What is Facebook's Metaverse?
“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”
When Mark Zuckerberg concluded the Facebook Connect 2021 main keynote, he spoke about a better beginning. Facebook’s Metaverse is a promise of a futuristic tomorrow, where the rules of reality change to converge in a virtual world of your imagination.
Simply put, Facebook’s Metaverse is a tightly interconnected set of digital spaces that lets users escape into a virtual world and the rules of technology are the only limit.
It empowers you to be right in the moment with friends, family and colleagues, in a world free from the constraints of the physical world while enabling its real-time capabilities.
Zuckerberg presented Metaverse as the “successor to mobile internet” in his recent Facebook Connect keynote.
By rebranding Facebook as Meta, Zuckerberg plans to unlock the potential of the metaverse, a concept that holds great potential but is currently in research and development phase.
This comes on the heels of reports on Facebook’s dwindling popularity – data from a March 2021 internal Facebook report showed that Facebook was losing credibility with young adults and teens. Bloomberg reported that Facebook shares fell less than 1 per cent on October 25 as the market opened in New York.
In his vision for the Metaverse offering, Mark Zuckerberg aims to create the next version of the internet where you will not be limited to just passive consumption and reaction.
Instead, Facebook’s Metaverse will take you on an immersive journey that will transform how you socialise, work, shop, play, and interact with the world around you.
In the Metaverse, you can be a part of the experience and not just observe it. Zuckerberg’s explanation of the Metaverse encapsulates a parallel reality where avatars are a representation of the human self.
You can relax in your Horizon Home, call up a friend to meet, change your virtual wardrobe, go hiking and do much more. Or, you can indulge in the joys of in-person interaction at the workplace without the hassle of physically commuting.
In other words, connecting people is at the heart of Facebook’s Metaverse, mirroring its once-dominant social media value proposition.
Facebook introduced Horizon Home as the Metaverse home base. The early vision of the Horizon Home can be experienced with a Quest headset, which has now been rebranded from Oculus to Meta.
Think of it as your virtual home where you can hang out with your friends from Arizona and Paris together. Future versions of Horizon Home will let you invite your friends and relax together, watch movies, and jump into other apps or games together.
Horizon is Facebook’s social platform aimed at helping people to create and interact with one another in its Metaverse.
Horizon Home, the new addition to Horizon, joins Horizon Worlds (currently in beta phase), Horizon Workrooms, and Horizon Venues.
In October, Facebook (now Meta) announced a $10 million Creator Fund to encourage more creators and developers to come and build their dream worlds within Horizon for Facebook’s Metaverse.
While Horizon Worlds lets you create your dream world in VR with state-of-the-art social world-building tools, Horizon Venues is where the “party is at,” so to speak.
Horizon Venues embodies entertainment and lets users enjoy the dynamics of group events, the thrill of live sports, and the energy of music concerts from the comfort of their living room.
Meta is also going to unveil a Horizon Marketplace where creators will be able to sell and share 3D digital items in a bid to grow the company’s Metaverse economy.
Experts believe that gaming platforms are better suited to navigate the journey into the metaverse.
This is because the gaming industry comes with a loyal user base that’s already familiar with virtual spaces, 3D environments, and fantasy worlds.
Fan favourites such as Fortnite and Roblox made their foray into the metaverse with seamless ease and Epic Games, the parent company behind Fortnite, has raised $1 billion from investors to boost their long-term plans for building their own metaverse.
All of this indicates a strong readiness among gamers to adopt Facebook’s Multiverse – and therefore, a good starting point for the company.
Facebook’s Metaverse intends to tap into this booming industry by using holograms that amplify regular games like chess, even as interoperability enables you to connect and play with your friend in another city.
Meta is also developing the Rockstar Games’ cult classic Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for Quest 2, a project destined to test Zuckerberg’s vision of the gaming metaverse.
If you remember the opening scene from Netflix’s Falling Inn Love, you’ll be able to recall the protagonist Gabrielle Diaz riding in the quaint countryside – actually wearing a VR headset and cycling in her stationary exercise bike.
Clearly, the fitness industry is ready to tap into sophisticated tech like VR to make exercising fun, and, in many ways, the metaverse has already captured popular imagination.
As more people choose virtual environments for physical gymnasiums (particularly in the wake of the pandemic), devices like Meta Quest 2 can become your fitness equipment of choice.
Facebook’s Metaverse will include plans for fitness activities, underscored by the recent launch of the Active Pack for Quest 2.
Facebook’s Metaverse Active Pack will come with new grips for touch controllers to make the experience more immersive and life-like.
Like physical grips, these will help you maintain control while sweating and an exercise-optimised facial interface will assume the role of the humble towel – all inside the Metaverse.
The idea is simple: to make fitness more personalised, interactive and creative.
The metaverse existed before Facebook announced its branding manoeuvre.
What Zuckerberg envisions is seamless interoperability between its offerings to transform how people connect and a major leapfrog in terms of the core technology.
While it remains to see how this initial vision is executed, Metaverse comes with great promises and even greater responsibilities.
Talking about building the metaverse responsibly, Facebook (now Meta) stated the pressing need to involve human rights and civil rights communities from the beginning. This will help ensure that the metaverse is designed to empower, with strong privacy and security measures in place.