Science & Tech

Has Mark Zuckerberg just killed off the metaverse?

Has Mark Zuckerberg just killed off the metaverse?
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Rumors are swirling that Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg is quietly killing off the metaverse as he announces future plans for AI.

In a Facebook post made on Monday, 27 February, Zuckerberg announced Meta would be creating a new product group “focused on generative AI.”

“In the short term, we’ll focus on building creative and expressive tools,” Zuckerberg wrote. “Over the longer term, we’ll focus on developing AI personas that can help people in a variety of ways.”

The announcement comes after AI chatbots like ChatGPT, Google Bard, and BingAI have become accessible and popular. But it also comes after Meta’s version of the metaverse, Horizon Worlds has faced a lot of hardships.

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Since its fruition, Zuckerberg and Meta have faced backlash for Horizon Worlds, the virtual reality game created by Meta Platforms. Younger people have mocked Zuckerberg for trying to push the game forward, believing it to be lackluster due to its affiliation with Facebook.

Beyond that, the game has received criticism from older people, including two US Senators, for failing to protect children from predators online.

Recently Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) sent a letter to Meta asking Zuckerberg to “halt” his metaverse plan “immediately.”

Meta has invested more than $10 billion into the development and creation of its metaverse through Reality Labs. But with a lack of users and public interest, it seems Zuckerberg may be turning away from it.

The rumors are only speculation for now, as there has been no official announcement from Meta or Zuckerberg about their future plans for developing its metaverse.

But given Reality Labs recorded a $4.2 billion loss in the fourth quarter of 2022, it may be a good idea for the company to start focusing on artificial intelligence as it's more prominent than the metaverse.

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