Mark Zuckerberg estimates that there are 1 billion people in the metaworld

Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg told CNBC’s Jim Kramer on Wednesday that the metauniverse could become a significant part of the social networking operator’s business in the second half of the decade.

“We hope that about a billion people in the metaworld trade for hundreds of dollars, each of whom will buy digital goods, digital content, different things to express themselves, so it’s clothes for their avatar or different digital goods for their virtual home or things to beautify their virtual conference room, utilities to be more productive in virtual and augmented reality and in the whole metaworld in general, ”he said.

Investors have halved the company’s market capitalization this year as growth has slowed and the number of daily active users has declined steadily for the first time in two quarters. Zuckerberg is increasingly directing the company to what he sees as the next generation of content, a virtual world where people can buy and sell digital goods for avatars who can communicate with each other. The company’s ticket symbol has changed from FB, a remnant of its history as a pure social media provider, to META earlier this month.

But the company’s investment in augmented reality and virtual reality began in 2014, when it paid $ 2 billion for the manufacturer of Oculus VR headsets. Headset shipments did not exceed the number of shipments of PCs or smartphones. Zuckerberg has expressed optimism about the performance of its current generation Meta Quest 2, which starts at $ 299.

“Quest 2 has become a hit,” Zuckerberg told Mad Money.

“I was very pleased with how it disappeared. It exceeded my expectations. But I still think it will take some time to reach the scale of several hundred million or even billions of people in the metaworld, simply because it all takes some time. to get to that. So this is the North Star. I think we will achieve. But, you know, the other services we run are already on a slightly larger scale today. “

The metaworld experience can be more exciting than text, photos or videos that are widely shared in Facebook and Instagram Meta, and so it will become a big theme for Meta over the next decade, Zuckerberg said.

Zuckerberg met with Kramer in the metaverse. The Facebook co-founder said such an experience can nurture a sense of being together, even when people are physically on the other side of the country. He said that it is possible to establish eye contact, which is not guaranteed for video calls, and use spatial audio, which allows you to talk quietly on the side.

Technology “mainly contributes to the fact that it provides this realistic sense of presence,” he said.

To offer this to customers over the next few years, Meta will require the release of a number of hardware, software and expertise.

“You know, we’re now a company that can afford to make big long-term investments in research, and that’s a big focus,” he said.

He expects the economy around the metaworld to be massive, he said.

In the first quarter, Meta Platforms had 3.64 billion active people in the app family per month, up 6% from last year. In 2020, WhatsApp reached 2 billion users, and Zuckerberg sees this as potential for growth.

“You know, our textbook has created services over time, try to serve as many people as possible – you know, bring our services to a billion, two billion, three billion people, and then we basically scale monetization after that,” Zuckerberg said. “And we did it through Facebook and Instagram. WhatsApp will really be the next chapter where messaging and commerce will be a big thing here. ”

AI makes recommendations similar to TikTok

In addition to spending on the metaverse, Meta is investing heavily in the development of artificial intelligence that can support advertising – a source of about 97% of revenue – and the company’s existing applications, Zuckerberg said.

“We’re basically moving away from most of the content you see on Facebook and Instagram coming from your friends or sticking to a schedule, so far, you know, over time more and more of that content is coming from AI recommendations alone.” Said Zuckerberg. “And as AI guidelines get better, you get access not only to content from the people you follow, but to the entire universe of content that is there.”

This is a concept that TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, used for billion active users monthly. Meta has tried to respond to the rapid growth with the introduction of the Reels feature on Instagram in 2020. Reels is more than a fifth of the time people spend on Instagram, Zuckerberg told analysts during a Meta call about earnings in the first quarter of April. Now he expects that AI improvements will make Reels more appealing to Instagram users.

“Our artificial intelligence system can choose based on what it knows about you and what you personally will be interested in and what you want to know,” he said. “So when we improve on that, you know, our engineers improve the models every week. We test something, and you know, the relevance goes up a few percent. And then we repeat and we do it next week.” And, you know, it’s just a huge part of what I’ve always focused on when running this company – it’s very fast, so we can keep improving it fast. “

Meta is also investing in AI equipment, along with other major technology companies such as Alphabet and Microsoft.

“We’ve just released an AI research supercluster online, which, you know, we believe will become the fastest AI supercomputer if it’s fully built later this year, so our researchers can create new and bigger models to make ratings and recommendations on our social networks and advertising better ”.

The company will slow its investment in AI in the event of a recession, Zuckerberg said.

Comments before Sandberg’s departure

Mark Zuckerberg estimates that there are 1 billion people in the metaworld

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