Facebook parent company Meta is not wavering on its ambitious metaverse plans after a report from the Financial Times indicated that the firm is in talks with augmented reality (AR) startup Magic Leap over a multi-year partnership. 

Magic Leap taps into AR to build high-tech lenses and software that are compatible with metaverse technology. Back in 2021, the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) purchased a $450m 50% stake in the company and has since garnered a controlling stake. 

Meta was initially in talks with Magic Leap in 2020 over a potential stake acquisition but fizzled out, although it may have become the catalyst for Mark Zuckeberg’s company’s interest in working with the AR company. 

Two former employees of Magic Leap stated to The Financial Times that the firm’s biggest asset is the “sophistication of its waveguides” – which enables enhanced images for a viewer by technology passing through thin glass lenses. 

The report did note that neither company would confirm the partnership talks, but Magic Leap did state that partnerships within their field are becoming a “significant line of business and growing opportunity for Magic Leap”. 

Meta is reportedly interested in working with Magic Leap so that the multi-billion dollar company can access both its intellectual property licensing and other technologies to help build a more refined metaverse product that they are already working on. 

The tech giant has struggled to get its metaverse projects off the ground over the last several years since rebranding from Facebook to Meta in 2019. 

Its metaverse research and development division, Reality Labs, whilst receiving multi-billions in funding has failed to turnover and profitability, losing over $13bn in the company’s 2022 annual financial results. 

Investors have also grown wary of Meta’s perceived insistence of pouring multiple billions of dollars into the metaverse, with one investor – Brad Gerstnerstating in an open letter that heavy spending could lead the company down an “unknown future”. 

Whilst the past year has been a struggle for Zuckerberg’s company, not helped by intensifying macroeconomic conditions leading to up to 20,000 employees laid off, the news of Apple’s interest into the metaverse may have signalled that partnerships with firms such as Magic Leap may bolster their own offering. 

Apple is set to launch its first virtual reality headset next month and could prove to become a game-changer within the VR space as Meta have seemingly become the leading Big Tech firm in the field.