- Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has big plans to create a metaverse
- The company will monetize through the sale of virtual goods, advertising and other virtual experiences
- It will take at least a few years and billions of dollars to develop, if Zuckerberg is successful at all
If you’re not into sci-fi, the term “metaverse” likely means absolutely nothing to you. But for others, hearing that ametaverse is in the process of being created is like science fiction come to life.
A metaverse is an old-school scientific term combining “meta” (meaning beyond) with “verse” (shortened from universe). A metaverse is a virtual world that takes you outside the limits of our real universe into a digital world that you can live, play and work inside of.
Who else would be at the forefront of this innovation but one of the largest companies in the world, Facebook.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg used this buzzword almost 20 times in the latest company earnings call and made it clear that he believes the future of Facebook is as a multiverse company, moving away from traditional social media.
Right now, Facebook‘s primary source of revenue is advertising, so how will a metaverse generate income?
Zuckerberg stated that since their mission at Facebook is about “serving as many people as possible”, the hardware required to access the metaverse – mainly the headset – will be sold at an affordable price to make it accessible for consumers. The true money-maker for Facebook will be the commerce that happens within the digital world, creating a new digital economy of its own.
Users will be able to buy virtual goods with real world money within the metaverse, like an expanded version of today’s video games like Minecraft and Fortnite. Zuckerberg mentioned the strategies used by these existing games as something their multiverse will draw on to make money, taking a slice of the profits of digital creators within the metaverse.
While advertising will play a significant part, it will take a backseat to digital commerce.
“I think digital goods and creators are just going to be huge… in terms of people expressing themselves through their avatars, through digital clothing, through digital goods, the apps that they have,” Zuckerberg said. “A lot of the metaverse experience is going to be around being able to teleport from one experience to another. So being able to basically have your digital goods and your inventory and bring them from place to place, that’s going to be a big investment that people make.”
The monetization plan and high profit potential is vital for investors to support this change in direction for Facebook, but Facebook themselves are already spending billions on the development of their metaverse.
While the company wouldn’t provide a specific amount, an analyst estimated the company is spending about $5 billion annually on metaverse-related development.
Facebook already owns a virtual reality company, Oculus. But Oculus’ hardware is limited in its usability and accessibility. Part of Facebook’s investment will be centered around improving this technology to give users a “true sense of presence” in the metaverse.
Whether you’re excited or skeptical about it becoming part of our reality, Facebook’s metaverse is likely years away, if it even comes to fruition at all.
Who knows? The idea may change, the hype may die down or the technology may not catch up quickly enough, so the future of Facebook’s metaverse is still unknown.