What is Metaverse as declared by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg?

Facebook’s choice to rename itself, Meta, indicates the company’s perception of development potential beyond its eponymous social-media platform. The rebranding is intended to demonstrate how Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is reorganising the internet business around the metaverse, which he views as a significant growth area that may also attract younger people. “The next platform will be even more immersive — an embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it. We call this the metaverse, and it will touch every product we build.” Zuckerberg said in a statement

The firm, which has made significant investments in augmented and virtual reality, stated that the transition will unite its many apps and technology under a single new name. It stated that it will not alter its corporate structure. The digital behemoth, which has over 2.9 billion active monthly users, has been under increased scrutiny from worldwide politicians and authorities in recent years. Whistleblower and former Facebook employee Frances Haugen recently disclosed papers claiming that the business prioritised profit before user safety. In recent weeks, Haugen has testified before a US Senate panel and members in the UK Parliament. The records, according to Zuckerberg, are being exploited to construct a “false picture.”

What has happened?

On October 28, after much conjecture, Facebook managing platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, was renamed as Meta. At the company’s annual Connect conference, CEO Mark Zuckerberg informed attendees: “Right now, our brand is so tightly linked to one product that it can’t possibly represent everything that we’re doing today, let alone in the future. Over time, I hope that we are seen as a metaverse company, and I want to anchor our work and identity on what we’re building toward.”

What Is Metaverse?

The Greek prefix “meta” signifies “beyond, after, or over.” So, the term “metaverse” refers to a place that exists outside of the world or universe as we know it, one that lives in the virtual realm yet seems just as real. However, the notion is not novel. If you’ve watched movies like Matrix or Real Player One, you’ll understand what I’m talking about. A virtual reality realm that individuals can access and reach others using a gadget or device. While gaming businesses have made the initial forays into the metaverse, the virtual world imagined by the tech titans will be more comprehensive, including everything from the office to leisure.

What is your role in Metaverse?

Metaverse is a notion of an online environment in which individuals may interact with one another, cooperate, and communicate electronically without having to be in the same physical area. For example, you may be in New Delhi and your family could be in Darjeeling, yet you could have a meal at the same table. It’s like Zoom or Hangouts Meet on a much larger scale. Rather than gazing at a monitor, you’d be able to view your family members across the table. The possibilities of virtual reality are enormous, particularly from a commercial standpoint. What about being able to try on the dress you selected online before placing an order?

The metaverse might also be a big thing for the work-from-home movement in the midst of the coronavirus epidemic. Employees might join coworkers in a virtual workplace instead of meeting them on a video call screen. The VR, or virtual reality, headset looks to be the gadget of choice for the metaverse at the outset, at least according to Facebook. In addition, Facebook already has its own in-house product, the Oculus VR headset, which it acquired for USD 2 billion in 2014.

How will Metaverse work?

Facebook Horizon, an invitation-only immersive environment that users may visit by putting on an Oculus headset, was launched in 2019 as the company’s first venture into creating a VR world. Horizon Workrooms, a tool that allows co-workers using VR headsets to attend meetings in a virtual space where they all appear as cartoonish 3D representations of themselves, was released in August.

However, the metaverse is expected to become a far more developed space in the future. The metaverse, as venture capitalist Matthew Ball stated in a blog post, will be “a fully functioning economy… where individuals and businesses will be able to create, own, invest, sell” products. There are already gaming tokens that are monetizable and a new class of assets called NFTs (non-fungible tokens) has also emerged that only exist digitally”.

Further, Ball stated that it will “be an experience that spans both the digital and physical worlds” and offer “unprecedented interoperability of data, digital items/assets, content”. In an interview, Zuckerberg claimed that “the metaverse isn’t just virtual reality” and would be accessible across various computing platforms like virtual and augmented reality and also on the personal computer, mobile devices and gaming consoles”.

How is Metaverse being built?

Online games such as Fortnite and gaming platforms such as Roblox have started to experiment with virtual graphics, with Fortnite hosting a virtual reality concert with pop singer Ariana Grande. The Facebook metaverse, on the other hand, will require sustained investment in product and tech expertise, as well as expansion throughout the business. It has already declared a USD 50 million commitment to work with industrial partners, human rights organisations, governments, non-profits, and academic institutions “to determine how to build these technologies responsibly”.

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