Mark Zuckerberg wants to build a “metaverse”, but what is it?

You may have encountered the term “metaverse” in the gaming sphere before but what does it mean in the context of an earnings call?

As part of its financial highlights for Q2 2021, Facebook chief executive and founder, Mark Zuckerberg said, “I’m excited to see our major initiatives around creators and community, commerce, and building the next computing platform coming together to start to bring the vision of the metaverse to life.”

But what is a metaverse in this context and would Facebook’s now 1.91 billion daily active users ever use such a thing?

To find out more we cast a curious eye on Zuckerberg’s Facebook page which explains the concept in a bit more detail.

The short explanation is that Zuckerberg wants to build what is best described as The Oasis in Ready Player One. An internet where users can “be present with people in digital spaces”.

“You can kind think about this as an embodied internet that you’re inside of rather than just looking at. We believe that this is going to be the successor to the mobile internet,” writes El Zuck.

If that seems a bit, absurd you’re not alone but we’re also curious about how Zuckerberg intends to make this “metaverse” a reality.

The Facebook founder did share some details but for now this idea seems driven more by ambition than proof of concept. We say that because even Zuckerberg points out that a lot of development needs to happen in other areas for this to happen.

“There will need to be new protocols and standards, new devices, new chips, and new software – from rendering engines to payment systems and everything in between. In order for the metaverse to fulfill its potential, we believe that it should be built in a way that is open for everyone to participate,” the CEO says.

So we need new devices, new components and new software, to make Zuckerberg’s dream a reality. Call us pessimistic but we don’t foresee folks chomping at the bit to give Facebook more power when it struggles to control the power it already has.

It gets worse though.

Before explaining what the metaverse is, Zuckerberg highlighted the importance of the factors that will help bring it to life, namely: creators, commerce and the next computing platform.

Creators are, the most important of that equation because if folks aren’t drawn to a service what good is that service? Zuckerberg is acutely aware of this.

“We want our platforms to be the best place for millions of creators to earn a living. If we can do this, then our services will also have the best content across many different types of media – from text and photos to audio, gaming, and video,” writes the CEO.

Scrolling through the comments in that post you will see creators complaining that Facebook doesn’t support them. This is especially alarming when, according to Zuckerberg, video now accounts for “half of all time spent on Facebook, and Reels is already the largest contributor to engagement growth on Instagram.”

Perhaps, rather than building a metaverse to escape the real world, Zuckerberg and his billionaire buddies could focus their incredible wealth and resources to help us all rebuild our world.


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