Following the quarterly publication of Facebook’s earnings statistics, in which the company’s CFO walks through the company’s financials in detail, Mark Zuckerberg, the business’s CEO, took a step back to talk about the company’s future plans, emphasizing his desire to convert Facebook into a “metaverse corporation.”
“I wanted to discuss this now so that you can see the future that we’re working towards and how our major initiatives across the company are going to map to that,” Zuckerberg said on the call. “What is the metaverse? It’s a virtual environment where you can be present with people in digital spaces. You can kind of think of this as an embodied internet that you’re inside of rather than just looking at.”
These remarks matched those he made in an interview with The Verge last week, in which he discussed some of the company’s future plans.
The metaverse allows Facebook to draw a boundary between its moonshot ambitions and its core business, allowing the company to create a far-reaching center that shines on augmented reality and virtual reality platforms while remaining friendly on mobile and desktop. Although Zuckerberg’s concept of the metaverse is broader than some, it boils down to creating a web that feels more like an MMO than a collection of online sites.
It’s hard to believe now, but Facebook was behind the times when it came to mobile. Even as seamless native mobile applications were fast becoming the standard for major software companies a decade ago, Facebook’s apps were unstable, crash-prone HTML5 experiences. By 2012, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg had understood that apps were the future — and that they were fast becoming the present — and he rushed to shift the company’s focus to mobile at every level. Facebook does not want to repeat its error.
“Mobile is the platform of today, and now we’re also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow,” Zuckerberg said around the time of the $2 billion acquisition. “Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play, and communicate.”
Developing into a “metaverse corporation” is the next step in this process. Roblox has long been seen as the clearest example of the metaverse today — a social world where users can move between virtual experiences while also building their own within it. It is notable because it is not a virtual reality experience, but focusing on mobile and desktop. Roblox’s ambition has piqued the interest of investors, and the now-public business is valued at more than $45 billion — a tenth of Facebook’s but more than nearly any other gaming company in the West.