Mark Zuckerberg is investing in a new bridgehead to his metaverse expansion: a solid, land-based store. The new Meta store is opening in May, in California, at the company’s campus. There, prospective users will find smart glasses, headsets, and all sorts of gadgets to interact with the metaverse.
Zuckerberg’s Metaverse Vision
Mark Zuckerberg is committed enough to expanding the metaverse to rebrand his brainchild “Meta”. This move surely attracted everybody’s attention last October. Meta, formerly Facebook, owns Instagram, Facebook, and Whatsapp platforms. These platforms combined have billions of users worldwide. So, when Zuckerberg U-turned the boat, a few barrels rolled.
So far, the metaverse hasn’t been much more than a virtual wasteland without many users around. This situation is expected to change this year, as it’s one of the main tech trends for 2022. So, it’s the perfect moment for Meta’s CEO to advance his views on the issue. The new land-based store will promote a wide array of wearable gadgets. It is also expected to advance its virtual NFT marketplace and support virtual payment methods.
During his interview on the podcast “The Tim Ferriss Show”, Zuckerberg said that he believed human beings should be able to be in multiple places simultaneously. He also confessed he drew his VR and AR strategy from sci-fi novels. This new way of interacting will create new communities, expanding monetisation possibilities. Such changes are expected to lead to self-sustained “ecosystems”.
Hardware Sales Diversify Meta’s Business Model
Meta is no longer the only giant fish in the sea of social media platforms. Snap Inc. and TikTok are beginning to bite in, while Facebook’s numbers appear to decline. Such a decline has the potential to snowball into less advertisement revenue. Wearables like VR and AR glasses offer new options for advertisers, and an edge over newer competitors, like the ones mentioned above.
The company has been battling against some privacy restrictions, like Apple’s imposed on all Apple devices. Meta must ask the user’s permission to collect their browsing information on these devices. Several social media platforms felt the blow, as it was one of the main tools for generating targeted ads.
How Will This Affect Video Creation
The “colonisation” of the metaverse is already creating several other markets. Software such as the Adobe After Effects will be necessary for creating the 360-degree virtual environment. Such tools are essential for designing virtual tours and complex scenarios vividly. The audio-visual industry will be shaken to its foundation. All branches will have to pull together to create realistic virtual worlds and digital projections of the real world.
VR and AR will finally integrate into the film industry, creating new entertainment experiences. The documentary We Met in Virtual Reality, presented at the last Sundance Festival, follows the few communities now active in the metaverse. Joe Hunting directed it, bringing a unique insight into this new world. Hunting found a way of recording the interaction between users and the virtual world around them.
The whole documentary was shot using a virtual camera as an avatar’s add-on. This add-on, named VRCLens, was specifically created for this platform. Developers created the special lenses from the VR Chat community. The pioneering initiative might open the way for developing other tools for 100% in-metaverse productions.
What About Competitors
Meta isn’t the only company fighting for supremacy in the metaverse. Other tech giants are also weighing in, such as Microsoft, Unity Technologies, Snap, and TikTok. Microsoft and Unity Technologies are in a privileged position to secure a foothold into the new internet.
Microsoft is well-rounded enough to build its own empire there. It has advanced IoT systems, cloud computing, analytics, and mixed reality tools. Additionally, Microsoft has a quite strong gaming environment, with Xbox and PC interfaces such as Game Pass.
Unity Technologies has undeniable know-how in the gaming industry. One of the most important game development engines bears its name, Unity. The company has extensive experience in creating 3D objects and environments. This skill will soon be in high demand, as it will be essential to pretty much every interaction inside the metaverse.
The social media business is beginning to migrate en masse to the metaverse, with Snap and TikTok following the trend. Both platforms are popular among younger users, which have been Facebook’s Achilles heel lately.
Snap has part of the necessary structure, with virtual avatars, AR filters, and hardware. TikTok has recently bought a VR startup called Pico. The Chinese giant is expected to make more significant investments soon.
So far, the high price of wearable gadgets has held the metaverse’s population small. Things will most likely change as these gadgets become more affordable. The evolution of the metaverse depends mainly on two factors. One is the popularisation of wearable hardware; the other is the expansion of the 5G network worldwide. The new Meta’s brick-and-mortar store targets the first issue brilliantly.