Meta Reality Labs has gone from an experimental division within Meta to one that represents the future of the company. The division is losing money while Meta makes this transition; in the second quarter, Meta Reality Labs lost $2.8 billion while generating $452 million in revenue. But CEO Mark Zuckerberg sees a future where there could be hundreds of billions of dollars in commerce and services in the metaverse. Irving’s job is to bring consumers and marketers along.
“It is really kind of one of the coolest marketing briefs that, personally, I could imagine,” Irving said. “How do we bring the best from what we’ve learned to date, about marketing consumer devices, creating and introducing completely new categories of devices and technology, that hasn’t existed before … we’re talking about things that you have to, in many ways, experience it, in order to truly understand it.”
Irving said that the Meta Reality Labs marketing team is growing, and has to design campaigns that both sell devices and drive adoption of the software and services within VR and AR. Meta needs to spur usage of apps like Horizon Worlds, which is an open-world virtual reality app, similar to Roblox. Brands have opened digital venues there, and the Foo Fighters and Post Malone have put on concerts in VR.
Horizon Worlds is expanding to new territories, and just this week Zuckerberg did some marketing for the service, posting a digital selfie from inside the VR app, after it launched in France and Spain.
“We have marketers from all different types of industry backgrounds,” Irving said of the Meta Reality Labs marketing team, “but also everything ranging from integrated marketers to creative leaders to design leaders and media leaders, helping us push this forward.”
One of the responsibilities of building the metaverse, which Irving describes as the next computing layer accessible through multiple points in VR, AR, and mixed reality, is to make sure the failures of Web 2.0 don’t infest Web3. As Facebook, the company learned the hard way about the risks of social media, fraud, disinformation and trolling. Web3 comes with those same risks and more.
“We have a lot of learnings and not all of those learnings are because everything went perfectly, right,” Irving said. “But we still have them, and I think that that for us has been something that we have consciously and proactively carried into things like our responsible innovation principles, that we launched coming up almost on three years now, as we’ve been building out a lot of the tools and technology for the metaverse.”