Report: Meta is doubling down on VR gaming and "retooling" headsets
April 20, 2023:
The second wave of layoffs hits employees of Oculus Studios and Meta's gaming division, see separate article on this.
Meta reportedly wants to focus more on games and is discussing how to get a major IP like "Call of Duty" or "Grand Theft Auto" into the Quest store.
Since the rebranding to Meta in October 2021, the sci-fi concept of the Metaverse has been the focus of interest at Meta. Now a rethinking seems to have taken place.
Business Insider reports, citing sources close to the company, that Mark Zuckerberg is now more interested in developing gaming for Quest headsets.
"Enthusiasm from Zuckerberg and other company executives around gaming has grown in recent months, two of the people added, while the founder and CEO's overall tone on the metaverse has become more subdued," Business Insider writes.
Meta now recognizes internally that traditional gaming is the most likely path to gaining financial ground with Reality Labs, one of the sources noted.
New layoffs loom, but teams focused on gaming are spared
The latest cuts are part of the second wave and are said to affect technical teams working on Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, as well as in Meta's Metaverse division, Reality Labs. "Many projects and teams" within the Facebook app and Reality Labs are expected to be dissolved, Business Insider reports, basing its findings on three people familiar with the matter. At the same time, budgets for projects and teams that produce "tangible results", like gaming, would remain the same or even increase, the sources added. Teams focused on gaming will be able to hire for some roles once layoffs conclude.
Quest headsets are being improved for gaming
The increased focus on gaming is also expected to impact the company's headsets. Some hardware elements are already in the process of being "retooled" to improve Quest headsets for gaming and developers, according to one of the sources. Could this be accompanied by technical changes to Meta Quest 3?
Meta is also discussing how to get a "major game" like "Call of Duty" or "Grand Theft Auto" into the Meta Quest Store. The company announced a VR port of GTA: San Andreas for Meta Quest in October 2021, but has since remained silent about the project.
Meta acquired eight VR game studios since late 2019, none of which have announced new VR games yet. It is expected that the launch of Meta Quest 3 later this year, will be accompanied by the launch of numerous first-party titles.
The Meta Quest Store, which consists mostly of games, has generated $1.5 billion in revenue between May 2019 and October 2022, while Meta's Metaverse app Horizon Worlds is having a lot of trouble getting traction with users.