Facebook “Metaverse”: Didn’t you follow anything? We told you

TECH – Amid the turmoil after the global outage and embarrassing revelations from a former employee, Facebook wants to talk about its plans for the future rather than current issues.

The social network showed, Monday, October 18, that it wants to hire 10,000 people in the European Union to work on developing the “metaverse”: a kind of parallel digital world that has become Mark Zuckerberg’s new grail , the founder and boss. on the American social media giant.

If you haven’t followed this futuristic digital reality project with Facebook sauce, The HuffPost offers you a summary of what you need to know.

What is the “metaverse”?

If you are watching a movie Ready Player One, you already have a good idea of ​​what it is. “Metaverses” is the equivalent of‘OASIS from Steven Spielberg’s film: a kind of understudy of the physical world, accessible via the Internet and connected interfaces, and where we have to exist in the form of avatars.

The term “metavers”, or “meta-universe”, literally means “beyond the universe”. This rapid expansion of the Internet has become possible through the aggregation of different technologies, so that a person can experience a world of virtual reality, engage their body, experience emotions and feelings.

“Gradually, screens, holograms, VR headsets and augmented reality glasses should allow fluid movement in virtual universes in physical areas, such as teleportation.explained Mark Zuckerberg on his Facebook profile.

What are the promises of the “metaverse”?

The “metaverse” is envisioned by Facebook as a kind of “embodied internet” where one becomes an actor of experiences and actions in a virtual universe, rather than an observer or consumer of the content. “The key quality of the metaverse is presence – the feeling of really being with people”, Mark Zuckerberg posted in July on his Facebook profile.

In this virtual and immersive universe that Facebook is intended to build, it may for example be possible to dance in a nightclub with people located thousands of kilometers away, to work, to buy or sell digital products or services. Clearly, the goal is to have a more immersive and inclusive digital social life – compared to what everyone is doing behind their computer screen or their smartphone. A kind of Second lifebut experienced through connected glasses.

Where did it come from?

The term “metaverse” originally came from a dystopian novel from the 90s. The book “The Virtual Samurai”, written by Neal Stephenson at the dawn of the Internet, however, has a different meaning from the current one. meaning. It shows “metaverse” users whose minds are blocked by a computer virus that directly infects their brains.

If the goal of the dystopian novel is to prevent, even for fear of future deviations in our societies, large digital companies are investing titanic amounts in projects and technologies specifically to build “metaverses”. , such as virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality. (AR).

The world reports that, according to the firm IDC, “spending in this sector should increase sixfold between 2020 and 2024, from 12 billion to 72 billion dollars”.

Why is Facebook interested in this?

Meta-universes are seen by web and video game giants as the next big leap in Internet technology evolution. And this is where Facebook positions itself, by seeking to invent new forms of social interaction and experience within a “metaverse” that it builds from A and Z by defining itself settings.

Which makes sense for a company built by specializing in connecting users to the Internet, through its established social network (Facebook) but also various applications that have been acquired over the years, such as WhatsApp or Instagram.

“To achieve our vision of metaversewe need to build connective fabric between (other) digital spaces, to overcome physical limitations and to move between them with equal ease between the rooms of his house ”, Mark Zuckerberg detailed on his Facebook profile .

To achieve this, Facebook has put in a lot of resources. The California -based company bought Oculus company for two billion dollars in 2014. Since then, it has embarked on other “metaverse” -related projects, in which several billion dollars have also been invested.

Where is he now?

Actually, it’s already possible to live some project -related experiences in Facebook’s “metaverse” – but these are currently very limited. The California giant, for example, unveiled the Beta version of the Horizon Workroom application in August..

The goal is to create a virtual reality meeting room through the Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headset. Participants can be seen around a round table as personalized avatars, can interact through their microphone or draw on a virtual white board thanks to remote controls.

Facebook and the Ray-Ban brand launched a pair of connected glasses in September. This digital gadget allows you to take photos and videos and connect on social networks.

However, “Ray-Ban Stories” has no augmented reality system. But Facebook hopes to start familiarizing more and more people with these types of connected accessories (while Google and Snapchat, before that, were particularly unsuccessful on the subject).

Who else is interested in it?

For its part, the video game sector has already made the embryos of “metaverses”. This is the case example of Fortnitewhich brings together 350 million players primarily aged 14 to 24, and who live, on the virtual platform, even more online experiences that separate from the original concept of the battle royal game.

Virtual concerts of American rapper Travis Scott or Ariana Grande, appearing in the form of avatars, are already happening. In December 2019, the game will also be available organized an exclusive event on the occasion of the Star Wars promotion: The Rise of the Skywalker. Broadcast live, director JJ Abrams is “in person” in the form of an avatar to reveal a preview of an excerpt from the film.

The social isolation associated with the covid pandemic has also been a factor in this phenomenon. An executive at Epic Games, the publisher of fortnite, meant the end of March to the AFP, that “In a time like today, where being physically together is more difficult, it’s very important to have these virtual experiences,‘ really thinking ’Fortnite as a platform for connected social experiences and not just a game ”.

Roblox, an online game-making system where most of the content is done by the players themselves, also hosted a concert with American rapper Lil Nas X in November 2020.

“My first gig was more than a stadium. My son’s first gig was Lil Nas X’s Roblox. Just because it happened at Roblox doesn’t make it less real, “said Cathy Hackl, a tech consultant who advises companies on” metaverse. ”

See alsor The HuffPost: At Fortnite, Ariana Grande’s highly anticipated concert delighted fans and performers

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