These days, lots of people are ranting about how much Meta is spending on the #Metaverse. Yes, $25B per year is a LOT of money, but is it too much? What is too much anyway?
1. We think the "Metaverse" is misunderstood. Meta's investment (and that of Google, Apple and Microsoft) in the Metaverse is not just about building a virtual world where avatars dance under a shiny disco bowl but mostly about building the underlying hardware. Actually, 90% of this investment is about the latter and, more specifically, augmented reality hardware.
2. As users, we tend to believe the hardware is a given ...And all that matters are the cool apps delivering the experiences we enjoy on such hardware. Don’t forget that without the billions poured into silicons, touchscreen, cameras, etc., there would be no smartphones, no internet and most likely no start-ups like Wisear. Hiring the best engineers worldwide isn’t easy when you can’t find or reach them. It’s also difficult to launch something big without the online communication tools and to keep up with the latest cutting-edge research in a given field without the internet or a screen to read about it.
3. We need to compare "Apples to Apples" (Excuse the pun!) Apple supposedly spent $3.6B in R&D on the first iPhone. That might not seem like much when compared to $25B a year, but let’s have a look at the numbers in 2022:
- Apple iPhone = 50% of Apple Revenue
- Apple OpEx = $220 Bn / year
We’d be very surprised if Apple wasn't spending at least $25B per year on the development of the next iPhone. If we assume that AR glasses are the future of smartphones, then Meta’s major spending on “building the Metaverse” isn’t so absurd after all.
Finally, there's a bigger question around: "Do we need more devices? Do we need a new computing platform? Cannot we stick to our smartphones?".
This is debatable, our take is that this is the normal course of humanity to believe that what we have is enough and yet always enjoy upcoming technologies.
These DALL-E generated futuristic earphones are super cool, but they’d be even cooler if we could get them in 3D in front of our eyes.
Not too long ago, our grandparents would’ve never thought that we’d have a camera/map/credit card holder/health tracker in our pocket 24/7, in the form of a phone.
And yet, here we are.