What Is Facebook Metaverse?

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Explore the metaverse concept, learn about Facebook’s Meta branding and products, and how the company is investing in the metaverse’s future.

[Featured Image] A creator in a blue shirt leans on a desk and wears a VR headset to experience the metaverse.

In October 2021, Facebook’s eponymous parent company rebranded as Meta and shifted its focus from social media company to a metaverse company. The company’s products and services, including the Facebook platform, Instagram, WhatsApp, and now its forays into the metaverse, all fall under the Meta brand. The Facebook metaverse refers to Facebook's contribution to the metaverse, the anticipated successor to the mobile internet in which people interact in an interconnected and immersive digital world. 

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Meta (formerly Facebook), describes his vision of the metaverse as a place to “connect, work, play, learn, and shop" [1]. Zuckerberg anticipates Meta will contribute significantly to building the metaverse, along with other tech companies such as Microsoft and Epic Games. Meta hopes one billion people will participate in the metaverse by 2031 [2].

Learn more about the metaverse, Facebook’s metaverse offerings, what the future holds for the physical and virtual worlds, and new jobs that may exist in the future.

What is the metaverse?

The metaverse is a network of virtual worlds. Author Neal Stephenson coined the term in his 1992 science fiction novel “Snow Crash” about life in virtual reality. Aspects of the metaverse exist today in video games such as Minecraft, Fortnight, and Axie Infinity. 

Currently, the metaverse isn’t one interconnected world but rather many individual worlds. For example, Minecraft’s world is separate from Fortnight’s world. Each has its avatars, currency, rules, and access. Roblox, a popular gaming platform, is a storefront where users can select the games they want to play. Basic play is free, and the company sells Robux for advanced play.

The vision is for these worlds to come together to form one connected metaverse. 

The metaverse expands beyond games. Meta’s Horizon Worlds social platform includes virtual offices known as Horizons Workrooms and a virtual events platform called Horizon Venues, among other offerings. 

Microsoft is building 3D real estate for stores and workplaces and has been working with the US Army to develop virtual training for soldiers.

Google’s Project Starline is a holographic video conferencing platform designed to simulate in-person interaction.

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What do I need to enter the metaverse?

No matter what part of the metaverse you plan to visit, you’ll need some type of electronic equipment to enter. Take a look at some of the available options:

  • Virtual reality headsets: Virtual reality (VR) headsets are high-tech goggles you place over your eyes to view the metaverse. To look at and participate in your surroundings, you need to move your head, not just your eyes. Different types of VR are available for the metaverse worlds you’re visiting, such as the Meta Quest line (formerly Oculus Quest) from Meta.

  • Augmented reality (AR) gear: AR is similar to VR. While VR simulates an immersive digital environment, AR overlays digital elements on the natural world. AR gear like AR glasses is less cumbersome than VR, allowing for freer movement.

  • Mobile apps: You don’t always need VR and AR to enter the metaverse. A mobile phone can run some metaverse platforms without any additional equipment. For example, Roblox is accessible on your smartphone with or without VR technology.

  • Gaming consoles: PlayStation is a gaming console that can work with or without VR. You can enter the Roblox metaverse without a VR headset. Other metaverses can be accessed with a headset. Roblox is accessible with the Xbox One gaming console, and Microsoft has announced plans to expand Xbox capabilities to Minecraft and Halo.

  • Computers: VR and AR systems will work with most PCs; however, for the best experience, your computer should have good graphic capability and a minimum of 2 GB of RAM.  Apple recently announced a new interface called Metal3 that will improve gaming on the MacBook Pro. Resident Evil Village and No Man’s Sky will be introduced for use with the Metal 3 interface. 

What is Facebook’s metaverse?

Meta has joined the hundreds of companies building the metaverse with the rebranding of Facebook to Meta and the introduction of Horizon Worlds, “an ever-expanding social universe” with “over 10,000 worlds and experiences,” and the expansion of its Meta Quest VR gear offerings [3]. 

Zuckerberg wants to bring billions of people on board over the next decade and anticipated spending approximately $10 billion in 2022 for metaverse infrastructure [4].

Meta is designing its infrastructure so users can be a part of the experience rather than spectators. In Horizon Worlds, users download the app and create an avatar to join computerized simulations intended to be realistic such as work meetings, sporting events, parties, workouts like boxing, meditation, biking, and aerobics, and more. Some of these worlds are built by Meta but the company also encourages creators to contribute new spaces as well with the Horizon platform’s world-building tools. 

Horizon Worlds is a metaverse social application used with VR technology. The application uses sound, controllable animation, and VR physics to create objects found in the physical world.  The platform was initially intended for users 18 or older to participate in its features, such as multiplayer gaming, music, interactive puzzles, sports, films, and more. Now it is suggested that users be at least 13 and that developers mark mature content as 18+.  

Meta currently offers users avatars to use with its Meta QuestVR headsets in Horizon Worlds, games, and apps. Meta purchased Oculus in 2014 and began rebranding Oculus Quest products as Meta Quest in 2022 following the 2021 parent company name change. Additionally, Meta intends to offer users the opportunity to become holograms to meet with friends and family as if together in the real world.

Metaverse jobs

New job opportunities are expected as the metaverse expands. Most new jobs will require technical experience and upgraded skills.

Avatar clothing designer is one profession that may evolve as the metaverse develops and our virtual world expands. Metaverse doctors, event directors, and safety managers are additional anticipated job titles.

Other job titles you may see by the year 2030 include:

  • Data bounty hunter

  • Ecosystem developer 

  • Metaverse planner

  • Metaverse bot master

  • NFT strategist

Wherever you’re seeking a career in the metaverse, related careers are likely to grow as the metaverse grows. Here are some examples of job roles in the virtual space:

Software developers

Median annual US salary: $109,020 [5]

Job outlook (projected growth from 2021 to 2031): 25%

Software engineers with experience in AR platforms and artificial intelligence (AI) help the metaverse expand. A computer science background and knowledge of programming languages is recommended for those who want to be a software developer.

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3D game designers

Median annual US salary: $78,300 [6

Job outlook (projected growth from 2021 to 2031): 23%

Game designers with experience in computer animation, 3D modeling, and game interface design contribute to the metaverse. If you’re interested in a career as a game designer, you may consider earning a degree in game design or a related field.

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Storytellers

Median annual US salary: $69,510 [7]

Job outlook (projected growth from 2021 to 2031): 4%

If you enjoy creating stories, the metaverse uses game writers to craft storylines for a variety of genres. Knowledge of game design and development can help boost your creative writing skills. 

Cybersecurity specialists 

Median annual salary: $102,600 [8]

Job outlook (projected growth from 2021 to 2031): 35%

The safety and privacy of the metaverse depend on cybersecurity. Along with cybersecurity experience, programming skills are necessary. Working in cybersecurity requires protecting the metaverse from vulnerability and attacks. 

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Hardware engineers

Median annual US salary: $128,170 [9]

Job outlook (projected growth from 2021 to 2031): 5% 

With the metaverse's many features, hardware engineers are needed to design equipment such as VR and AR gear, and virtual exercise and other metaverse equipment.

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Learn more about emerging technologies

As the metaverse expands, you can prepare for potential career opportunities or explore options as a hobbyist by learning more with the Meta course What is the Metaverse? on Coursera.

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Skills you'll build:

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Article sources

1

Meta. “What is the Metaverse?, https://about.facebook.com/what-is-the-metaverse/.” Accessed October 13, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

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