Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of an all-encompassing metaverse has again taken another hit after a new survey revealed a stark lack of interest in virtual reality (VR).
According to a new survey from Piper Sandler, only 29% percent of teens owned a VR device, with only 4% of owners using it daily.
Commenting on their findings, Piper Sandler analysts wrote: “To us, the lukewarm usage demonstrates that VR remains ‘early days’ and that these devices are less important than smartphones.”
The damning statistics come after Big Tech has shoveled billions of dollars into producing VR headsets and bringing them to market.
Meta, which rebranded itself to focus heavily on the metaverse back in 2021, has continued to see underwhelming traction with its new focus.
Meta’s Reality Labs division of the company, which handles all of the VR technology, reported a painful $4.28bn loss in the fourth quarter of 2022. This brought its total loss to over $13bn in 2022.
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The tech giant’s sales of its Oculus VR headsets saw a 2% decline last year – the same year it announced it would be hiking up the price of its Quest 2 VR headset by $100.
GlobalData defines the metaverse as “a virtual world where users share experiences and interact in real-time within simulated scenarios.”
The metaverse, at least the main vision of Meta’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg, will require cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR) and VR.
The news comes as total VR and AR investment fell dramatically in 2022, following an industry high in 2021, according to research firm GlobalData.
2022 saw a total of $8.9bn invested into the two technologies, a stark decrease from the $18.9bn invested in 2021.