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Meta reflects on the past and looks to the future

Zuckerberg's social network had a busy 2022 with a new title and broader visions, but how did the year play out - and what comes next?

Meta reflects on the past and looks to the future

Meta posted a look back on 2022, and the reasons they “still believe in the future”.

The year 2022 was a big one for Meta. By late 2021 Mark Zuckerberg announced his vision for the metaverse as the successor to mobile internet, and with that came the company’s name change to Meta.

Last year was always intended to be a big one for Meta, with new goals and ideals laid out in front of the company. However, it was a much tougher year than they had probably expected. CTO and head of reality labs, Andrew Bosworth - who wrote up the Meta look back - noted that “Economic challenges across the world… Combined with pressures on Meta’s core business, created a perfect storm of scepticism about the investments we’re making.”

The Meta look back dubs 2022 as, “One of the hardest years in the history of the company.” Despite this, Meta claims to be committed to its vision for the future and still believes in its goals. No specifics are mentioned regarding what made the year such a tough one. There’s also no mention of the 11,000 job losses that Meta suffered last year.

Misunderstandings?

Meta states that a few factors may have been “misunderstood by many of our biggest sceptics.” The Q3 results showed that Facebook daily active users were at an all-time high and displaying “positive engagement trends.” Instagram is shown to have more than 2 billion monthly active users and WhatsApp also has 2 billion daily active users. This report also details that 80% of Meta’s investments support the core business with the other 20% going toward Reality Labs.

These reports do not mention any of the financials that have gone toward GDPR violations. Last year, collective fines accumulated to over €830 million for General Data Protection Regulation. Meta seemed to frequently appear in these fines, paying out over €670 million for GDPR violations in 2022.

Despite scepticism and speed bumps in 2022 Meta claims, “We think 2022 will be remembered as a year when foundational pieces of technology enabling our vision for the future made their way into the hands of developers, and users for the first time.” The Meta Quest pro shipped in October - with a $1,500 price tag. With rumours of a Meta Quest 3 already circulating, Meta speaks on the importance of mixed reality, and eye and face technology tracking, both of which are helping to push AR and VR technology to the next level.

Meta and mixed reality

Mixed reality capabilities make it so that our physical world can directly link to a virtual one. This technology means that our physical environment can see overlays of digital objects. Be this for entertainment purposes or enhanced learning. Mixed reality technology means that headsets need to be able to understand 3D space and recognise the objects and items in the nearby environment. Meta’s Reality system “combines all of these technologies and more into a single system for developers to build with.”

Meta has a keen focus on mixed reality as it believes, “mixed reality will help VR devices become increasingly compelling alternatives to laptops and desktop computers.” Meta believes that it won’t be too long until a VR headset has similar capabilities to that of a powerful home computer, only this device could be used anywhere. This is a goal that Meta is looking toward in the future and believes that the Quest Pro was a big step forward in the right direction.

Horizon Worlds

The look back comments on its community of creators and virtual world builders saying, “It’s not often you get to witness a whole new form of self-expression and community building on a platform. And the ways creators worked their magic on Horizon Worlds this year was a thing to behold. We’re going to spend 2023 focused on helping this community to flourish.”

Zuckerberg’s original Meta mission was laid out clearly. The metaverse was to have the potential to rule all of social media and even change our everyday lives. With the likes of physical workplaces being phased out in preference for virtual workplaces and meetings. However, Horizon World’s platform went through some growing pains in 2022 when it seemed that the platform was falling short of its projected targets.

Despite this, Meta is committed to its plan and intends to continue to fully support the platform and its creators. It will be another interesting year for VR as new technology hits the market and more creators and users are looking to explore virtual worlds.

Meta’s future

Meta has also pledged its commitment to investments in AI. Machine learning and AI advancements have been reaching new heights over the past year. Meta mentions its work with its, “Make-A-Video and Make-A-Scene work, not to mention Cicero.” The latter is an AI that Meta has developed to be able to use strategic reasoning and negotiation in the style of a human. The AI was tested by playing a digital version of the popular board game Diplomacy.

Meta states that while it will continue searching for ways to work more efficiently; what won’t change in 2023 is its vision and long-term research goals. With aims to further develop future VR and AR capabilities along with advancements in AI. Meta claims that, “the best days are still ahead of us.”

This article was first published on BeyondGames.biz.


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