Earlier, Facebook parent Meta had announced that it was pouring in billions of dollars to develop augmented reality (AR) glasses as part of its push into the metaverse. Later on, it had announced its plans to roll out the same by 2024, which would be followed by more advanced designs in 2026 and 2028.

Fast forward to June, and we find that Meta has decided to scale back its plans for its AR glasses over the next several years. Instead, the Facebook parent aims to use the Portal smart display device, which saw boosted sales during the pandemic, away from the consumer market and use the first version of the AR glasses as a demonstration product.

As it now becomes a developer-only product, Meta’s software team will also build a software development kit to help developers build apps for Meta glasses. So while Project Nazare (the first version of its AR glasses) takes a back seat, the second version of the AR glasses (codenamed Artemis) will be prioritized for a commercial release.

This development also comes as Meta has decided to cancel the first version of its smartwatch with two cameras, codenamed Milan, which was supposed to roll out next year. We do not know whether it has canceled the other versions (codenamed Kyoto and Paris) which were supposed to roll out over the following years, as well.

The metaverse has been Zuckerberg’s (and the company’s) brainchild ever since the Facebook founder unveiled it to the world. Touted to be the next iteration of the internet that comes with a more interactive environment, the metaverse relies heavily on AR and VR technology and will supposedly let people bypass the smartphone (and similar devices) and interact and work with holograms of other individuals.

In fact, to show its commitment to the metaverse, the Facebook parent rebranded itself to Meta last year. Its efforts also inspired other companies such as Fortnite-maker Epic and Tech Mahindra have entered the metaverse race to grab a slice of the pie.

This begs the question, why is Meta pushing back its plans for the AR glasses and clamping down on its investments in the Reality Labs and AR/VR division?

Is it because its Reality Labs division continued to report losses over the months? It lost nearly $3 billion in the first quarter of the year and over $10 billion last year. Or is it because of the slowed growth in its revenue, which in turn made it pause recruitments across most engineering teams for the rest of the year? The answer is, perhaps, a bit of both.