In August, it was reported that Facebook is building the “metaverse”. The term refers to a collective virtual space in which people can interact with each other in augmented reality.
Consumer, tech, entertainment, and other companies are looking at this as the next frontier. People can live, work and socialize together in a virtual world. It’s predicted that the metaverse will be the next important step up from the internet.
The idea behind the metaverse is to create a space similar to the internet, where users (via digital avatars) can walk around and interact with one another in real-time. One can interact with co-workers and clients, instead of via Zoom calls.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, is one of the leaders of this mission to make the metaverse available and accessible to everyone.
Zuckerberg told his employees that he believes that this will be a big part of the future of the social media company. Facebook said their investment in the metaverse is a “vote of confidence” in Europe’s tech industry and its workers.
What Exactly is the Metaverse?
A metaverse is a virtual universe where people would use digital avatars and VR to interact. It’s akin to the worlds of The Matrix or Ready Player One, where characters are tethered to reality. The concept generated renewed chatter after Zuckerberg said Facebook would become a “metaverse company.”
The term has taken over public discourse since then. But mainly because no one knows what it means, even the inventor of the term.
The idea of a “metaverse” has existed in the gaming and science fiction realms for a while. But its introduction to the mainstream means the masses could probably use a rundown.
Facebook executives Nick Clegg and Javier Olivan said in a statement,
“As we begin the journey of bringing the metaverse to life, the need for highly specialized engineers is one of Facebook’s most pressing priorities.”
In theory, users could “si” around a virtual meeting table with avatars of colleagues working remotely. And then walk over to a virtual cafe to meet up with a friend.
Similar projects have been in the works since 2003 when Linden Lab launched a virtual world called Second Life. Facebook faces competition from immersive games platforms such as Roblox and Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite.
Facebook said the metaverse won’t be owned or run by any one company.
“Like the internet, its key feature will be its openness and interoperability. Bringing this to life will take collaboration and cooperation across companies, developers, creators, and policymakers,” said Clegg and Olivan.
Jeremy Dalton, head of XR at PwC told CNN Business: “Setting up shop in Europe is a smart move for any organization interested in the potential of the metaverse. This is not only a question of where the skills lie.”
“This new era of digital interaction will inevitably intersect with government policy and consumer and business interest in privacy, data protection, and more,” added Dalton.
It now looks like Facebook is going full warp speed into the metaverse by planning to create 10,000 new jobs to build this new universe. Over the next half-decade, the social media giant will embark on a hiring spree. The jobs will be based within the European Union, including Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, the Netherlands, and Ireland.
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