The Facebook founder of spoke via video at a company to conference.
San Francisco The tech giants from Silicon Valley like to present extravagant visions at their regular developer conferences. The Facebook Connect that appeal to developers for virtual reality products from Facebook directed, is no exception. Even in the run-up to the event, the group had given it a lot of advertising. A name change was also pending : the Facebook parent company will become Meta – based on the vision of the “Metaverse” that company founder Mark Zuckerberg has been promoting to the public since the summer
Buteven before the manager began his presentation on the Metaverse, he took the opportunity to justify the timing of the announcement. “I know some people will say now is not the time to focus on the future,” said Zuckerberg. “And I admit that there are some important issues that we need to work on in the present.” That will always be the case.
So I’m not sure if there is even a right the time for some people to focus for b future.”
Zuckerberg’s words make it clear in which sensitive tension the company is currently. On the one hand, Facebook as a company has lost a lot of public trust since former employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen made the content of numerous internal documents public . It paints the image of an almost unscrupulous corporation whose own profit is more important than the well-being of the people – which, according to the allegation, leads to the spread of fake news and mental illnesses among young people.
There are allegations that stand in stark contrast to the ambitions that Zuckerberg cultivates for his company. Because the metaverse, as the 37-year-old imagines, should not just become a new social network like the Facebook platform itself or Instagram . Ultimately, the group wants to develop an infrastructure for virtual reality (VR). “The Meta verse will be the successors to the phone Internet,” explainer Zuckerberg. The focus is on VR glasses, which users can use to enter three-dimensional virtual rooms.
At the developer conference, the company painted its vision in bright colors. In the video, for example, Zuckerberg was temporarily in a space station in space and played a round of cards with the avatars of his colleagues. Virtual concert visits or joint video games should also be possible in the Metaverse.
Control mechanisms such as facial expressions, hand movements and the voice play an important role here: They should make interactions more natural and intuitive than keyboards and touchscreens, for example, are currently able to do.
In 2014, Facebook bought the VR glasses manufacturer Oculus to lay the foundation for its VR ambitions. Some elements of the Metaverse can already be viewed with it. With Horizon, the group already operates a VR platform which, in addition to three-dimensional video games, also provides rooms for collaborative work. In the future, real and virtual reality should merge more closely with one another – also thanks to new end devices that Zuckerberg’s company still wants to develop in the coming years.
A foretaste of this is to be provided by a new product line from Oculus, which was also presented at the developer conference. In the future, Meta intends to publish products under the name “Project Cambria” that are already technologically mature, but not yet available at competitive prices. Accordingly, Zuckerberg also placed the devices in the top price segment. They are aimed at developers who want to prepare for technical innovations in the Metaverse early on.
One of the first products in the series will be VR glasses that, with the help of sensors, are able to identify the smallest movements in the facial features of the wearer and transfer them to a three-dimensional avatar in real time. This should enable users to communicate in the Metaverse using their facial expressions. Step by step, these innovations will then also be transferred to the regular Oculus product range. The group also announced further developments for hand control, which is to be implemented using armbands, for example.
The hopes that Zuckerberg associates with his vision are high. The Metaverse is expected to have one billion users by 2030 – and several hundred million US dollars in business, for example with virtual objects such as clothing or decorative items that each user can design and develop independently, just like the virtual rooms themselves the rooms should function similarly to websites and can be accessed as if by clicking on a link. Zuckerberg even spoke of teleportation in his keynote speech.
With the presentation, the manager gave the most detailed insight to date into the future of his company. But many questions remain unanswered – for example, which technologies and devices the company intends to use to transfer spatial movements from reality to the digital world. Zuckerberg admitted that many of the applications shown in the presentation would only become reality in five to ten years. For example, glasses still have to develop a lot in order to combine functionality and attractive design.
The biggest open question, however, is: Will the group gain enough users, companies and developers to reach a critical size for the Metaverse ? At the moment, at least, the chances of this are rather bad. Because social trust in the company is at a low point. It is reasonable to assume that Zuckerberg hopes that the renaming will also set itself apart from Facebook’s negative image.
However, experts are skeptical whether this will work without a cultural change. For example, Mike Proulx, Research Director at the market research company Forrester, said: “If the company continues to have difficulties solving problems such as disinformation, extremist content, and data and youth protection, the same problems will also follow in the Metaverse.” Survey 86 percent of the respondents stated that the name change will not change the image of the company for them.
Zuckerberg himself denied any connection in an interview with the industry medium “The Verge”. “We started doing this long before the current cycle of bad news,” said the manager. That the connection to the name change is drawn is “ridiculous”. Rather, it is about eliminating the confusion that arises when there is a parent company that operates a social network of the same name alongside others
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