It has been almost two years since Facebook renamed itself Meta and refashioned itself as a metaverse company. At the time, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg presented an image of himself fencing with a hologram, a taste of what was to come in the metaverse’s future.
In mid-2023, Zuckerberg’s vision of the netaverse hasn’t come to pass. In a statement last November, Zuckerberg described the metaverse as a “high-priority growth area,” but this March he noted that “advancing AI” was the company’s “single largest investment.”
Rather than shifting his focus, Zuckerberg defended his concentration on AI and the metaverse. “A narrative has developed that we’re somehow moving away from focusing on the metaverse vision, so I just want to say upfront that that’s not accurate. We’ve been focusing on AI and the metaverse for years now, and we will continue to focus on both … Building the metaverse is a long-term project, but the rationale for it remains the same and we remain committed to it.”
While Meta maintains its dual focus, some are counting on Apple to revive the metaverse talk. Apple, however, has wavered in its support of its mixed-reality headset, the $3,500 Vision Pro. A March New York Times story noted that leaders at Apple have “questioned the product’s prospects.”
With the Vision Pro’s release date now set for early 2024, Zuckerberg’s vision, outlined in a 2022 Super Bowl ad, appears to be taking some time to come to fruition, with images of dancing holograms held off in a holding pattern for the next year or so at least.