These are some really bad times for Facebook’s parent company Meta and its owner Mark Zukerberg as its stocks have been falling drastically in the past few weeks. Mark’s fortune is closely tied to the performance of shares of Meta Platforms, whose stock has lost some 70% of its value since January. Reality Labs, i.e the metaverse division of Facebook, has lost $9 billion so far in 2022. From Wednesday to Thursday on the earnings report, the company’s stock fell from about $128 a share to $98, a drop of some 24%.
While Meta is going through this turmoil, there are some people who are happy with the situation and are making real money from the draping metaverse stocks. “It’s been an incredibly positive experience and one of the best in my life,” says Aaron Sorrels, a 47-year-old professional comedian who opened a virtual comedy club in Meta’s flagship metaverse platform, Horizon Worlds, last year. Just like Aaron, there are many others who are doing the metaverse online shows and streams on Metaverse and are making money even when Meta itself is receiving massive losses.
Meta’s recently added monetization tools are available to the audience members to make in-app purchases, including what Sorrels calls “applause credits” — a sort of pat on the back for performers. People can also pay $9.99 to get their username permanently added to Soapstone’s virtual “supporter wall.”
Other people have already managed to make a full-time living in the metaverse. Alexis Dimas, a 37-year-old metaverse creator based in Santa Ana, California, says he joined Horizon Worlds in beta nearly two years ago. He taught himself how to build “worlds” in the virtual game himself using the platform’s developer toolkit, he says. Dimas isn’t actually a computer software developer professionally but still, he claims that he’s published more than 25 different worlds on Meta’s platform, from a karaoke-style singing competition venue to one called “Skybridge,” where your virtual avatar walks across a bridge high in the Himalayas mountain range.
He also says he hasn’t seen any users drop in his streams and shows.
“As far as Horizon Worlds losing users, I haven’t witnessed that or seen that. I mean, I can barely go into the lobby area without a bunch of people coming up to me and asking me questions. It’s just always packed everywhere I go.”
On Wednesday’s Meta earnings call, Zuckerberg told investors that Meta could survive these hard times and the ones that are patient in these times will benefit from the success that the future holds for them. He said;
“We’re taking on expenses because we believe that they’re going to provide greater returns over time. I appreciate the patience, and I think that those who are patient and invest with us will be rewarded.”
“Early adopters are figuring out ways to create this metaverse economy,” he says. “As that takes hold, I think we’re going to see a lot more people then come in. And it’ll be a self-perpetuating thing.”
Even after the major drop in shares and users, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has backed his commitment to spending billions of dollars developing the metaverse amid investor concern about the health of his company’s online advertising business. Zuckerberg and other Meta executives fielded a number of questions from analysts who sounded increasingly frustrated with the company’s rising costs and expenses, which jumped 19% year over year to $22.1 billion during the quarter. A spokesperson for Meta said in a statement that;
“We do anticipate that Reality Labs operating losses in 2023 will grow significantly year-over-year. Beyond 2023, we expect to pace Reality Labs investments such that we can achieve our goal of growing overall company operating income in the long run.”