Embracing the metaverse and virtual reality, Mark Zuckerberg has announced the next phase of Facebook
In recent months, rumors about a possible rebranding of Facebook began to trickle through social networks with speculation about a new name and what the reasons behind the corporate identity change could be.
Yesterday, as part of the Facebook Connect 2021 event, Mark Zuckerberg finally made it official. Under the name Meta, the company will launch a new phase. Meta will maintain all of its applications—including Facebook—but will focus on developing a new branch of the business: virtual reality platforms.
What is Meta?
The first clues about the new path Facebook would be taking began in July this year when Zuckerberg alluded to the metaverse—and the world of virtual reality in general—as the next big frontier for the company.
With the arrival of Meta, Facebook is sticking to its mission to connect people, but looking to take things a step further by creating immersive digital experiences where the idea is connections can have the same quality of reality as in the physical world.
As part of the rebranding, the company intends to closely associate itself with the concept of the metaverse as the future of virtual reality which will transcend today’s experience of interpersonal contact through social networks.
Metaverse: The Next Frontier
The fact that we live on screens now is undeniable. Much of what we do in our daily lives, from work to leisure, happens through these digital devices, making them an extension of the real world.
We interact with everyone over text, photos, and video, but although we do so constantly (and at times obsessively), many of these interactions are limited to our visual senses alone.
The metaverse aims to create connections and interactions with people that emulate reality. Our physical gestures, body language, and even objects can be transferred to a virtual plane where we will be able to have the same experiences as in daily life.
During the event, Zuckerberg noted that in the metaverse, the aim is for virtual environments to fulfill the objective of a meeting, something that until now has been exclusive to "reality".
With this foray into virtual reality, the company aims to make meetings between friends, family, or colleagues possible in a way that emulates reality and makes a feeling of authentic connection possible.
What will Meta's metaverse consist of?
So far they have designed three virtual spaces in which people will be able to interact: Horizon Home, Horizon Worlds, and Horizon Workrooms.
Using Horizon Home, the idea is you'll be able to design and customize your personal space. In a way, this will be the first place people enter to access the metaverse. With the possibility of creating a photorealistic or fantasy avatar and featuring a virtual closet, this first point aims to be a virtual home for people.
A space for people to create experiences that would be difficult to have in physical reality, Horizon Worlds seeks to allow people to build and invite friends over to virtual worlds.
Horizon Workrooms is intended to create a meeting space for people working remotely, enabling collaborative work and creating a sense of togetherness.
Features of the metaverse
In addition to these three virtual spaces, features that will differentiate the metaverse from other virtual experiences were highlighted during the presentation, including:
As mentioned above, the main differentiator of the metaverse will be the immersive experience. With this, it is intended to emulate the way in which we interact with others in physical reality, from our body gestures to the facial expressions that characterize us.
In the metaverse, avatars will be the way we present ourselves to the world. There will be those with photorealistic characteristics that faithfully imitate our physical or fantastic features, turning us into whoever we want to be.
Each user will have a private space that they can design as they wish and that will become the starting point to enter other virtual experiences. And, just as in homes, it will be possible to invite friends and family for meetings or parties.
Similar to clicking on a link to go to another page, the metaverse will allow us to teleport to other virtual worlds and move through gaming spaces, homes, work, concerts, and other virtual spaces.
Any content or objects that can be digitized can be part of the metaverse. Photos, art, music, books, and games will be objects that you will be able to have inside your virtual space.
Hardware to enter the metaverse
In addition to the above, the central issue of the whole Meta proposal is the hardware that users will need to be able to access the metaverse.
To date, Facebook has developed partnerships with brands such as Ray-Ban to bring to market smart glasses that allow users to take photos, record videos, listen to music, and receive calls.
However, among its most ambitious plans are Project Cambria and Project Nazare. Currently under development, Project Cambria is a high-tech headset designed to capture expressions with the aim of achieving a natural, immersive experience with others. While Project Nazare is the code name for its augmented reality glasses prototype that seek to give people to access virtual worlds from anywhere without having to use a headset.
After seventeen years (and many controversies), Facebook has been busy working away in the background making way for a new phase of the company: the metaverse. Will it work? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.