Facebook bets big on Metaverse future
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg laid out the company's plans for its billion-dollar metaverse platform called Horizon at the eighth annual Connect event, which was streamed virtually on 28 October.
Zuckerberg also announced that the company would now be called Meta as it seeks to expand beyond the Facebook brand and encompass the family of platforms, namely Instagram, WhatsApp, Horizon and Messenger.
"Right now, our brand is so tightly linked to one product that it can't possibly represent everything that we're doing today, let alone in the future," Zuckerberg said.
"Over time, I hope that we are seen as a metaverse company and I want to anchor our work and identity on what we're building toward."
Facebook has spent months touting the Metaverse, an idea which involves a virtual world where people can play, learn, exercise, share and even work.
Zuckerberg said he believes the Metaverse will be the successor to the mobile internet and explained that Horizon has a home section -- where users can build out their own virtual home space -- as well as workrooms.
The workrooms can be customized and will allow teams to meet at a moment's notice from anywhere. There is also a "worlds" feature that lets anyone transport anywhere virtually with friends.
He announced plans for a Horizon marketplace and a wider metaverse economy that can support a range of experiences through AR, VR, smartphones and laptops.
He spoke at length about the company's plans to build an economy for designers creating new worlds and digital objects.
Gaming will be a major part of Meta’s efforts, allowing anyone from anywhere to meet virtually with friends and play a range of games.
"It is the next chapter of our work and for the internet overall," Zuckerberg added.
Horizon will also be used for educational purposes, allowing teachers and parents to transport their kids to different eras and immerse in different cultures.
The metaverse concept is being adopted widely by other companies like Microsoft, and some gaming platforms have already experimented with the idea.
Facebook has also announced it will invest some $50 million to ensure its Metaverse projects are "developed responsibly." An additional $150 million is also being spent to train the next generation of digital creators.