Metaverse: five questions about Facebook’s new virtual world

Written October 29, 2021, 1:21 p.mUpdated on 29 October 2021 at 15:31

Strategic shift at Facebook. Born as a social network, Mark Zuckerberg’s company no longer wants to be just a group of mobile applications. It now intends to become a metaverse company, even going so far as to rename itself “Meta” to mark its ambitions in detail on Thursday night. During an online conference, the billionaire CEO revealed his vision for a technology that could transform the Internet as we know it today. Explanations.

1. What is the Metaverse?

Inspired by science fiction, and especially the novel “Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson or “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline, the metaverse is presented as a virtual and immersive online world. Everyone can live a part of their life there, in the form of an avatar or a hologram. For Meta, this universe promises more social contacts without moving, whether it’s organizing a work meeting, attending a fitness class or strolling through a pixel shop. But the competition has other ideas: for Epic Games, the universe of the very popular game Fortnite already hosts virtual mini-concerts with 12 million spectators.

2. How do I access the metaverse?

As envisioned by Mark Zuckerberg, the metaverse opens up to those equipped with electronic devices such as virtual reality headsets and augmented reality glasses. The first, like the Oculus Quest developed by Meta and sold for about $300, completely immerses the user’s gaze in a 3D setting. In order to move, it is also necessary to equip controllers at the level of the hands. To move around, some envision a treadmill system. Besides Meta, HTC, Sony already have their headsets. According to information from Bloomberg, it will be from Apple on the market in 2022.

By simply overlaying a digital image on top of the real display, augmented reality is considered by experts to be more easily adopted by the general public. As a kind of ubiquity gift, it will be possible to follow an event in the metaverse out of the corner of your eye while participating in a discussion in the physical world… Meta is also working on a pair of augmented reality glasses. He’s not the only one. Microsoft already has its device with Hololens. Apple is also expected in these technologies.

3. Who will build the metaverse?

Mark Zuckerberg wants to look good. The Metaverse “is not limited to a single company and each of us is needed to make it happen”, he was careful to emphasize in the presentation of Meta. But it is primarily aimed at small developers who want to enrich the world of Meta with immersive experiences (commerce, culture, tourism, entertainment, etc.), in the same way that startups have multiplied the services available on smartphones. The 2000s.

4. Who invests in the metaverse?

To create the framework that these future partners will need – a virtual universe, an online payment system – Meta will invest 10 billion dollars in 2021 alone. forcing a number of competitors to withdraw.

Epic Games announced last spring that it had raised a billion dollars dedicated to developing its vision of the metaverse in direct competition with Roblox, another video game company. Microsoft intends to create a “corporate metaverse”. Not to mention the many start-ups hoping to find a place there, like the English from Improbable.

5. Why are we talking about the metaverse again?

Like many sci-fi dreams, the metaverse has already been born dead several times. Some believed it more than common sense in the 2000s, when the game “Second Life” seduced the masses. At its peak, this virtual universe hosted IBM conference centers, American Apparel stores, political hotlines for election candidates, and a million simultaneous connections.

The game is still online, but the enthusiasm quickly faded, while the game’s graphical experience remains a bit grotesque. In addition, the system became slow when too many Internet users connected to it at the same time. Today, the experience of virtual and augmented realities is a game-changer. All-online computing (“cloud computing”) would also make it possible to multiply simultaneous visits in this new world.

VIDEO. Facebook will change its name

Leave a Comment