In context: Mark Zuckerberg's faith in the metaverse remains unwavering, but not everyone shares his belief that this virtual/mixed reality vision is the future of how we work and play online. One of these is market research firm Canalys, which predicts that most business projects in the metaverse will have shuttered by 2025.

Reality Labs, the division focused on Meta's hardware and metaverse aspirations, has lost around $16 billion since the start of last year and is making cutbacks as a result, including the dual-camera smartwatch. But Zuckerberg still believes the metaverse will make hundreds of billions, if not trillions, of dollars over time. That's despite the skepticism shared by half of all teens and some Meta staff. Even John Carmack has been expressing caution over these ambitions.

The Register reports that Canalys is in the naysayers' camp. At the company's Channels Forum in Barcelona, Matthew Ball, chief analyst at the company, asked, "Is the metaverse the next digital frontier or an overhyped money pit?"

"Tens of billions of dollars have already been invested, costs and delays to Meta's own progress is a barometer."

Ball made a good point about the current global economic climate's effect on the metaverse. With rising inflation and job losses, many people are struggling to make ends meet when it comes to daily living expenses like rent, food, and utilities, so investing in virtual items such as NFTs is unlikely to be a temptation.

Ball did admit that gaming is one area where the metaverse could find success, as is "adult entertainment," but the business sector will struggle.

Nevertheless, big companies such as Microsoft, Nvidia, Apple, and Google keep investing in the metaverse. Consultants estimate that $177 billion has already been plowed into the platform, and that figure could hit between $5 trillion and $13 trillion by 2030.

Rival research giant Gartner is more optimistic about the metaverse. It believes that a quarter of the world will spend at least one hour a day shopping, working, socializing, or learning in the virtual world by 2026, with 30% of organizations offering products or services in this digital landscape.

Meta revealed the Meta Quest Pro earlier this month, a $1,500 standalone headset designed for working in the metaverse. It also increased the base price of the Meta Quest 2 to $400. The Meta Quest 3 should arrive at a lower price point next year, but Meta still faces a challenge to get people interested in the metaverse, and businesses invested in the platform could suffer as a result.