Meta admits Metaverse hype is over, but insists its not bothered

After spending nearly $14 billion in a single year on its virtual world project, Metas VP of Metaverse has admitted the hype is dead.

Vishal Shah told Fortune that the metaverse is in a Gartner hype cycle, and is currently in the “trough of disillusionment” phase. You can say that again. Reports say Meta has invested a staggering $100bn on metaverse research and development to date, but still has barely any actual users.

The Verge reported last October that even the Metaverse team werent using the Meta virtual meeting products.

Shah said: “I think the metaverse hype is dead. I think we were in a hype cycle…(but) we didnt invest for the hype, we have been investing in the space for years.” However, he insisted the work goes on and that now the team can “put their heads down and build.”

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has held firm to his metaverse vision in the face of widespread criticism, not least from investors. But more recently he has gone quieter on the topic, preferring to talk up the companys AI efforts.

And now, of course, there is Threads, which puts Zuckerberg back in much safer territory – mimicking someone elses good idea.

Metas Twitter rival was launched last week, and has got off to a good start. The latest numbers suggest it had 109 million sign-ups within five days of launch. “Thats mostly organic demand, and we havent even turned on many promotions yet,” Zuckerberg said in a Threads post announcing the milestone.

Twitter had nearly 240 million daily active users as of July last year, but its traffic and user base has been falling thanks to a combination of anti-Elon Musk feeling, new usage restrictions and competition from Threads.