The CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has stated his intention to turn the company into a metaverse — a three-dimensional cyberspace parallel to the real and tangible world.
Zuckerberg wants to create an immersive virtual world in which, with respective avatars, users can interact with others from anywhere on the planet and acquire intangible assets. Also, the firm wants to have a strong virtual advertising presence.
The metaverse is an original concept of science fiction that first appeared in the novel Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson in 1992. In it, two people use avatars to interact in a virtual space. Since then, this idea has been embodied in such well-known works as Ready Player One, a novel by Ernest Cline and adapted for film by Steven Spielberg.
The description of the metaverse is still very abstract; each author represents or describes it in a different way. Zuckerberg refers to” as an embodied internet, where instead of just viewing content — you are in it. And you feel present with other people as if you were in other places, having different experiences that you couldn’t necessarily do on a 2D app or webpage, like dancing, for example, or different types of fitness.”
The tycoon compares the metaverse to teleportation. The analogy invites us to think about virtual reality technology. Facebook has partnered with Ray-Ban for new augmented reality glasses, and the first product in this collaboration is launching soon. Also, smart glasses will be in charge of paving the way for the “metaverse” that Facebook intends to build.
But Zuckerberg clarifies that the metaverse is not just virtual reality. “It’s going to be accessible across all of our different computing platforms; VR and AR, but also PC, and also mobile devices and game consoles.” — he explains to The Verge in an interview.
“I think if we’re successful, then maybe five years from now, or seven years from now, people will primarily think about us as a metaverse company, rather than a mobile internet company, that’s kind of helping to build these kinds of experiences.”
Zuckerberg assures that this project cannot be the work of a single company but the work of the entire industry. However, not only Facebook has started this path, other companies have already expressed this intention as well. Sony has invested $1000 million to create a metaverse and has entrusted this giant task to Epic Games.
Titles like Fortnite, Roblox or Animal Crossing: New Horizons have announced that they will shape that metaverse. The video game industry has taken the lead in this project, but entertainment is not the only thing that could have a place in this cyberspace.
The ‘metaverse’ is intended to become an ecosystem for work, communication and shopping. And advertising remains an important part of Facebook’s social media strategy and will probably use it in the metaverse as well.