Like Facebook, but Meta
Facebook Gets a Rebrand & Geeks Out over the Future of VR
There’s a quote that came to mind a few minutes into watching Mark Zuckerberg’s “Facebook Connect” event last night:
“Does a struggling salesman start turning up on a bicycle? No, he turns up in a newer car – perception, yeah?” – David Brent | The Office
It may be taken from arguably the UK’s best ever comedy series, but with the money and resource Facebook’s founder is investing into this major pivot, it’s clear how serious he is about the future of the metaverse and the role his “family of apps” will play in this new virtual world. Now Mark Zuckerberg is nowhere near struggling salesman status, but Facebook has not been without its share of negative press over the years. However, after last night’s Facebook Connect event it was clear that this hasn’t stopped Zuckerberg from forging ahead with what he believes is the next evolution of social connection – the metaverse – and how his rebranded parent company, Meta, will pioneer this evolution into Virtual and Augmented reality.
Let’s talk semantics.
Essentially Meta is to Facebook what Alphabet Inc. is to Google. When these platforms became bigger than themselves and began developing and acquiring new platforms and technologies, they needed an all-encompassing moniker that represented their full offering. For Alphabet this included Google, YouTube, Nest, Doubleclick, Waze, Fitbit and more, and now when we talk about “Meta” this encompasses what was formerly known as Facebook’s “Family of Apps” – the Facebook platform, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp and Oculus (where the journey to the metaverse begins).
What is the metaverse?
As defined by Meta – “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 let you share immersive experiences with other people even when you can’t be together — and do things together you couldn’t do in the physical world. It’s the next evolution in a long line of social technologies, and it’s ushering in a new chapter for our company.”
It’s very early days and the metaverse is 5-10 years away from being a major part of people’s lives but it’s clear that the journey is underway and Facebook’s Connect session last night felt like a call to arms for developers and creators to help pave the way.
It’s unlikely that Meta will succeed in being a distraction from concerns people have over Facebook as a business, and as such, Mark did address the elephant in the virtual room he was presenting from – privacy, security, and accessibility. Although we don’t know exactly what this will look like, one signal of intent is that Facebook will not be forcing users to log into their VR world – through the
Oculus Meta Quest VR Headsets – with a Facebook profile. This may seem insignificant but has been a contentious issue for a while, and the freedom will be a welcome relief for many.
What about the “C” Word?
Commerce will have a major part to play in the metaverse. If you can dream it, you can literally/virtually do it. Whether that’s spending a couple of quid kitting out your virtual avatar with the latest trends or purchasing access to amazing virtual worlds to explore. Which leads us a bit closer to home – what about advertisers? There’s no doubt that with such immersive and amazing products capable of being developed, the possibilities are endless in terms of delivering personalised and relevant promoted content, enabling people to connect with the brands and creators they love.
It’s one that we’ll be keeping a very close eye on, and at Space & Time the metaverse feels like a place we’d fit pretty comfortably in.