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Meta Touts Metaverse Reality as Apple Prepares Vision Pro VR Headset

Meta Touts Metaverse Reality as Apple Prepares Vision Pro VR Headset

In a new ad campaign, Meta, the company previously known as Facebook, emphasizes the real and pragmatic socio-economic benefits of virtual reality, diverging from its erstwhile futuristic portrayal of the metaverse experience.

The core theme behind the ad series is that the metaverse isn’t just about entertainment and games but also about improving the quality of lives in a direct and tangible way. It does this by providing new ways to learn, train, and connect with others, even when they are far apart.

Meta Touts Metaverse Reality as Apple Prepares Vision Pro VR Headset
Quest 3 VR headset. Image Credit: Meta

Meta says metaverse ‘impact is real’

The campaign comes following multiple reports that Apple is preparing to start delivering its much-awaited $3,500 mixed reality (MR) headset, Vision Pro, early next year. While Apple Inc. prefers to call its headset a “spatial computer”, it will likely be used more as a gateway for entering the metaverse.

Dubbed “The Impact Is Real,” Meta’s latest ad series zeroes in on how virtual, mixed, and augmented reality are making real-world impact across various fields, including medicine, sport, and industrial work such as welding. The campaign was unveiled on Sept. 7.

In one ad video, welders, doctors, and soccer player Marcus Rashford all use VR for different purposes. Welders fine-tune their skills without using real materials; Rashford utilizes VR to stay connected to his sport while in rehab; and doctors rehearse surgeries on virtual eyeballs.

“This [metaverse] is a technology that exists now; it is not science fiction,” said Rob Sherman, VP at Meta’s metaverse arm, Reality Labs.

“It is important for us to be transparent and help people see what our vision is, so they can anticipate it and participate,” he added, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Meta, the firm that’s arguably been pushing the metaverse the hardest, hopes the campaign will change people’s minds about virtual or augmented reality. It wants to draw in developers from different sectors who may not have thought about the technology beyond gaming.

According to Sherman, the ad campaign will be featured on TV screens across the U.S. and Europe, as well as on podcasts, email newsletters, and print. Facebook changed its name to Meta Platforms in 2021 to reflect founder Mark Zuckerberg’s big bet on the metaverse.

Early losses

Since then, Meta has reportedly spent $21 billion developing the metaverse but has yet to see a return on the investment. The company is struggling to grow user numbers in its Horizon Worlds metaverse, and sales of Meta’s Quest headsets have remained low, the WSJ reports.

At Reality Labs, the arm spearheading Meta’s metaverse ambitions, the company has seen massive losses. According to reports, Reality Labs lost $3.9 billion during the first quarter of 2023, up from losses of $2.9 billion during the comparable year-ago period.

Earlier ad campaigns from Meta promised things about a metaverse that was “10 -15 years away.”

Also read: UK Shoppers are Smitten by the Metaverse  

For example, its Super Bowl ad told the story of a retired animatronic dog who, after a series of misfortunes, found new hope when he accidentally put on a VR headset and was transported back to the virtual world where he once performed with his all-robot band.

Sherman said the ads weren’t altogether unsuccessful. He explained that success is measured not in terms of sales “but in metrics such as brand management.” Meta’s latest effort focuses more on the immediate and tangible uses of the technology.

“Meta had really come out initially with a big push that felt futuristic, and I think they realized that the market, particularly here in the U.S., is not quite ready for the vision that they painted,” tech investor and adviser Greg Kahn told the WSJ.

Meta Touts Metaverse Reality as Apple Prepares Vision Pro VR Headset

Apple comes to the metaverse

Meta is changing its promotional strategy for the metaverse as Apple’s Vision Pro headset is set to be released early next year. According to reports, Apple’s entry into the augmented and virtual reality markets will intensify the competition for metaverse dominance.

The Vision Pro headset has caused excitement in the market with regard to what it could bring to the metaverse. Susan Prescott, Apple’s VP of worldwide developer relations, says:

“We don’t just want to have a lot of apps available for Vision Pro – we want them to work great.”

While a recent CoinGecko study points to a decline in value for metaverse properties, some observers believe that Apple’s entry into the space with its virtual reality headset could spark renewed interest and potentially drive the market’s recovery.

For a long time, Meta has looked to VR and augmented reality as the next big thing in tech. It is all part of Zuckerberg’s grand plan to build the metaverse, a virtual world where people can work, play, and socialize. Headsets such as Meta’s Quest and Apple’s Vision Pro are key to accessing the metaverse.

Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney, Unsplash.

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