Meta just laid off a bunch of employees right before its big VR showcase

A Meta Quest Pro headset with a VR Cover cloth forehead cover
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • The third round of planned major layoffs at Meta occurred on May 24, 2023, displacing an estimated 5,000 employees.
  • The Comms team and several project and policy managers from Reality Labs have been affected.
  • This move returns Meta to 2021-era employment levels, ending a term of record employment for the social media company.

Meta is now officially back to 2021-era employment levels after it laid off an estimated 5,000 employees on May 24, 2023. This is part of the planned layoffs that Mark Zuckerberg previously announced as an ongoing effort to trim up the company's expenses in the "year of efficiency," as he called it back in February. This is supposedly the final round of layoffs for the year.

Several posts on LinkedIn and other social media platforms show that Meta's comms team and several project and policy managers within the company's Reality Labs division seem to be the most affected. It's not known exactly what percentage of these teams has been affected, but it's thought that the cuts are pretty wide and deep across the board.

This news comes nearly on the eve of the upcoming VR Gaming Showcase that's to take place on June 1 and is expected to unveil big games coming to the Quest 2 and the upcoming Quest 3 headset this year. Meta is reportedly investing more in its gaming division despite thinning out two of its studios last month.

Sales of the Quest headset continued to set records for VR last year, reaching a total of 20 million Quest 2 headsets sold through 2022. Sales slowed down after Meta increased the price of the headset by $100, and it's thought the Quest 3 will retail for a bit more than that.

Meta's most recent quarterly earnings showed a positive trend in the wake of 4,000 layoffs at the company on April 19. While the company has shifted public talk towards generative AI instead of the Metaverse, Zuckerberg says Meta is still investing in what it calls the future of human social interaction online.

Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones & VR
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu