If you think the word “metaverse” is just a buzzword being thrown around by big tech companies at the moment you’d be both right and wrong. Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg is one of the biggest evangelists for the idea of a metaverse and this week has seen the company announce a new product group dedicated to this vision, featuring executives from Instagram, Oculus and other areas of Facebook.
Under the umbrella of Facebook Reality Labs (FRL), head of FRL Andrew Bosworth has put together a team that will see the current Instagram VR of Product Vishal Shah as lead on the initiative. Facebook Gaming VR Vivek Sharma will lead the Horizon teams, and one of the original leaders at Oculus – who moved over to FB Gaming – Jason Rubin will lead the groups’ Content team. Both the latter two will still continue their work with Facebook Gaming.
Last week, in an interview with The Verge, Zuckerberg made it very clear that he wanted to turn Facebook into “a metaverse company” calling the metaverse “the successor to the mobile internet.” As part of the announcement, Bosworth sees “The defining quality of the metaverse will be presence,” which the company has been focused on thanks to devices like Oculus Quest 2 and its Portal products. But these are still fragmented. In Facebook’s metaverse physical and virtual worlds are seamless.
“To achieve our full vision of the Metaverse, we also need to build the connective tissue between these spaces — so you can remove the limitations of physics and move between them with the same ease as moving from one room in your home to the next,” Bosworth notes.
While projects like Facebook Horizon are stepping stones towards this, Horizon has been in an invite-only beta for years with no clear indication of when it might become available. Other VR social experiments like Facebook Spaces have long since been shuttered.
There’s still a long way to go until Zuckerberg realises his vision for the metaverse and he’s not the only one. Epic Games’ Tim Sweeny is another keenly interested but he’s yet to showcase how the Unreal Engine creator will be delivering its own metaverse. As further info regarding this new FRL product group emerges VRFocus will let you know.