The word of the year 2021 in the technology industry, of course, is “Metaverse,” which has been on everyone’s ears. Since October of this year, the word has probably been recognized by everyone with an Internet connection. All thanks to the rebranding of Facebook – the head of the social network Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company will now be called Meta, and its focus will shift to building the Meta-Universe.
The Metaverse is a world in which virtual objects can interact with each other like real ones: using digital twins (avatars), for example, one can hold meetings in virtual meeting rooms, attend concerts, study, and watch movies. Some experts, including Zuckerberg, are calling the Metaverse the next Internet, or Internet 3.0, which can provide new experiences not currently available in two-dimensional web pages and apps.
Mark Zuckerberg, at a developer conference on October 28, presented the concept of a Metaverse, a new digital environment in virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) that should be a place where people can socialize, play and work, and privacy and security will be built in from the first day.
Zuckerberg also announced that the company will be renamed Meta to reflect a revolutionary change in the company’s strategy. The company will report separately from its main business on the results of its Reality Labs segment, which brings together projects related to the Metaverse, Zuckerberg said on a call with analysts about quarter results.
Reality Labs costs will rise from an estimated $2 billion a year to tens of billions. The investment in the Metaverse won’t pay for itself «anytime soon,» Zuckerberg warned analysts. «But we believe that the Metaverse will be the successor to the mobile Internet.»
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Potentially, the meta-universe will give access to the growing e-commerce market – in virtual space it is possible to earn not only from advertising, but also from selling goods. This will help Meta diversify its sources of income (now 97% of the company’s revenue comes from advertising). By the end of the decade, as Zuckerberg said in a call with analysts, the audience of Metaverse will be a billion users (earlier it was estimated at “hundreds of millions”), it will sell physical and digital goods «worth billions of dollars».
Zuckerberg wants to expand the VR experience beyond games. This August, Facebook launched an «open beta test» of Horizon Workrooms, a virtual workspace app. The emergence of new user scenarios in AR/VR for a wider audience is one of the key challenges for the Metaverse (along with broadband and device usability).