The keynote address at Meta’s annual Connect conference featured a powerful new virtual reality (VR) headset that will be another step toward more ultra-modern online worlds and interactions. Meta also shared its most recent metaverse developments.
Some Web3 developers were afraid of Meta’s influence on the creation of the metaverse because they thought the social media company would create another “walled garden” or closed environment. However, the business has steadily changed its image to indicate a distinct strategy. Co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg expressed his support for an open metaverse in the firmest manner to date.
In May, similar remarks were made in a paper written by Meta’s president of global affairs, Nick Clegg. When asked about the company’s plans for interoperability in the metaverse, Zuckerberg added that he is open to it in a podcast interview at the time.
“I strongly believe that an open, interoperable metaverse built by many different developers and companies is going to be better for everyone”
That’s not the same as categorically claiming that Facebook’s metaverse would be based on blockchain technology, enable NFT assets created on Ethereum and Solana, or be compatible with cryptocurrencies. However, it is a confirmation that Meta isn’t claiming to be the only or main creator of the metaverse.
In recent months, Meta has welcomed NFT collectables from notable platforms including Ethereum, Polygon, and Flow. As a result, Meta has introduced interfaces with Facebook and Instagram that enable users to show off their NFT assets to friends and followers.
Although Zuckerberg’s remarks today don’t explicitly suggest that Meta intends to create side-by-side with Web3 developers and fully embrace open-source technology, it is the clearest indication yet that Facebook’s parent company is trying a significant pivot in how it designs online platforms.
Meta also revealed The Quest Pro, a considerably more potent standalone VR headset aimed at business users and professionals. The Meta Quest Pro headset will cost $1,500 and have significantly greater graphical power than the $400 Meta Quest 2 headset now available for consumers.
Though the company is also working on the infrastructure and software to ultimately launch its intended unified online 3D platform for work, entertainment, socialising, shopping, and more, Meta’s play towards the metaverse is centred on more than just gear.
It is evident from today’s presentation that Meta isn’t giving up despite criticism of its embryonic metaverse activities. In fact, Meta also hinted at some upcoming technologies in the keynote that are meant for the metaverse, such as photo-realistic 3D avatars created from smartphone scans and control systems that are based on small finger movements. Since they are still prototypes, such features might not end up being included in final products.
Although Meta’s ambition for the metaverse might not be fully realised for years, some important tech upgrades were presented during today’s speech, which may have altered perceptions of the social media company’s strategy.