Confidential discussions with 11 current and former employees revealed that teams within Meta, including those working on VR, are not regularly using the headsets for their work. While the company provides headsets to employees enrolled in its internal program for testing new features, adoption is lackluster.
An intriguing tidbit from the report mentions that even Meta’s President of Global Affairs, Nick Clegg, briefly experimented with VR meetings before abandoning the idea due to discomfort and technical glitches. Furthermore, employees tasked with demonstrating the headsets in sales pitches reportedly do not utilize them daily.
Meta did not respond to a request for comment
However, as reported by PCMag, the company is planning to shift towards more in-person work starting in September. This means the prospects for increased uptake of VR headsets among employees seem uncertain.
There could be various reasons behind this hesitancy. VR headsets can induce nausea and discomfort, with Meta advising users to take regular breaks. Some employees find the experience of appearing as legless cartoon avatars “weird and unprofessional.” In addition, wearing the headsets has been described as “embarrassing.”
Interestingly, Meta’s Reality Labs VR and AR division suffered a substantial loss of $13.7 billion in 2022. This surpassed even the $10.2 billion operating loss the previous year. These figures highlight the challenges faced by the company in realizing its VR ambitions.
Meanwhile, as the rumor mill churns with anticipation of Apple’s forthcoming VR headset, it is reported that the iPhone maker will issue multiple warnings regarding its usage.
Individuals with various health conditions, such as inner ear infections, ADHD/ADD, and anxiety, among others, may need to exercise caution or avoid using the device altogether.
As Meta navigates the rocky terrain of virtual reality, it remains to be seen how the company will address the hesitations of its own employees and whether it can steer its VR endeavors toward a successful future.