News from Facebook HQ indicates that Mark Zuckerberg wants to change the course of his precious social media goliath and make waves towards the ‘metaverse’, the so-called new face of the internet. Gaming and internet companies are fighting to help redesign the internet as we know it, gearing towards a shift to metaverses, which are regarded as almost an internet within an internet.
Changing a lifestyle brand into something more relevant (audiences under the age of 30 are increasingly jumping ship from Facebook) is a challenge, but what are Facebook’s plans, and is it truly possible for industries to be completely redesigned?
It may be surprising to some, but it’s clear from observing the success of other industries that have survived major overhauls that it’s definitely possible. One prime example of an industry that effortlessly jumped from offline to online was that of casino gambling.
One of the most effective adaptations the casino industry went through was the development of the live casino online. This saw games like poker, blackjack, baccarat, and roulette transformed from 2D games into fully-fledged live variants. These games take the essence of the casino game and combine them with the sophistication and engagement that a real dealer in real time would bring. There are many ways to try an online casino, the most popular method, though, is via mobile devices. The inception of mobile casino apps have further improved the ease with which people can play live casino games from the comfort of their own homes or on the go.
Evidently, it’s possible to adapt industries. Casino games have been played for centuries in some form or other and have evolved along with technological developments in order to remain popular with audiences, despite the changing landscape of the 20th and 21st centuries. But will it be as easy for Facebook to turn to metaverse? And what even is a metaverse?
The metaverse can best be described as what companies such as Fortnite’s Epic Games have already achieved. Through games, they create events with huge budgets and buzz, bring in multiple different franchise IPs, have economies led by microtransactions, and act as a hub for the avatars and gaming versions of real people. Think Ready Player One, Dwight Schrute’s Second Life game, or the immersive internet from Futurama. The internet will be navigated as avatars and different organizations will provide the content within these mini portals.
It’s a colossal shift ahead for the social media giant, but we shouldn’t forget that Facebook breaking ground isn’t unprecedented. After all, Facebook arguably reshaped how we communicate and engage with the internet in the modern age. Spin-offs such as Instagram and Twitter wouldn’t have gained as much traction had Facebook not laid out the groundwork for what an online version of our lives looks like. While they created an online life that acted as a diary, they are now working on the metaverse, which would be an online life that we can actually experience.
By taking on this new concept of metaverses, Facebook will reinvent themselves and reshape their business model. If everything does move to the metaverse and Facebook doesn’t have a stake in it, they will most likely be iced out. Who wants to post updates to their aunts when the metaverse will allow people to actually live these updates?
Facebook are ambitious. However, they have the social standing and cash flow to make the metaverse work. The way in will undoubtedly be through gaming, so they will probably have to harness that aspect of their business. One of the main benefits of a metaverse would be VR capability, so they are already well placed to take their Oculus arm and adapt it towards fulfilling the metaverse and all that it will contain.