What is the metaverse and why is Facebook betting big on it?

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been a leading voice in the hype surrounding the “metaverse,” the virtual version of the Internet that the tech giant sees as the future.

The Metaverse, short for Metaverse, is a digital world where the real and the virtual merge in a science fiction vision and allow people to move between different devices and communicate in a virtual environment.

In practical terms, this applies to augmented and virtual reality products and services.

On Monday, Facebook announced on its blog that it plans to hire 10,000 people in the European Union to build the metaverse.

“The Metaverse can open access to new creative, social and economic opportunities. And the Europeans will shape it from the very beginning,” the Facebook blog post says.

“Today we are announcing a plan to create 10,000 new high-skill jobs in the European Union (EU) over the next five years.”

The social media giant also said that investing in the EU offers many benefits, including access to a large consumer market, top-notch universities and highly skilled professionals.

What is the metaverse?

The term refers to a cyberspace parallel to physical reality where a community of people can interact in the form of avatars. The concept was coined by writer Neil Stevenson in 1992 in the science fiction novel Snow Crash. It refers to the fusion of physical, augmented and virtual reality in a shared online space.

Some video game communities have already created the seeds of the metaverse, such as Roblox (a platform that includes many games created by children and teenagers) or Fortnite (a shooter and survival game played by 350 million people).

In April, over 12 million gamers followed five virtual concerts of rapper Travis Scott, who appeared as an avatar in Fortnite.

Gradually, screens, holograms, VR helmets, and augmented reality glasses will allow virtual universes to be seamlessly “transferred” to physical locations, a process that Zuckerberg likened to “teleportation.”

“Perfect social technology”

Facebook previously announced that it would create a development team to work on projects related to the metaverse.

“I expect people to stop seeing us primarily as a social media company in the coming years and start seeing us as a metaverse company,” Zuckerberg said in July.

“In many ways, the metaverse is the ultimate expression of social technology.”

Facebook, the world’s largest social network, has invested heavily in virtual reality and augmented reality, acquiring hardware such as the Oculus VR headset and working on augmented reality glasses and wristband technology.

He has also acquired many virtual reality game studios, including BigBox VR. As The Information reported in March, about 10,000 employees are working on virtual reality.

Zuckerberg said he thinks it makes sense to invest heavily in shaping what he believes will be the next major computing platform.

“I believe the ‘Metaverse’ will be the successor to the mobile internet, and the creation of this product group is the next step towards its creation,” he said in a July Facebook post.

In July, he told The Verge: “If we do this well, I think within the next five years or so … we will actually move from people who see us as a social media company first and foremost to a ‘metaverse’ company.” “.