Report: Sales of Facebook’s VR Headset and Portal Smart Speaker Dropping Fast

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

The release of Facebook’s first quarter financials has shown that the company’s smart speaker Portal and Oculus VR headset sales are tanking.

Business Insider reports that Facebook’s move into hardware development with the Portal smart speaker and Oculus VR headset has not been a great success for the company. Facebook doesn’t state the exact revenue for the Oculus division or portal smart speaker but combines both into the category of “Payments and other fees.”

Facebook’s CFO Dave Wehner stated that revenue from that area of business was only $165 million, or two percent of Facebook’s overall revenue for the first quarter which amounted to $15.1 billion. That market has declined by four percent each year and is down a huge 40 percent from the holiday quarter. Wehner argues that this was due to users purchasing Oculus headsets and Portal speakers as Christmas gifts.

Wehner told analysts: “Payments and other fees revenue was $165 million, down 4% year-over-year and down 40% from Q4, which benefited from holiday sales of Oculus and Portal.” Oculus was not mentioned at any other point during the earnings call with analysts, given that a few years ago Mark Zuckerberg praised VR as the next major computing platform, it brings into question if the CEO still feels the same about the technology.

Zuckerberg stated that Facebook’s Portal speaker has been useful in helping the company understand the current demand for voice-activated products. Zuckerberg stated: “Most of what we build — one of the things that’s different about Facebook and social products is more of it is about people interacting with each other than just people interacting with us, right? And so we’re certainly very focused on things like video calling and voice calling and ways that people can communicate with voice.”

Zuckerberg continued: “We have worked on some voice products on Portal; that’s an important way that people interact. And having Portal out in the market has been very valuable in terms of seeing how people want to use that and for – so our teams can have a real target to shoot at and iterate on and continue improving week over week. That’s been a meaningful improvement. But in all of these different ways, voice and how people interact with each other and eventually building products that allow people to interface with our products through that, we’re quite focused on this.”

Oculus is about to take over a multimillion-dollar building in the San Francisco area, showing that Facebook does still have some confidence in virtual reality, but it seems that Facebook is still learning how to grow its business outside of selling advertisements.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or email him at [email protected]

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