Mark Zuckerberg could be on the verge of a big boost for his visions of an omnipresent metaverse.
Tencent has launched discussions with Meta to sell the Quest 2 VR headset in China, The Wall Street Journal reports. If the deal comes together, it would give Meta access to a huge new market that is even more attuned to the online world than the U.S.
Discussions are still reportedly in the early phase and are complicated by the fact that Facebook has been banned in China since 2009. The companies would need to not only get past that hurdle, but determine how data would be handled and, likely, clear any U.S. scrutiny. Meta is already in the sights of government regulators and a deal with China could prompt more questions.
Also uncertain is the audience Meta would target. Horizon Worlds hasn’t seen big successes in the U.S. and the company is considering widening the audience to teens as young as 13 in the U.S. China often shields younger users from certain online activities.
The VR and metaverse divisions of Meta have been significant financial drains on the company. The Reality Labs division, which houses both, was responsible for $13.7 billion in losses last year. And the talks come as Meta could be preparing for another major round of layoffs, after cutting 11,000 jobs last November.
The Quest 2 has earned praise from critics, but sales have slowed in North America, as expectations of an Apple mixed reality headset this year continue to grow and many expect Meta to release the Meta Quest 3 as well.
Opening the Chinese market could give the headset a big sales boost—and could be a boon for game makers, as well, given China’s dedication to video games.
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