Zuckerberg's big Metaverse bet: Why it's all or nothing for Meta
The stakes are high for the VR industry, and Zuckerberg has no choice but to go all in. Because no one else will.
Recently, there has been speculation that Zuckerberg is pivoting away from the Metaverse and investing more in AI instead. A notion that, as I explained in an article, is premature and based on false assumptions.
But what if Metaverse's CEO really did decide to make radical cuts in this area and question his company's grand vision for the future?
Investors looking for short-term gains would cheer, sending Meta's stock even higher. For the VR industry, however, such a move would be disastrous.
Playing for time
Zuckerberg knows it's all or nothing, and there's no middle ground for him. To invest half-heartedly in the technology and the industry like many other companies, or even to show weakness, would mean to abandon it. And why? Because the most important players would leave: the developers.
These people are taking big risks developing this kind of content, and making Meta's VR platform attractive to consumers in the first place. Why continue to invest money and time in a platform that not even the platform holder believes in?
Zuckerberg's influence extends so far that his mere commitment to the Metaverse creates a reality in which VR can thrive. And a mass hypnosis whose repeated mantra is: The best is yet to come, it just takes time.
Meta doesn't have to pivot (yet)
With even a partial withdrawal of Meta, not only could the developer community disappear, but many companies would likely abandon what little they have invested or plan to invest in the Metaverse.
I see a lot of companies that seem to be investing in VR just because Meta is, and even with Apple, I'm uncertain if they really believe in their mixed reality headset or if they're just working on it because they want to have something up their sleeve to compete with Meta. Just in case Zuckerberg is right in the end. If Meta really does raise doubts about the Metaverse, then a domino effect can be expected for these reasons.
However, it is too early for such doubts. For now, Meta has enough capital to push ahead with technology and software development. The critical moment will come when Meta's AR glasses are released and consumers decide on its success. There is a lot riding on this product, and it is fair to ask if VR is just a means to an end to get there faster.