Meta is working to accelerate the metaverse, but success is far from certain

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – A year after rebranding itself from Facebook to Meta, the social networking titan is working to make Metaverse a daily routine, offering new features to users and promoting new virtual reality gear.

But analysts said the company has played down the hype a bit as it strives to achieve its goal of creating an interactive virtual world, which it sees as the next phase of online business.

The biggest announcement from this week’s Meta Connect event – ​​the company’s annual virtual reality-focused conference – was the launch of the long-awaited Meta Quest Pro VR headset, aimed at professionals in creative fields.

– Advertising –

But there were also legs – as in the legs of user avatars in Meta’s Horizon World virtual domain, as well as facial expressions.

Is this the future? The company said yes.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. PHOTO: AFP

“The Metaverse is going to sneak up on us,” predicted Meta Reality Labs vice president Mark Rabkin.

“I think it’s going to seem very far away, and then there will be certain pockets and niches that are suddenly very useful — and then we realize that the gaps … close, and suddenly it’s there. “

For Rabkin, managers can save time and money by meeting in the metaverse, and artists can adopt virtual venues for concerts, comedy shows and other entertainment.

Bridges, skyscrapers, shoes and more could be designed in 3D using digital tools in the metaverse. “We’re building things that go into the metaverse and will be part of the metaverse,” Rabkin said.

“We are investing massively to push the future a little further.”

A year ago, Facebook renamed itself Meta to signal its dedication to a future metaverse. In a small step along that path, the $1,500 Quest Pro headset—aimed at architects, engineers, and designers, among others—offers new features to enhance users’ perception of actually being in the presence of others.

“The moment they start to smile, or when they raise their eyebrows… your avatar should be able to express all that and more,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Meta Connect.

The company said it is partnering with Microsoft, Adobe, Accenture and others to sync popular work software with virtual worlds using Quest Pro.

“We at Microsoft are incredibly excited about the metaverse and how the digital and physical worlds meet,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said during the presentation.

Microsoft is “really leaning” toward making its widely used productivity software, as well as tools designed for its own HoloLens augmented reality headset, compatible with the Quest Pro, according to Rabkin.

Zuckerberg pointed out that Meta wants its VR platform to align with other companies’ offerings.

“Not only will our hardware work on a variety of devices, including not our own, but there will inevitably be multiple universes that come together in different ways,” Rabkin explained.

The technical advancements built into the Quest Pro are expected to eventually find their way into budget headsets aimed at average consumers.

Zuckerberg was quoted by tech news website The Verge as saying that he did not expect Metaverse to bring the company any significant amount of money for years, creating a “trough of disillusionment”.

For Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi, Meta has downplayed the hype of the Metaverse in favor of talking more about the gears of how it works.

“I guess it’s because they understood how difficult it is to create this in terms of creating this world,” Milanesi told AFP.

Companies are investing billions of dollars in the building blocks of the metaverse, with Meta at the forefront, VRDirect CEO Rolf Illenberger told AFP.

Microsoft, Sony and HTC are among the players, and Apple plans to release its own virtual reality headset.

“On the one hand, Mark Zuckerberg should be recognized as a hero, as a visionary, because he’s pushing the industry like no one else,” Illenberger said.

“But on the other hand, its bad reputation also partly blames the metaverse as technology.”

Critics said Facebook’s rebranding as Meta was a move to steer the tech company away from scandals, including a whistleblower who said he valued profits over security.

Leave a Comment