Have you ever thought of a world where everything is virtual and you can spend time or hang out with your friends, live and work as you do in real life, and teleport between worlds? Sounds like something out of a sci-fi novel, does it not? This might not remain fiction anymore, as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the arrival of the “Metaverse” – his vision for the future of Facebook and the entire internet – the creation of digital worlds that people can inhabit at the same time.
This comes soon after Facebook released the earnings report for the quarter, and according to Facebook, a product team led by Instagram’s Vishal Shah will be created to work on the Metaverse, which will be part of Facebook’s virtual reality group, Reality Labs. Zuckerberg described the Metaverse as the ultimate expression of social technology and “a virtual environment where you can be present with people in digital spaces. You can kind of think of this as an embodied internet that you’re inside of rather than just looking at.”
The Metaverse, in his words, is “the next generation of the Internet and the next chapter of us as a company” and said people will eventually transition “from seeing us as a social media company, to seeing us as a Metaverse company.” Facebook’s Oculus division is a pioneer in augmented and virtual reality technology, and with them, the creation of the Metaverse is more than just a dream. Facebook executive Andrew Bosworth wrote in a Facebook post that while Oculus and Portal could teleport people into new virtual worlds and experiences, they needed to build the connectivity tissue between the spaces to remove the limitations of physics so that people could move between them easily. No one company could develop it by themselves since it is an ecosystem that requires new protocol and payment systems, creating a lot of economic value, but Facebook hopes that it can control it on its own hardware platform.
According to Facebook CFO David Wehner, the company is spending billions on the Metaverse.
If you are worried that your devices will not be enough to access the Metaverse, fear not. According to Facebook, the Metaverse would be accessible from all headsets and devices, even those not built by Facebook, enabling users to play games or work, even engage in activities that cannot be done on the internet, like dancing. This is done, Facebook says, to make you feel that you are “really there with someone else,” creating new experiences. Hopefully, it will be pocket-friendly as well, since the Metaverse is not a scheme to sell expensive VR and AR gear but instead build a social product for hundreds of millions of users.
The Metaverse is not a new concept to tech giants either – powerhouses like Amazon and Google have made progress in virtual and augmented reality in recent decades while working towards the Metaverse.