Meta posts US$13.7 billion loss at Reality Labs but will keep investing in metaverse

Reality Labs' metaverse project is struggling to survive. Nevertheless, Mark Zuckerberg remains optimistic about the technology's future.

VR headset

Reality Labs, Meta's metaverse branch, is struggling to make ends meet. In 2022, the company incurred a loss of US$13.7 billion, according to ex-Facebook's report on fourth quarter and full year 2022 results. The revenue was far less impressive. Reality Labs brought in nearly $2.16 billion throughout the year and $727 million in the last quarter. The company is clearly worse off compared to the previous year's results, with a net loss higher by about $2.5 billion and revenue down by over a hundred million.

Meta's results
Source: Meta

Overall results don't look good either, albeit they're not as bad as in the metaverse section. Meta's yearly income from operations is down by 38% – from over $46.7 billion in 2021 to over $28.9 billion last year. Total revenue dropped by over one billion while costs and expenses spiked by 23%, reaching over $87.6 billion from slightly over $71 billion.

Limping business and unfruitful attempts at monetizing the metaverse don't discourage Mark Zuckerberg from putting on a brave face. "Our community continues to grow and I'm pleased with the strong engagement across our apps. Facebook just reached the milestone of 2 billion daily actives," said Meta founder and CEO. Zuckerberg is attributing the progress in the app department to Meta's AI discovery engine and Reels. Numbers shed a slightly different light on this narrative, though. The family of apps revenue is down by over one million year-on-year, with income down by over $14 billion.

It's a kind of a head-scratcher how Zuckerberg remains relentless in his push for the metaverse. At the December's New York Times DealBook Summit, Meta's CEO said he is optimistic about the future of the virtual world despite jeers from hecklers, estimating the project will work out in five to ten years.