You may think that Mark Zuckerberg coined the word'metaverse' as a whole new concept when he rebranded Facebook to Meta. Tech companies have been talking about it for a very long time after Neal Stephenson came up with the term'metaverse' in his science fiction novel'Snow Crash' which is required reading for Meta's (Facebook's) management. Zuckerberg is so heavily invested in the metaverse that Facebook, ouch… Meta, has even changed their stock trading symbol to MVRS. So, is the metaverse going to look like something out of Ready Player One or is it going to just be a catch-all phrase for existing technologies? Let's try to figure out what this Metaverse of Madness is all about.
It's no secret that Big Tech wants to spice up your virtual life with the metaverse. Since last year, companies have put plans in motion to make the virtual space a reality: Microsoft bought a major game developer. Google's reportedly got plans to build AR gear. And Facebook gave the ultimate flex when it rebranded to Meta. Then there are major retailers like Nike, which is planning to sell virtual sneakers. But what exactly is the metaverse?
Mark Zuckerberg has said that Facebook will "effectively transition from … being a social media company to being a metaverse company". The metaverse does not have a specific definition, but venture capitalist Matthew Ball – who Mr Zuckerberg recommended on the topic in an interview with The Verge – sets out a number of features it could have: the metaverse is a space that is persistent, synchronous, spans both the digital and physical worlds, offers "unprecedented interoperability" and contains a fully functioning economy. It is intended as an "embodied internet", as Mr Zuckerberg described it. The metaverse, in Mr Zuckerberg's vision, will be about "engag[ing] more naturally" with the behaviours we already exhibit – such as reaching for our smartphones immediately upon waking up. I think that that's not really how people are made to interact", Mr Zuckerberg said, saying that technology should emulate "some shared sense of space in common". Mr Zuckerberg has made such comments before, ...
Microsoft is making meetings on its chat platform Teams a whole lot more immersive, in a bid to rival Facebook's'metaverse'. The technology giant has announced it's rolling out Mesh – its recently-announced mixed reality platform – to Teams from early next year. This will mean Teams users will have the option to appear as a customised 3D virtual avatar, in Microsoft's own version of a virtual shared space known as the metaverse. Teams users will therefore be able to turn of their webcam if they don't want their fellow chat participants to see their face, and display their avatars instead. Mesh for Teams will be available on standard smartphones and laptops, as well as mixed-reality headsets, in the first half of 2022.
Facebook owner Meta is reportedly planning to release four new virtual reality headsets between now and 2024, as CEO Mark Zuckerberg accelerates his push into the so-called'metaverse'. The first – codenamed Project Cambria – is a high-end VR and mixed-reality headset billed as a device for the future of work, and will launch around September with an estimated price-tag of at least $799, after being delayed by supply chain and other pandemic-related issues. A second version of Cambria, code-named Funston, is slated to come out in 2024. Meanwhile, Meta also plans to release two new versions of its less expensive Quest headset – internally code-named Stinson and Cardiff – in 2023 and 2024, according to an internal road map seen by The Information. The ambitious timeline shows Meta is hoping to reinforce its early lead in the VR market, established through its ownership of headset maker Oculus, whose devices now carry the Quest brand.