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Zuckerberg asks for investor patience on VR profitability

Mark Zuckerberg says there’s a “chicken-and-egg” dynamic governing the consumer virtual reality ecosystem, in that until there’s a critical mass of content, it’s going to be hard for developers to make enough money to justify them spending lots of time building VR content. That’s why, the Facebook CEO said during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call today—the same day a Dallas judge hit the company with a $500 million penalty because Oculus’s founder was found to have violated a nondisclosure agreement—that it has been investing heavily in seeding content development.

Still, he said, he doesn’t expect VR to hit a billion hardware units sold any faster than smartphones, which took 10 years. In fact, he said, he’d “feel really good” if VR was on a “similar trajectory,” and that’s why he asked for investors—who are looking for Facebook to get a return on its $2 billion acquisition of Oculus—to stay patient, as “we’re going to invest a lot [in VR] and it’s not going to be profitable for quite a while.”DT