Facebook's bet on the future of virtual reality isn't going entirely according to plan, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Wednesday.
The social media giant has already poured billions into VR. When Facebook bought VR headset maker Oculus five years ago for $2 billion (plus $1 billion it paid in employee retention packages and goal targets), it reflected a belief that VR hardware was the future.
The technology is taking longer to catch on with the general public, however. Zuckerberg spoke about challenges Facebook faces in the VR market during the company's Q3 earnings call Wednesday in response to an analyst's question on why his vision for VR has taken "longer than expected to materialize."
"On VR and AR, you're right. This is taking a bit longer than we thought. And I'm still optimistic," Zuckerberg said. "I think that the long-term vision and the reasons why I thought this — we're going to be important and big — are unchanged."
Facebook unveiled its newest VR headset, the Oculus Quest, in May. The Quest retails for $399 and primarily functions as a VR gaming platform. It will also grant users access to Facebook Horizon, a new "social VR world" that will launch in 2020.
Zuckerberg insisted during the earnings call that he believes VR will catch on, predicting that there will soon be hundreds of millions of people using the Quest, which he said is already "growing and doing quite well."
Facebook reported strong growth during the third quarter, pulling in $17.7 billion in total revenue. The company's revenue from "payments and other fees" was $269 million, up 43% from last year. Most of that growth was driven by Oculus Quest sales, chief financial officer Dave Wehner said during the earnings call.