Mark Zuckerberg wants to create his own OASIS (Ready Player One), where people can enter a virtual world and be anything from the comfort of their couch. He wants users to know Facebook as “a metaverse company” rather than “a social media company” in the next five years.
“We’re going to be the most forward-leaning company on remote work at our scale,” he told The Verge in his June 22 interview.
A metaverse is a virtual-reality setting where users can interact with computer-generated environments and users within those environments. In other words, a metaverse blends virtual and physical environments for you to conduct various tasks and activities.
Zuckerberg defines it as, “an embodied internet where instead of just viewing content – you are in it”.
Recently, the US government introduced five bipartisan antitrust bills that could affect Facebook’s ownership of two popular apps: Instagram and Whatsapp. This decision could heavily impact the company’s ability to acquire other companies. Zuckerberg’s decision comes right after the US government’s move to regulate Big Tech. By taking Facebook out of its “social media ” confines, Zuckerberg wishes to expand its reach. It’s not clear whether this decision is influenced by the antitrust bills or is Zuckerberg’s response to the worldwide shift towards remote work. “I think within five to 10 years, probably about half the company is going to be remote. Let’s double down on that now and hire people in all these different places, which I think is going to create more opportunity,” he said in the interview.
Facebook is already in Virtual Reality through Facebook Horizon, a virtual-reality community that operates on an invite-only strategy. Going metaverse will take things further. According to Zuckerberg, “virtual reality is the technology that delivers the clearest form of presence.” Zuckerberg wants to create virtual experiences that allow people to explore opportunities without being bound by physical circumstances.
Growing up, Zuckerberg did not have significant exposure to computers, which he believes to be an important aspect of anybody’s life. With a metaverse company, Zuckerberg wants to make sure that people can access internet-based opportunities by “defying distance” and “experience and explore virtual worlds as they grow ”.
Zuckerberg does not intend to do this by himself. He told verge, “The metaverse is a vision that spans many companies — the whole industry. And it’s certainly not something that any company is going to build, but I think a big part of our next chapter is going to hopefully be contributing to building that, in partnership with a lot of other companies and creators and developers.”
Zuckerberg made his intention very clear: he wants to help people create valuable experiences by delivering a “strong sense of presence” with people that matter in their lives. He explained that with mobile phones and mobile internet, we already have the metaverse-like experience where we connect with others without leaving our homes.
Facebook has already started coding the project, so the Facebook metaverse isn’t too far in the future.