Facebook has announced a strong commitment to the ‘metaverse’. So much so that Mark Zuckerberg’s company has changed its name to Meta, referring to the promising world of virtual and augmented reality that awaits us in the coming years. But what does this new environment really look like for the hitherto named Facebook?
Facebook (now Meta) describes the ‘metaverse’ as “a set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who are not in the same physical space as you”. In other words, it is a kind of world that will allow you to live an experience very similar to reality, but without being, precisely, the real world. In fact, the company points out that in its metaverse it will be possible to buy products, chat with friends, go to concerts or even work.
Is the ‘metaverse0 the future of the internet? In a way, yes. In fact, that’s how Mark Zuckerberg described it during his ‘Facebook Connect’ presentation. The ‘metaverse’ goes beyond being able to search for anything on Google, or chat with friends or family through multiple messaging apps, or share content on social networks. The goal, after all, is to create a more realistic experience through the Internet.
How will we be able to interact with Facebook’s ‘metaverse’? Probably with devices adapted for this purpose, such as augmented reality glasses, screens or even watches. Facebook, in fact, seems to be developing several products so that its virtual world can start to become a reality soon. But it is likely that other manufacturers will also develop tools, both for Facebook’s ‘metaverse’ and for that of other companies.
Yes, Meta (Facebook) has not invented the ‘metaverse’, although it is one of the companies that is betting most strongly on this new world that, precisely, does not necessarily have to be in 3D or through augmented reality glasses. In fact, the ‘metaverse’ has always been present, but in different forms.
For example, NTFs could also be considered part of the ‘metaverse’. After all, they are digital possessions that can only be interacted with virtually.
Epic Games has also shown a lot of interest in this virtual world with a somewhat different approach to what Mark Zuckerberg proposes. Tim Sweeney, CEO of the developer of games like ‘Fortnite’, commented in an interview to The Washington Post that the ‘metaverse’ could refer to a virtual world where users interact with brands, where they will be able to promote their products based on experiences.
So, can there be more than one ‘metaverse’? Yes, although the goal for companies like Nvidia, which are also interested in a virtual world, is to create an environment similar to the World Wide Web, where companies share resources so that users “can teleport you to different worlds,” said Richard Kerris, vice president Omniverse at Nvidia (Via LA Times).
The still-present pandemic has helped to further reinforce the idea of living in a parallel virtual universe. At a time when most of the population has been locked in their homes, it is not a bad idea to move forward in creating a concept such as the one proposed by Facebook. However, “living in the metaverse” is not something we are going to see in a few months. The company itself, despite its enthusiasm, is realistic.