On October 28, Facebook altered the course of its history. The company, which owns the social media platforms Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and the Oculus VR headsets, announced a name change at an online conference, changing the name of the company to Meta in allusion to Metaverse. Mark Zuckerberg, the found & CEO of Facebook, thinks that the metaverse is the future of social media and is working to further develop it.
Meta will mobilize no less than 10 billion dollars and 10,000 people in Europe to develop, animate, and federate a metaverse, according to the company. The term metaverse is a contraction of the phrase meta-universe, which was produced by combining the Greek terms meta (which means “beyond,” “beyond”) and Verse (which means “afterward”) (for the universe).
The concept in practice refers to communal 3D virtual environments that are immersive, accessible via linked headsets, and in which users interact with one another through the use of avatars or holographic representations.
Fiction or Reality
Is this science fiction? No, not at all. There are already liminal creative areas in existence. Dream, for example, is an interactive play based on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream that features real performers. The immersive play uses light and technology to change the characters on stage and immerse the audience in the production, creating an almost video game-like experience for everyone in attendance.
Participating in virtual events becomes much more appealing to individuals who are already acquainted with the metaverse (78 percent are ready to attend a virtual concert, 87 percent for a film).
By virtue of its possession of the Oculus virtual reality headset, Meta (formerly Facebook) has already gained an unquestionable advantage in its conquest of this new virtual environment. The company is expected to release a new version of the Oculus Quest that is more advanced (and hence more costly) than the previous model.
The engineers at the holding company are also hard at work building software that will allow users to explore virtual surroundings. This is a requirement for users to be able to “actually” navigate virtual environments.
Not Just Facebook
Other players are also fighting for dominance in the race. For example, MetaHuman Creator is a real-time cloud-based application that allows users can recreate detailed characteristics, such as facial features, skin tone, and hair wrinkles and scars, in real-time.
With the backing of Softbank, DNABlock also has a similar mission to develop more inclusive and varied avatars in the metaverse.
However, it is not just the realistic appearances that are appealing to individuals. Global consumers believe that their “online identities” should be consistent with their real-life ethics and beliefs (88 percent).
With the advent of social media, the smartphone, and now the metaverse, our digital and physical lives are becoming more and more inextricably linked. Indeed, as many as 4.6 billion active Internet users engage in an online activity on a daily basis, with an average daily screen time of 5-6 hours in the United States alone. We can therefore see why tech companies are trying to get a foothold in the metaverse as soon as possible.