Mark Zuckerberg envisions a billion people in the metaverse spending hundreds of dollars

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Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg appears on TSWT’s “Mad Money” with Jim Cramer on June 22, 2022.

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Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg told TSWT’s Jim Cramer on Wednesday that the metaverse could be a huge part of the social network operator’s business in the second half of the decade.

“We’re hoping to get to about a billion people in the metaverse doing hundreds of dollars of commerce, each buying digital goods, digital content, different things to express themselves, so whether it’s clothes for their avatar or different goods digital tools for their virtual home or objects to decorate their virtual conference room, utilities to be able to be more productive in virtual and augmented reality and throughout the metaverse,” he said.

Investors halved the company’s market capitalization this year as growth slowed and its daily active user count fell sequentially for the first time between the past two quarters. Zuckerberg is increasingly steering the company toward what he sees as the next generation of content, a virtual world where people can buy and sell digital clothing and other goods for avatars that can communicate with each other. The company’s ticker symbol changed from FB, a relic of its history as a pure social media provider, to META earlier this month.

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But the company’s investment in augmented reality and virtual reality dates back to 2014, when it paid $2 billion for headset maker Oculus VR. Headset shipments did not outnumber PC or smartphone shipments. Zuckerberg expressed optimism about the performance of his current-gen Meta Quest 2, which starts at $299.

“Quest 2 was a hit,” Zuckerberg told the “Mad Money” host.

“I was really happy with how it turned out. It exceeded my expectations. But I still think it will take some time for it to reach the scale of hundreds of millions or even billions people in the metaverse, just because things take a while to get there. So that’s the North Star. I think we’ll get there. But, you know, the other services that we run are already at a a little larger scale today.

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Experiences in the Metaverse can be more immersive than text, photos or video, which are ubiquitous on Meta’s Facebook and Instagram, and so this will be a big theme for Meta over the next decade, Zuckerberg said.

Zuckerberg met Cramer in the Metaverse. The Facebook co-founder said such experiences can foster a sense of togetherness, even if people are physically across the country. He said it’s possible to make eye contact, which isn’t guaranteed on video calls, and use spatial audio that allows for quiet side conversations.

The technology “basically adds in to give it that realistic sense of presence,” he said.

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To bring this to customers over the next few years, Meta will need to release a stack of hardware, software, and experiences.

“We’re at this point, you know, a company that can afford to make big investments in long-term research, and that’s an important goal,” he said.

Meta Platforms had 3.64 billion monthly active people in its app family in the first quarter, up 6% year-over-year.

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

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