Mark Zuckerberg envisages billions of people spending in the metaverse

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said he believes the metaverse could be a large part of his social network platform‘s business in the second half of the decade.

“We hope to basically get to around a billion people in the metaverse doing hundreds of dollars of commerce, each buying digital goods, digital content, different things to express themselves, so whether that’s clothing for their avatar or different digital goods for their virtual home or things to decorate their virtual conference room, utilities to be able to be more productive in virtual and augmented reality and across the metaverse overall,” he told CNBC.

Meta’s market capitalisation has fallen by half this year as news of its active user base declined substantially for the first time in the company’s history.

Zuckerberg has since pushed his metaverse vision hard, envisaging billions of people around then world spending hundreds of dollars each in the virtual world.

In order for users to enter into the metaverse, they must own a VR headset, which Meta sells at a price of $299.

Shipments of Meta’s Oculus Quest headsets have failed to outnumber shipments of PCs or smartphones, however Zuckerberg remains optimistic about the product.

“Quest 2 has been a hit,” Zuckerberg told CNBC.

“I’ve been really happy with how that’s gone. It has exceeded my expectations. But I still think it’s going to take a while for it to get to the scale of several hundreds of millions or even billions of people in the metaverse, just because things take some time to get there.

“So that’s the north star. I think we will get there. But, you know, the other services that we run are at a somewhat larger scale already today.”

The tech guru believes the metaverse has the potential to be more immersive than text, photos and videos.

In order to pull off the vision, Meta will need to release a suite of software and hardware.

“We are at this point, you know, a company that can afford to make some big long-term research investments, and this is a big focus,” Zuckerberg said.

He expects the economy around the metaverse to be massive.

“You know, our playbook over time has been build services, try to serve as many people as possible — you know, get our services to a billion, two billion, three billion people, and then we basically scale the monetization after that.

“And we’ve done that with Facebook and Instagram. WhatsApp is really going to be the next chapter, with business messaging and commerce being a big thing there.”

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