Digital Futures

The BIGGEST VR Announcement of the Decade: Facebook’s Metaverse

Facebook will play a major role in developing the Metaverse, but can they be trusted?

In July 2021 Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook was becoming a Metaverse company.

In October he actioned that objective by rebranding the company to Meta.

Facebook hasn’t invented the concept, indeed it can be argued they have already been beaten to the punch by earlier pioneers like Second Life.

However as the press coverage demonstrates, what they have been first to achieve is to break the concept through to the mainstream level, and are more than likely to be the largest investor into it’s evolution.

Open vs Closed Wall Gardens

From 5:00m in the feature video from ThrillSeeker explores the news and the first and primary question this raises – The distinction between open vs closed Metaverse environments.

He highlights that Oculus is a ‘walled garden’, a closed environment where you have to be part of the Oculus ecosystem, a principle that seems at odds with the definition of what the Metaverse is meant to be. He even describes Facebook as operating a monopoly across the entirety of the VR industry, so that their stated goal of contributing to but not owning the Metaverse seems disingenuous.

It also reports on comments from Zuckerberg, where he sees the open standards that enabled the Internet being equally applicable to the Metaverse, so that users will be able to traverse multiple environments in the same way we currently traverse the web.

While the author believes these are the right sentiments he also can’t shake fears given Facebook’s record to date in terms of their commercial imperative and how this has impacted society. How much do we trust Facebook to build the Metaverse?

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