Today at Facebook’s annual Connect conference, CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduced Meta, which brings together Facebook’s apps and technologies under one new company brand. Meta’s focus will be to bring the metaverse to life and help people connect, find communities and grow businesses.
“We are at the beginning of the next chapter for the internet, and it’s the next chapter for our company too,” Zuckerberg said during his address.
According to a statement from Facebook, which has seen its share of troubles recently, the metaverse will feel like a hybrid of today’s online social experiences, sometimes expanded into three dimensions or projected into the physical world. It will allow users to share immersive experiences with other people even when they can’t be together — and do things together you couldn’t do in the physical world. Um, wasn’t that Facebook? According to the company, Meta is the next evolution in a long line of social technologies, and it’s ushering in a new chapter for our company.
In 2014, Facebook purchased gaming headset company Oculus for $2 billion, and it has been building out a virtual social platform called Horizon.
Wearing an outfit on par with Steve Jobs and a School of Visual Arts student, Zuckerberg shared more about this plan. “Facebook was born in a specific time and place. A college campus. The web. It was what we could build at the time. […] Yet here we are in 2021 and our devices are still designed around apps, not people. The experiences we’re allowed to build and use are more tightly controlled than ever. And high taxes on creative new ideas are stifling. This is not the way that we are meant to use technology. The metaverse gives us an opportunity to change that if we build it well. But it’s going to take all of us — creators, developers, companies of all sizes. Together, we can finally put people at the center of our technology.”
Our annual Connect conference brings together augmented and virtual reality developers, content creators, marketers and others to celebrate the industry’s momentum and growth. This year’s virtual event explored what experiences in the metaverse could feel like over the next decade — from social connection, to entertainment, gaming, fitness, work, education and commerce. We also announced new tools to help people build for the metaverse, including Presence Platform, which will enable new mixed reality experiences on Quest 2, and a $150-million investment in immersive learning to train the next generation of creators.
Zuckerberg shared his vision more in a letter:
“In recent decades, technology has given people the power to connect and express ourselves more naturally. When I started Facebook, we mostly typed text on websites. When we got phones with cameras, the internet became more visual and mobile. As connections got faster, video became a richer way to share experiences. We’ve gone from desktop to web to mobile; from text to photos to video. But this isn’t the end of the line.
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.
The defining quality of the metaverse will be a feeling of presence — like you are right there with another person or in another place. Feeling truly present with another person is the ultimate dream of social technology. That is why we are focused on building this.
In the metaverse, you’ll be able to do almost anything you can imagine — get together with friends and family, work, learn, play, shop, create — as well as completely new experiences that don’t really fit how we think about computers or phones today. We made a film that explores how you might use the metaverse one day.
In this future, you will be able to teleport instantly as a hologram to be at the office without a commute, at a concert with friends, or in your parents’ living room to catch up. This will open up more opportunity no matter where you live. You’ll be able to spend more time on what matters to you, cut down time in traffic, and reduce your carbon footprint.
Think about how many physical things you have today that could just be holograms in the future. Your TV, your perfect work setup with multiple monitors, your board games and more — instead of physical things assembled in factories, they’ll be holograms designed by creators around the world.
You’ll move across these experiences on different devices — augmented reality glasses to stay present in the physical world, virtual reality to be fully immersed, and phones and computers to jump in from existing platforms. This isn’t about spending more time on screens; it’s about making the time we already spend better.
According to Zuckerberg, the new metaverse will not be created by one company. “It will be built by creators and developers making new experiences and digital items that are interoperable and unlock a massively larger creative economy than the one constrained by today’s platforms and their policies.”
The founder and CEO sees the company’s role as accelerating the development of the fundamental technologies, social platforms and creative tools to bring the metaverse to life, and to weave these technologies through Meta social media apps. “We believe the metaverse can enable better social experiences than anything that exists today, and we will dedicate our energy to helping achieve its potential.”
Zuckerberg added, “corporate structure is not changing, however, how we report on our financials will. Starting with our results for the fourth quarter of 2021, we plan to report on two operating segments: Family of Apps and Reality Labs. We also intend to start trading under the new stock ticker we have reserved, MVRS, on December 1. Today’s announcement does not affect how we use or share data.”
Metaverse, Metamucil or Meta Man?
From drawing boobs and Marge Simpson on the new logo to outright skepticism, Twitter reactions to the social giant’s rebranding was fast, furious and hilarious. Here are some:
You can watch the full Connect keynote and learn more about how the metaverse will unlock new opportunities at meta.com.
Welcome to the Metaverse?