Explanation: What Facebook Horizon Workshops Tell Us About Mark Zuckerberg’s Grand Plan to Create a VR Metaverse

The term “metauniverse”. CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg mentioned it is a buzzword about new technology trends during the last call about his company’s profits. By meta universe, Zuckerberg meant the next phase of the Internet, where our physical world combines with the virtual, creating a completely new environment. Yes, he thinks, we will work, play and live in the future. In fact, Zuckerberg is so convinced of this concept that he has a full plan to turn his trillion-dollar social media company into a meta-universe company in the coming years.

So how does Facebook achieve Zuckerberg’s vision of the “metaverse” of VR? Or is it just a bold dream now? We explain.

Facebook wants to go beyond smartphones: The iPhone is back in 2007, and although Apple still sells it by the millions and will continue to do so, it is clear that technology companies are now looking for growth outside of smartphones. Zuckerberg’s alternate reality combines the real world with the digital imagination, and the smartphone really has no place in this combination. He needs a new type of device, probably the virtual reality (VR) headset of the time produced by Oculus Zuckerberg.

Horizon study rooms This is the first step to the “meta universe” of VR: with Oculus, Zuckerberg’s plan is to move from smartphones and laptops to virtual reality headsets to attract billions of Facebook users in a more exciting way. Although Facebook has had limited success in spreading virtual reality to major consumers, despite spending billions of dollars, last week the company took the first major step in expanding the potential of this technology by launching Horizon Workrooms, VR version of Zoom and Slack. .

The basic idea here is to abandon the old style of video conferencing with a webcam and instead use a VR headset (say, Facebook’s Oculus Quest 2) to meet in the VR space. Facebook presents its Horizon desktops as a new way to interact with colleagues, but, of course, in virtual reality. Employees can create avatars (these cartoon characters in 3D animated workspaces) and communicate with colleagues in virtual meetings. While Horizon Workrooms continues to test the beta, Facebook is already allowing its Oculus Quest 2 users to try the app.

While not quite Metaverse yet, Horizon seems a natural extension of Zuckerberg’s strategy to introduce VR as the next computing platform. Zuckerberg himself acknowledged that it would take several years to create a metaverse, but the launch of Workrooms in the midst of a pandemic, when everyone is connected remotely, shows that our workplace is changing. People will continue to work remotely, with some restrictions, once things are formal. But there is a need to rethink the office, and for this you need to move to immersion technology. Study rooms, in a way, lead everyone to one virtual room, regardless of physical distance. Unlike a Zoom meeting, where you have the option to turn off the camera and / or microphone and stay off the radar while the meeting is still on, with Horizon you can watch and chat with your colleagues’ virtual avatars. You can watch them stand, speak, who raised their hands during the meeting, and instantly find out who is not there, even if there is their avatar.

… But Facebook is an advertising campaign: Facebook spends billions on the metaverse, and for good reason. Although Facebook will sell hardware through Oculus’ VR headsets, the real money will be in advertising.

Zuckerberg has already said that advertising in the metaverse is the basis of strategy, but how will Facebook present commerce in this digital world?

If you’ve ever heard of Minecraft, Roblox and Fortnite, you know how these platforms and games sell digital products to users. For example, the Gucci Dionysus bag recently sold for 350,000 Robux – about $ 4,115 – and was only available on the online gaming platform Roblox. Gucci’s presence on Roblox shows that the gaming platform, initially popular with children, can make a lot of money, which is fast becoming a well-known platform in the metaverse.

Zuckerberg’s dream of a “metauniverse” will pay off: the concept of a metauniverse sounds intriguing at first. In fact, its origins come from Neil Stevenson’s 1992 science fiction novel The Snow Catastrophe, where the metaverse was a virtual world. Zuckerberg talks about moving in a new direction, the transition from mobile computing to the creation of a VR ecosystem.

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But it would also mean the end of the social network we all know. The value of social networks will change in the world of the meter universe and how you will feel it. Instagram and Facebook feel natural on smartphones, but who knows how they are transforming in cyberspace.

In addition, there are restrictions on equipment. Not only are they bulky, but the Oculus headsets aren’t ready for the metaverse yet. The biggest problem with the whole meta-universe concept is that it looks like a polished marketing campaign aimed at expanding the use of VR and AR headsets.

Facebook may have created a social media economy on its own, but this time there are other big players who also want us to live in the future metaworld. Zuckerberg not only has to develop his own hardware, software, and experience, but he also needs large investments to build basic infrastructure and billions of dollars to make the metaworld a reality. Based on Facebook’s track record of privacy and misinformation, consumers may not choose to live in the “metaverse” of virtual reality.

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