Meta Plans Physical Stores to Showcase Its Virtual- and Augmented-Reality Devices
The company formerly known as Facebook has its eye on building the metaverse.
Meta, Mark Zuckerberg's company formerly known as Facebook, plans to introduce physical stores that will showcase its virtual- and augmented-reality devices — the potential first step towards building the metaverse, The New York Times reports.
The term "metaverse," which first appeared in Neal Stephenson's 1992 novel Snow Crash, refers to an entirely digital world existing apart from our current reality.
The products featured in Meta's stores will help facilitate this new world; according to company documents obtained by The Times, visitors will be able to try Oculus Quest (soon to be Meta Quest) virtual-reality headsets, video-calling Portal gadgets and augmented-reality smart glasses developed with Ray-Ban called Stories.
Documents also reveal that the physical stores will be designed with a modern, minimalist aesthetic in mind and incorporate subtle branding placement, aiming to evoke "curiousity" and "closeness" as visitors embark on their "judgement-free" virtual-reality journeys.
Still, skeptics of the metaverse and Zuckerberg's latest project remain; although the low-priced Oculus Quest 2 headset enjoyed some popularity last year, virtual reality remains a relatively niche market. The gadgets are frequently expensive and difficult to use.
The company considered several different names for the stores, including Facebook Hub, Facebook Commons, Facebook Innovations, Facebook Reality Store and From Facebook, but ultimately landed on Facebook Store. Of course, that will likely change to reflect the company's new name.
If Meta sees the plan for physical storefronts through, the first location will be in Burlingame, California, where there's also a Reality Labs office.