Facebook has unveiled plans for Horizon, a social platform for people to create and interact on the metaverse.
Through Horizon, people can create avatars and worlds, do business and shop, and learn subjects through an immersive online experience. It will also support interoperability, to allow digital items that a user buys or creates to be used and taken across platforms.
“We have gone from desktop to web to phone, from text to photos to video, but this isn’t the end of the line. The next platform and medium will be even more immersive… an embodied internet, where you are in the experience, not just looking at it,” said Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, at the eighth edition of Facebook Connect, the annual AR/VR conference which was held virtually this time.
“We call this the metaverse,” he said.
“We will be able to feel present, like we are right there with the people no matter how far apart we actually are,” he said.
“Everything we do online today… is going to be more natural and vivid. This isn’t about spending more time on screens. It is about making the time we already spend better,” he said.
“Screens can’t deliver that deep feeling of presence, but the next version of the internet can,” he said.
“In the next five to ten years, metaverse will become mainstream,” he said.
$10 billion investment
Facebook plans to spend at least $10 billion this year on Facebook Reality Labs as it builds the metaverse.
"Metaverse is a major area of investment for us and an important part of our strategy going forward. Our goal is to help the metaverse reach a billion people and hundreds of billions of dollars of digital commerce this decade," Zuckerberg had said during the company's earnings conference call on Monday.
In an indication of how important the metaverse unit is becoming within Facebook, the firm is also recasting its financial reporting structure to break out Facebook Reality Labs as a separate reporting segment in its earnings reports from Q4 2021.