Meta, the parent company of Facebook, is reportedly planning staff reductions within its Reality Labs division, which is driving the development of its metaverse initiatives. According to sources, employees were notified of the impending layoffs through a post on Meta's internal discussion forum, Workplace, on Wednesday (US time).
The layoffs are expected to affect the silicon unit known as Facebook Agile Silicon Team (FAST), which currently employs approximately 600 people. This move could potentially impact Meta's ambitious plans in the augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) space, which are central to Mark Zuckerberg's vision.
Meta has committed to a substantial investment of $10 billion in its metaverse endeavours over the coming years. However, the company has faced challenges in producing chips for its AR-VR headsets that can compete with those from third-party providers.
In 2022, Meta (formerly Facebook) reported staggering operating losses of $13.7 billion for its Reality Labs division, dealing a significant blow to its AR-VR and metaverse aspirations. Within the Reality Labs segment, Q4 revenue was $727 million, reflecting a 17% decline primarily attributed to reduced sales of Quest 2.
Despite Mark Zuckerberg's announcement of the metaverse project over a year ago, internal documents have revealed struggles with technical glitches, disinterest from users, and a lack of clarity regarding the path to success.
In October of the previous year, an influential long-term investor in Meta expressed the need for the company to curtail excessive spending on the metaverse to regain its competitive edge.
Brad Gerstner, Chair and CEO of Altimeter Capital, commented on the confusion surrounding the metaverse concept, emphasizing the need for greater clarity and understanding.
Meta has been streamlining its workforce, having eliminated nearly 21,000 jobs across various sectors since the previous year.
In late September, Meta introduced its latest mixed reality (MR) headset, the Quest 3, boasting a 30% improvement in visual resolution and a 40% increase in audio range compared to the Quest 2.
Inputs from IANS