Zuckerberg turns Facebook into trillions of dollars into a “metaverse” company, tells investors – TechCrunch

“I wanted to discuss it now so you can see the future we’re working towards and how our major company-wide initiatives will adapt to that,” Zuckerberg said in the call. “What is the metaverse? It is a virtual environment where you can be present with people in digital spaces. You can think of this as an embodied Internet in which you are inside, instead of just looking at it.

These comments echoed an interview he gave to The Virgin last week, detailing some of the company’s future goals.

The metavers offers Facebook the opportunity to draw a line between its lunar efforts and its core business, building a reach center that shines on augmented reality and virtual reality platforms, but that feels so kind to the mobile and computers. Zuckerberg’s definition of metaverse is broader than some others, but it comes down to building a version of the web that feels more like an MMO than a collection of web pages.

Early versions of Facebook’s Horizon platform. Image Credits: Facebook

It’s hard to imagine now, but Facebook arrived late on mobiles. A decade ago, Facebook apps were trouble-prone HTML5 experiences, even as fluid native mobile apps quickly became the standard for major software makers. In 2012, Zuckerberg realized that apps were the future, which was quickly becoming the present, and the Facebook founder struggled to direct the company’s attention toward mobile at all levels. Facebook does not intend to make the same mistake twice. This philosophy became very clear for the first time when the company bought the industry-leading VR hardware manufacturer VR, Oculus, in 2014.

“Mobile is today’s platform, and now we’re also preparing for tomorrow’s platforms,” Zuckerberg said around the $ 2 billion acquisition. “Oculus has the opportunity to create the most social platform in history and change the way we work, play and communicate.”

Becoming a “metaverse company” is a new evolution of this thinking. For many, Roblox has seemed to be the clearest embodiment of today’s metavers: a social world where users can jump between virtual experiences by creating their own experiences within themselves. In particular, it is not a virtual reality experience that thrives heavily on mobiles and computers. Roblox’s vision has resonated among investors, as the public company is now worth more than $ 45 billion, a fraction of the value of Facebook, but more than almost any other gaming company in the West.

Facebook has shown continued interest in this space. In June, they bought a Roblox-like platform called Crayta for an undisclosed sum, and have spent much of the last few years buying a large number of virtual reality-focused game studios.

The company has tried to build its own social reality-focused social center, but most have run out of trouble. The Horizon platform, similar to a Facebook metaverse, made headlines when it was announced almost two years ago, but the company has had little to say during its extremely quiet beta period. This week, Facebook’s Andrew Bosworth detailed that video game vice president Vivek Sharma would take on the effort under a new metaverse-focused product group led by Instagram’s Vishal Shah.

There is a very particular distinction in Facebook’s choice to change the brand itself as a “metaverse” company instead of an AR / VR company. While some may have seen that specialized hardware is essential for a space Internet, it is becoming increasingly clear that users are not clamoring to adopt the first headphones, even as other new gaming platforms accelerate their growth. . While the company’s Quest 2 headphones have sold much better than their previous devices (according to Facebook, which has yet to post any number of difficult sales), it’s unclear if they really need a world full of users with Facebook glasses and headphones tied to the face. to embrace this ideal metaverse, or if it would just be the cherry on top.

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