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Zuckerberg turns trillion-dollar Facebook into ‘metaverse’ company, tells investors – TechCrunch

“I wanted to discuss this now so you can see the future we’re working towards and how our major initiative across the company will fit into it,” Zuckerberg said on the call. “What is the metaverse?” It is a virtual environment where you can be present with people in digital spaces. You can kind of think of it as an embodied Internet that you are in rather than just watching.

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

The Metaverse offers Facebook the opportunity to draw a line between its moonshot efforts and its core business, building a far-reaching hub that shines on augmented reality and virtual reality platforms but feels just as mobile friendly. and desktop computer. Zuckerberg’s definition of the metaverse is broader than others, but it’s like making a version of the web that looks more like an MMO than a collection of web pages.

First renderings of Facebook’s Horizon platform. Image via Facebook.

It’s hard to imagine now, but Facebook was lagging behind mobile. Ten years ago, Facebook apps were buggy and crash-prone HTML5 experiences, even as smooth native mobile apps were quickly becoming the norm for major software makers. In 2012, Zuckerberg realized that apps were the future – quickly becoming the present – and the founder of Facebook worked to get the company’s attention to mobile at every level. Facebook does not intend to make the same mistake twice. This philosophy first became very clear when the company purchased industry-leading VR hardware maker Oculus in 2014.

“Mobile is the platform of today, and now we are also preparing for the platforms of tomorrow,” Zuckerberg said at the time of the $ 2 billion acquisition. “Oculus is fortunate to be creating the most social platform ever and changing the way we work, play and communicate. “

Becoming a “metaverse company” is a further development of this thinking. To many, Roblox has seemed to be the clearest embodiment of the metaverse today – a social world where users can switch between virtual experiences while creating their own experiences within. Notably, it is not a virtual reality experience that largely thrives on mobiles and desktops. Roblox’s vision has resonated with investors as the now public company is worth more than $ 45 billion – a fraction of Facebook’s value but more than nearly any other game company in the West.

Facebook has signaled its continued interest in this space. In June, they bought a Roblox-like platform called Crayta for an undisclosed sum, and they’ve spent much of the last few years buying a slew of VR-focused game studios.

The company has tried to create its own VR-centric social hubs, but most have fallen flat. Facebook’s metaverse-like platform Horizon made headlines when it was announced almost two years ago, but the company hasn’t had much to say during its beta period. extremely calm. This week, Facebook’s Andrew Bosworth explained that vice president of games, Vivek Sharma, will take over the effort as part of a new metaverse-centric product group led by Instagram’s Vishal Shah.

There is a very particular distinction in Facebook’s choice to rebrand itself as a “metaverse” company as opposed to an AR / VR company. While some may have viewed specialized hardware as essential to a spatial internet, it is increasingly clear that users are not clamoring to adopt early headsets, even as other new gaming platforms are dramatically speeding up their use. growth. While the company’s Quest 2 headset has sold much better than its previous devices – according to Facebook, which has yet to release specific sales figures – it’s unclear whether they really need one. world filled with users with Facebook glasses and headsets strapped to their faces to embrace that metaverse ideal – or if that would just be the icing on the cake.

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