Zoom room had an elephant in it, and Mark Zuckerberg knew it. During a conference call with reporters this week ahead of the company’s 2021 Facebook Connect conference, the company’s embattled CEO winked at the company’s latest attempt to rebrand.
There have been two blows from whistleblower Frances Haugen’s damning testimony, and the coordinated effort by journalists to uncover the Facebook Papers, leaked internal documents.
Zuckerberg said, “I know a bunch of people will say this isn’t the time to focus on the future,” before quickly turning the spotlight on Facebook’s augmented and virtual reality developments.
Our social media present is built upon the sewage of Facebook’s metaversified future, so we have much to worry about.
How exactly does Zuckerberg plan to fulfill this dangling carrot of the future that he is so focused on? According to several internal leaders covering AR and VR development, as well as CEO Mark Zuckerberg and CTO Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, that vision sounds eerily similar to VR 2.0. It’s all about being present.
The key buzzword executives and developers used to describe their experimental VR experiences was “presence” between 2014 and 2016. Any 2D media consumer could be converted to a VR believer with this secret sauce, which had some merit.
Early experiences in the medium have often been characterized by big smiles and visceral reactions from viewers who have felt like they were there. Take, for instance, Blu: Whale Encounter.
Meta’s metaverse is supposed to be smoothed out by Zuckerberg
With Oculus Quest 2, Facebook now leads the standalone (or wireless) VR market, thanks to its aggressively priced headsets and lack of real competitors.
A recent recall for the device’s facial interface estimates that around 4 million units have been sold. The company has not released sales data for the headset.
VR and AR are at an inflection point, Zuckerberg said this week, and the company is bringing both along for the ride. Analysts see this as a natural pivot for the company.
Despite the metaverse’s rapid growth, Facebook must be prepared to compete with Apple, Sony, Microsoft, and Valve.
By releasing the Presence Platform’s trio of software developer kits, as well as highlighting three distinct areas of growth: play, personal, and professional, Zuckerberg is essentially polishing the current Quest experience, which is capable of delivering AR experiences with its room-scanning cameras.
Quest 2 has become an obvious choice for entertainment and gaming applications. The technology needed to handle remote work was mostly untested at the outset of the pandemic.
With the new Horizon Workrooms experience, a Facebook account will no longer be required to log in, you can create customized workspaces for brands, and you can even pin 2D enterprise apps such as Slack and Dropbox to your Home environment.
Home users will soon be able to invite their friends to join them there and watch things together, play games, and talk while they are wearing their headsets.
The Quest platform is getting several enhancements, including Messenger calls that will be accessible throughout the system, default cloud saves so that you can delete apps and games without losing data, and multiplayer invitations that will reach users across all platforms (e.g., VR, phones, web).
In relation to Horizon Worlds, Boz says Quest users won’t be able to start using the VR social network experience anytime soon, as it is still in beta.
Home will remain as the default launch destination since it represents “a safe, secure environment under your control.”
Boz said the company wants to be careful when introducing Horizon Worlds, even though it may seem like the perfect landing pad for the metaverse Facebook is building.