What is Facebook’s Metaverse?
Facebook’s Metaverse is a collective virtual shared space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users and can play, live and work. It is created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical reality and physically obstinate virtual space, including the sum of all virtual worlds, augmented reality, and the internet.
Facebook is all set to invest $50 million in its Metaverse project
Many other companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft have been trying to grow with virtual spaces and their native AR experiences for some time. Hence, Facebook seems to have gained with the first mover’s advantage by not just showing off its interest in building the metaverse but also rebranding itself as Meta.
The word metaverse is a blend of the prefix “meta” and “universe” and is typically used to describe the concept of a future iteration of the internet, made up of determined, shared, 3D virtual spaces linked into a perceived virtual universe.
The term was coined in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 sci-fi novel Snow Crash, where humans, as avatars, interact with each other and software agents, in a 3D space that uses the metaphor of the real world. Stephenson coined the term to describe a virtual reality-based successor to the Internet.
Facebook has changed its name to Meta
Facebook, the company that owns platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, rebranded itself as Meta on October 28. The company also unveiled a new sign at its headquarters in Menlo Park, California, on Thursday, replacing its thumbs-up “Like” logo with a blue infinity shape.
Facebook’s big disagreement is that the company’s name does not reflect everything it does. This is true even before the metaverse gets involved: Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus VR, and others are all part of the Facebook company but have very little directly to do with the blue app that gave that company its name. So, the company is now looking at the business as two different segments, one for the family of apps and one for their work on future platforms. And as part of this, the company adopted a new company brand to involve everything that they do, to reflect who they are and what they hope to build.
Hence, the name is either a bet on the future or coming too soon, since Facebook did not actually announce any real products or developments that will allow anything like the metaverse to come any time soon.
Facebook plans to create “an embodied internet” which will be powered by its Oculus headsets. It will be a new high-ended VR headset co-named Project Cambria. It will be the hardware that will help Facebook in bringing Metaverse into existence.
Cambria includes features that aren’t currently available on any other VR headsets. The device’s new sensors allow virtual avatars to maintain eye contact and mirror facial expressions. According to the company, this will allow people with virtual interactions to better understand their feelings. Another focus of headsets is mixed reality experiences. Facebook claims that Cambria has the ability to represent real-world objects in depth and perspective with the help of new sensors and reconstruction algorithms. Cambria also features new optics that the company says will increase visual reliability. There will also be the inclusion of a camera so that you can use the headset in augmented reality too.
Few Other Companies building Metaverse
Roblox Corporation, an American video game developer visualizes the metaverse as a place where “people can come together within millions of 3D experiences to learn, work, play, create and socialize.” Roblox’s CEO David Baszucki has also talked about future shopping and conducting business on the platform, which will have its own virtual economy powered by Roblox currency itself.
Microsoft Corp’s CEO Satya Nadella announced soon after Facebook rebranded its parent company “Meta” to emphasize its plans for the metaverse. Microsoft is going to launch “Mesh” for Teams in 2022 in which chats and conferencing programs will feature digital avatars. It is in testing right now and will be available in the first half of 2022. Users will be able to share Office files and features, like PowerPoint decks, in the virtual world.
Snapchat owner Snap Inc has long been building custom avatars and augmented reality filters to overlay digital features in the real world in the form of virtual emoji characters (dubbed Bitmojis). It has already created an interface where users can dress their virtual avatars in outfits, and place them on a 3D map on the app.
4. Epic Games
Epic Games Inc. is an American video game, software developer, and publisher company. According to CEO Tim Sweeney, the Metaverse is an evolution of how we interact with brands, IP, and others. It will be an “online playground” where users can play games together one minute and attend a football game the next. It has already raised $1 billion from investors to help with its long-term plans for building the metaverse. Epic’s Fortnite Game is an already existing form of Metaverse where avatars can meet and do something besides playing a game.
Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd is the world’s largest video gaming firm by revenue and has stakes in major game studios like Epic Games and Activision Blizzard. Tencent has already registered many metaverse-related trademarks for its social site QQ.
Nvidia Corporation is an American multinational technology company. It is known for developing integrated circuits, which are used in everything from electronic game consoles to personal computers (PCs). The company is a leading manufacturer of high-end graphics processing units (GPUs). It has already built an Omniverse platform for connecting 3D worlds into a shared virtual universe. It says Omniverse, which is used for projects like creating simulations of real-world buildings and factories, is the “plumbing” on which metaverses could be built.
Cloud software firm Autodesk makes programs used by architects and engineers to design and create buildings and products. Its software is also used to build virtual worlds for gaming and entertainment.