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Facebook's 2021 XR Investments to Total $10B, Even More in 2022

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In the company’s Q3 2021 earnings call Facebook today said it expects its XR investments this year to top $10 billion, and advised investors that it plans to spend even more than that in subsequent years.

Facebook’s top brass believe so deeply that XR and the metaverse will be a transformative computing platform that they are dropping tens of billions of dollars in investments aimed to give them a head start in the space.

Today during the company’s Q3 earnings call, Facebook said that it planned to change its future financial reporting to more granularly detail the aggressive investments its pouring into Facebook Reality Labs (FRL), the company’s XR and metaverse division which includes Oculus, FRL Research, and more. The company says it hopes this change will “provide investors with additional visibility into the investments that we’re making in augmented and virtual reality.”

While the first financial reports to include the more detailed look into FRL spending won’t come until the company’s Q4 2021 earnings report, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on today’s call that the company expects its FRL spending to total some $10 billion in 2021 alone. What’s more, Zuckerberg said, investors should expect that number to “grow even further for each of the next several years.”

Facebook is spending exponentially more in this category than anyone else in the industry, at least as far as we know; Apple & Microsoft are perhaps the only two companies in the world that might match or exceed Facebook’s investment, though neither company has explicitly stated the kind of spending it’s doing in the field. Facebook, on the other hand, seems to want everyone within earshot to know.

The news comes just a week after Facebook announced plans for a 10,000 person hiring spree to bolster its workforce as it races to dominate the metaverse.

Also during the earnings call the company noted that it’s ‘Other’ revenue (a category which covers its non-advertising activities) is up 195% over the prior quarter, for a total of $734 million in Q3 2021. While the category includes non-Oculus hardware (like Facebook’s Portal products), the company specifically said that the revenue was “driven by strong Quest 2 sales.”

There’s plenty more news to come with the Facebook Connect conference set for Thursday where the company may reveal a new Quest headset that was apparently leaked.

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