Get ready for the metaverse.
In a new interview on Thursday, Mark Zuckerberg said that over the next five years, he wants people to think of Facebook not as a social media company, but a ‘metaverse’ company, akin to a virtual environment where people can work and play for most of their 24 hours without leaving their home.
‘And my hope, if we do this well, I think over the next five years or so, in this next chapter of our company, I think we will effectively transition from people seeing us as primarily being a social media company to being a metaverse company,’ Zuckerberg said in the interview with The Verge.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that over the next five years, he wants people to think of it not as a social media company, but a ‘metaverse’ company
‘And obviously, all of the work that we’re doing across the apps that people use today contribute directly to this vision in terms of building community and creators.
‘But this is something that I’m spending a lot of time on, thinking a lot about, we’re working on a ton. And I think it’s just a big part of the next chapter for the work that we’re going to do in the whole industry.’
So what exactly is the metaverse?
As Zuckerberg describes it, it’s a ‘vision’ that spans the entire tech industry, calling it the successor to the mobile internet.
‘But you can think about the metaverse as an embodied internet, where instead of just viewing content — you are in it,’ he continued.
‘And you feel present with other people as if you were in other places, having different experiences that you couldn’t necessarily do on a 2D app or webpage, like dancing, for example, or different types of fitness.’
‘You can think about the metaverse as an embodied internet, where instead of just viewing content — you are in it,’ Zuckerberg said. It’s similar to the OASIS in Ernest Cline’s novel Ready Player One with its protagonist Wade Watts (pictured)
In the OASIS, users can create avatars, including popular movie characters, such as the Iron Giant (pictured)
Essentially, it’s an environment similar to the OASIS in Ernest Cline’s novel and the blockbuster Warner Bros. movie Ready Player One.
The fictional OASIS, created by a Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs-like character named James Halliday, lets people, including the novel’s protagonist, Wade Watts, put on a headset and enter a virtual world where they can be anybody or do anything, all from the comfort of their own home.
Presumably Zuckerberg wants the company’s Oculus division to build the aforementioned headset.
Users can create avatars, including popular movie characters, such as the Iron Giant, so they are able to look like anything they wish from the time they wake up to the time they go to bed.
They can go off to far away worlds for rock climbing trips with Batman, visit distant locales they could never afford in real life or become best friends (or more) with people they’ve never met in real life.
However, the Facebook CEO says his vision – which he has been working on for several months – would not only reach into virtual reality, but augmented reality, computers, mobile devices and game consoles as well.
Zuckerberg is seen wearing the Oculus Quest 2 headset (pictured), which he may want to build a headset to allow people to access the metaverse
The New York Times recently detailed some areas where the ‘metaverse’ is already starting to happen, including Nintendo’s popular Animal Crossing, or video games such as Roblox and Fortnite, all of which can be played on mobile devices and game consoles.
Zuckerberg’s vision is that all of the aforementioned devices combine into a ‘persistent, synchronous environment where we can be together,’ resulting in a ‘hybrid’ between today’s social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and an environment where you can ‘be’ present, even if you are not physically there.
Science fiction writer Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, published in 1992, touches on the subject.
After a worldwide economic collapse, the US has been broken up into different regions owned by powerful organizations and entrepreneurs who use their regions for various purposes, often nefarious in nature.
People spend much of their time in the ‘Metaverse’, a virtual multi-player world where people own virtual homes, visit ‘bars’ and go celebrity spotting.
Stephenson is credited with creating the ‘metaverse’ phrase as a successor to the internet.
The ‘metaverse’ is already starting to happen, including in games like Nintendo’s popular Animal Crossing
Science fiction writer Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, published in 1992, touches on the subject. Stephenson is also credited with creating the ‘metaverse’ phrase
Zuckerberg also touched on the fact that the metaverse doesn’t have to be a 3D environment, but it could be 2D as well.
‘You might be able to jump into an experience, like a 3D concert or something, from your phone, so you can get elements that are 2D or elements that are 3D.’
The 37-year-old billionaire noted that the COVID-19 pandemic which forced a significant portion of the global population to work remotely and stop interacting with colleagues physically helped play a part in his thinking on building this environment.
‘…[I]n work meetings over the last year, where I sometimes find it hard to remember what meeting someone said something, in because they all look the same and they all blend together,’ he explained.
‘And I think part of that is because we don’t have this sense of presence in space. What virtual and augmented reality can do, and what the metaverse broadly is going to help people experience, is a sense of presence that I think is just much more natural in the way that we’re made to interact. And I think it will be more comfortable. The interactions that we have will be a lot richer, they’ll feel real.
‘In the future, instead of just doing this over a phone call, you’ll be able to sit as a hologram on my couch, or I’ll be able to sit as a hologram on your couch, and it’ll actually feel like we’re in the same place, even if we’re in different states or hundreds of miles apart. So I think that that is really powerful.’