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Facebook Steps to the Metaverse

by Neil Mawston | Aug 19, 2021

Facebook has been saying for some time it wants to turn into a "metaverse company".

Essentially, this means a shift from today's "flat" 2D Internet to tomorrow's 3D XR world.

Facebook this week took a step closer to that vision, with Horizon Workrooms. You strap on a $300 Oculus Quest 2 VR headset, log into the free (beta) app, and host corporate meetings with cartoon avatars of your work colleagues in a virtual room. Your worklife, your officelife, your homelife, become more interactive, more exciting. Think of it as Zoom or Second Life on steroids. Rivals include (or will include) Microsoft, Apple, Google, Roblox, ByteDance, Tencent, and many others.

Why do this?

CEO Mark Zuckerberg seems convinced the planet is evolving from the universe to the metaverse. The home metaverse, game metaverse, outdoor metaverse, corporate metaverse, and so on. The young and the rich, for pleasure or work, in China, Europe and North America, will soon inhabit a parallel world of physical, augmented, and virtual reality in a shared online space. Where the young and rich go, the eyeballs will go, the virtual social networks will go, and the adverts will go. Facebook must follow the money. It does not want to get left behind.

Not everyone is convinced, though. Some doubt cartoon avatars (or future derivatives) will be taken seriously in a solemn work environment. Others are not keen to perch a heavy VR or AR headset on their ears or crown for (say) 8 hours a day. Some think sitting in an immersive graphical world might harm eye, brain or vascular health in the longterm. Other cynics say Facebook's 3D metaverse ride is a snazzy distraction from peak advertising marketshare in today's old 2D world.

The metaverse is coming. Whether it looks like Facebook is still up for debate.






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