- Meta’s chief product officer said the metaverse will one day become as important as the smartphone.
- Speaking at a Davos panel on Wednesday, Chris Cox discussed Meta’s vision for the metaverse.
- Meta has focused heavily on its Reality Labs division in recent years, making heavy losses.
Meta’s chief product officer Chris Cox said he believes the metaverse will one day become as essential as smartphones during a panel about the technology at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday.
Cox said Meta believes that “one day that computing platform will be as important as the smartphone has become in our lifetimes.”
Cox explained that the tech giant had spent the last eight years trying to build a virtual reality product line that is affordable, accessible, and impressive enough for users to incorporate into social experiences, fitness, gaming, medicine, drug development, and to design sneakers and cars.
Cox pointed out that one of the problems with the metaverse at present is its current lack of interoperability with other platforms.
“I think the Internet is a very good way of thinking about the metaverse, because some parts of the Internet are very coherent with each other,” Cox said at the panel, noting out how easy it is to switch from app to app like Instagram to Google Maps without confusion.
He said this interoperability “doesn’t exist yet for the metaverse.”
The panel was hosted by Atlantic CEO Nicholas Thompson and included author and creator of the term metaverse Neal Stephenson; CEO of HP Enrique Lores, and Paula Ingabire, Minister of ICT and Innovation in Rwanda.
Meta lost $10 billion on Reality Lab — the division focusing on building the metaverse — in 2021 and more than $9 billion in 2022. But CEO Mark Zuckerberg doubled down on his commitment to the metaverse and said spending on Reality Labs is only set to increase throughout 2023, despite mass layoffs at the company late last year.
Some Meta employees are unhappy with the company’s metaverse focus, Insider reported in 2022. It is the “only thing Mark wants to talk about,” one director level employee told Insider in April.
“It’s basically fomenting disorganization and anxiety,” an employee told Insider at the time. “People don’t really seem to know what to deliver or what to work on because there is still no coherent strategy.”