Mark Zuckerberg showcases impressive advancements in realistic 3D avatars during a video interview in cyberspace. However, it remains uncertain whether this technology can rescue the Metaverse as Meta reported a loss of $3.74 billion in its Reality Labs division in the third quarter of this year. Mark Zuckerberg’s approach to the significant financial losses was to reduce employee numbers in the research units responsible for virtual reality and augmented reality software and hardware.
Interdisciplinary experts at this institution are responsible for developing tools for virtual reality, such as the Meta Quest headset and Spark AR Studio – which is a programming kit provided by Facebook for augmented reality projects – and also researching frontiers in artificial intelligence and machine learning. The number of professionals who have recently been laid off is unclear, but Meta has cut approximately 21,000 jobs since November 2022.
The significant reduction in jobs aims to assure investors of Reality Lab’s cost efficiency despite the declining revenue. Nonetheless, with the business and research unit sustaining losses amounting to $21.3 billion since August 2022, investors may have limited confidence. Moreover, some users have criticised the company’s VR experiences and headsets for being half-baked and bulky.
The first interview in the Metaverse
Last year, Meta gave away the pricier Quest Pro headset valued at $1,500 to all attendees at the Roblox RDC23 conference. Only time will tell whether the Quest 3 at $500 will be any better. VR fans on YouTube, Twitter (X) and Reddit have expressed dissatisfaction with the headphones’ lacking audio capabilities, which Meta is expected to address.
Recently, there have been noteworthy technological advances including the “first interview in the Metaverse” as referred to by podcaster Lex Fridman. The lifelike avatars are generated utilizing software incorporating 3D modelling, complete facial and full-body scans. In the clip below, Zuckerberg´s and Fridman’s hyper-realistic 3D avatars are featured. They impress with their distinct facial expressions and spatial audio.