundreds of billions of dollars in metaverse revenue eventually. That’s several factors beyond its current annual revenue, which is around $117 billion. Still, 2030 is a long ways away, so anything is possible.

Overall, Zuckerberg thinks the metaverse will eventually have a “massive economy,” especially for creators. This is a rich comment coming from him, as the company recently came under fire for its surprisingly high commissions on sales of user-generated content in Horizon Worlds. The company announced it would be taking a 47.5 percent cut of all sales in the game. The fee is so egregious Tim Cook from Apple called Zuckerberg a hypocrite in a rare public rebuke. As far as when this economy will arrive, it seems like it might take awhile. Zuckerberg said the metaverse will follow the same trajectory as Facebook and Instagram. By that he means it wants there to be a billion or two users on the platform before it “scales monetization.”

Elsewhere in the discussion, Zuckerberg said the company might need to build an operating system for the metaverse. According to BusinessInsider, he said, “I think over the long term, we will need this level of integration between hardware and software and an operating system, just to deliver on what we want to build.” Facebook/Meta has never built an operating system, though he’s probably right that it will need to figure out how to do that. Apple is also reportedly working on a similar venture dubbed rOS for Reality Operating System. The two companies are anticipated to become head-to-head competitors, pardon the pun, when Apple eventually releases its virtual reality (VR) headset.

This is just the latest in PR blitz by Zuckerberg to create some hype for the metaverse. Earlier this week he demonstrated some of the futuristic designs it’s working on for next-gen VR hardware. None of the prototypes he displayed are anywhere close to coming to market, much like the metaverse itself. Still, it’s interesting to see what the future could hold for a head-mounted display. Also, if Zuckerberg’s ambitions are realized, it would mark a massive turnaround for its VR division. Known as Reality Labs, it’s been a money pit the company keeps shoveling ad dollars into. The division reportedly lost $10 billion last year, with $3 billion of that in the fourth quarter alone.

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