Mark Zuckerberg Outlines His Vision For A Ready Player One-Like Metaverse And It Sounds Wild
A Ready Player One-like metaverse could become a very real thing in the not-too-distant future, according to the Facebook founder.
Mark Zuckerberg, like some in the gaming space, hold the belief that a so-called metaverse will become the next major internet innovation and push people forward into a new paradigm. Zuckerberg recently outlined his vision during a Facebook presentation, and he later confirmed the formation of a Metaverse Product Group inside the social media company to support this ambition.
"I believe the metaverse will be the successor to the mobile internet, and creating this product group is the next step in our journey to help build it," Zuckerberg said on Facebook.
Zuckerberg told The Verge that the metaverse is not a project that any single company will build, but instead it will be a joint collaboration between companies, creators, and developers. But what actually is the metaverse? Zuckerberg said you can think of it like an "embodied internet."
"Where instead of just viewing content--you are in it," he said. "And you feel present with other people as if you were in other places, having different experiences that you couldn't necessarily do on a 2D app or webpage, like dancing, for example, or different types of fitness."
The term metaverse was coined by Neal Stephenson in his 1992 sci-fi novel Snow Crash, and was further popularized in the Ernest Cline book Ready Player One. Steven Spielberg adapted the book into a big-budget movie in 2018, further bolstering the popularity of the term and the idea.
Zuckerberg said a lot of people think about virtual reality when they think about the metaverse. VR will be important to the metaverse, he observed, and that's why Facebook has invested so much into Oculus and other VR and AR projects.
"But the metaverse isn't just virtual reality. It's going to be accessible across all of our different computing platforms; VR and AR, but also PC, and also mobile devices and game consoles," he said. "Speaking of which, a lot of people also think about the metaverse as primarily something that's about gaming. And I think entertainment is clearly going to be a big part of it, but I don't think that this is just gaming. I think that this is a persistent, synchronous environment where we can be together, which I think is probably going to resemble some kind of a hybrid between the social platforms that we see today, but an environment where you're embodied in it."
Zuckerberg said, as another example, that you might be able to watch a 3D concert in the metaverse from your phone, and this would blend 2D and 3D elements. "I'd love to go through a bunch of the use cases in more detail, but overall, I think that this is going to be a really big part of the next chapter for the technology industry, and it's something that we're very excited about," he said.
Zuckerberg's aim is that, over the next five years or so, Facebook will transition from being seen as primarily a social media company to a metaverse-themed company. "And obviously, all of the work that we're doing across the apps that people use today contribute directly to this vision in terms of building community and creators," he said.
Beyond gaming and entertainment, the metaverse could affect how we work, Zuckerberg said. In the past year and change, when people have been taking meetings over Zoom due to the pandemic, the sense of "presence" has been lost, by some degree, Zuckerberg said. But with metaverse technology through VR and AR, people can connect more naturally, even if their physical bodies are distant.
"In the future, instead of just doing this over a phone call, you'll be able to sit as a hologram on my couch, or I'll be able to sit as a hologram on your couch, and it'll actually feel like we're in the same place, even if we’re in different states or hundreds of miles apart. So I think that that is really powerful," he said.
The Verge's full interview with Zuckerberg on the metaverse is very fascinating and eye-opening. You can read it here or listen to the interview through the embed above.
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