Meta has already spent billions of dollars on betting that the metaverse will be the next paradigm shift in consumer technology. The company’s latest quarterly report revealed that its metaverse division, Reality Labs, lost roughly $3 billion, stunting the tech giant’s overall revenue growth.
The metaverse was recently named as one of the top five emerging trends of 2022, with global spending expected to rise from $12 billion in 2020 to $72.8 billion in 2024. Microsoft, Roblox and Epic Games are among the companies making substantial investments into the technology, though mainstream interest remains muted.
A consumer survey from November 2021 found that more than two thirds of Americans were uninterested in Meta’s metaverse vision.
Speaking to CNBC on Wednesday, Mr Zuckerberg claimed that the metaverse will be the biggest part of Meta’s business in the future.
“We hope to basically get to around a billion people in the metaverse doing hundreds of dollars of commerce, each buying digital goods, digital content, different things to express themselves,” the CEO of Meta (formerly Facebook) said.
“So whether that’s clothing for their avatar or different digital goods for their virtual home or things to decorate their virtual conference room, utilities to be able to be more productive in virtual and augmented reality and across the metaverse overall.”
In a separate post to Facebook, Mr Zuckerberg gave more details about the new Meta Pay digital wallet that will be used to facilitate this virtual commerce.
Formerly known as Facebook Pay, Meta Pay already serves users of Meta-owned platforms – including Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp – by allowing them to send, receive and donate money.
In the future, Meta Pay will let people secure their identity within the metaverse and buy digital items and experiences, such as VR concerts and events.
“Ideally, you should be able to sign into any metaverse experience and everything you’ve bought should be right there,” Mr Zuckerberg wrote.
“There’s a long way to get there, but this kind of interoperability will deliver much better experiences for people and larger opportunities for creators. That is, the more places you can easily use your digital goods, the more you’ll value them, which creates a bigger market for creators.”