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Mark Zuckerberg wants to turn Facebook from a social media company into a virtual world

Get ready for the metaverse.

In a new interview on Thursday, Mark Zuckerberg said that over the next five years he wants people to see Facebook not as a social media company, but as a “metaverse” company, akin to a virtual environment where people can work and play for most of their time. 24 hours without leaving their home.

“And I hope if we do this right, I think in the next five years, in this next chapter of our business, I think we’re going to effectively move from people who see us primarily as a social media company to a metaverse company,” Zuckerberg said in the interview with The edge.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in the next five years he wants people to see it not as a social media company, but as a 'metaverse' company

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in the next five years he wants people to see it not as a social media company, but as a ‘metaverse’ company

And of course all the work we do in the apps people use today contributes directly to this vision of community building and creators.

“But this is something I spend a lot of time on, think about a lot, we’re working on a ton. And I think it’s just a big part of the next chapter for the work we’re going to do across the industry.”

So what exactly is the metaverse?

As Zuckerberg describes it, it’s a “vision” that spans the entire tech industry and calls it the successor to the mobile Internet.

“But you can think of the metaverse as an embodied internet, where instead of just watching content, you’re in it,” he continued.

“And you feel with other people like you’re somewhere else, with different experiences that you couldn’t necessarily do on a 2D app or web page, like dancing, for example, or different types of fitness.”

“You can think of the metaverse as an embodied internet, where instead of just watching content, you’re in it,” Zuckerberg said. It is similar to the OASIS in Ernest Cline’s novel Ready Player One with its protagonist Wade Watts (pictured)

In the OASIS, users can create avatars, including popular movie characters, such as the Iron Giant (pictured)

In the OASIS, users can create avatars, including popular movie characters, such as the Iron Giant (pictured)

In the OASIS, users can create avatars, including popular movie characters, such as the Iron Giant (pictured)

Essentially, it’s an environment similar to the OASIS in Ernest Cline’s novel and the Warner Bros. blockbuster. Ready Player One.

Created by a Zuckerberg- or Steve Jobs-esque character named James Halliday, the fictional OASIS lets people, including the novel’s protagonist, Wade Watts, put on a headset and enter a virtual world where they can be anyone or do anything, all from the comfort of their own home.

Zuckerberg is seen wearing the Oculus Quest 2 headset (pictured), which he may want to build a headset to give people access to the metaverse

Zuckerberg is seen wearing the Oculus Quest 2 headset (pictured), which he may want to build a headset to give people access to the metaverse

Zuckerberg is seen wearing the Oculus Quest 2 headset (pictured), which he may want to build a headset to give people access to the metaverse

Presumably, Zuckerberg wants the company’s Oculus division to build the aforementioned headset.

Users can create avatars, including popular movie characters like the Iron Giant, so they can look like anything they want from the moment they wake up to the time they go to bed.

They can go to distant worlds for rock climbing trips with Batman, visit distant places they could never afford in real life, or become best friends (or more) with people they’ve never met in real life.

However, the Facebook CEO says his vision — which he has been working on for several months — would extend not only to virtual reality, but also to augmented reality, computers, mobile devices and game consoles.

The 'metaverse' is already starting to happen, including in games like Nintendo's popular Animal Crossing

The 'metaverse' is already starting to happen, including in games like Nintendo's popular Animal Crossing

The ‘metaverse’ is already starting to happen, including in games like Nintendo’s popular Animal Crossing

The New York Times recently detailed some areas where the “metaverse” is already starting to happen, including Nintendo’s popular Animal Crossing, or video games like Roblox and Fortnite, all of which can be played on mobile devices and game consoles.

Zuckerberg’s vision is that all of the above devices come together in a ‘persistent, synchronous environment where we can be together’, resulting in a ‘hybrid’ between today’s social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and an environment where you can ‘be’. present, even if you are not physically there.

Science fiction writer Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, published in 1992, addresses the subject.  Stephenson is also credited with making the 'metaverse' sentence

Science fiction writer Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, published in 1992, addresses the subject.  Stephenson is also credited with making the 'metaverse' sentence

Science fiction writer Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, published in 1992, addresses the subject. Stephenson is also credited with making the ‘metaverse’ sentence

Science fiction writer Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, published in 1992, addresses the subject.

After a global economic collapse, the US has been divided into several regions owned by powerful organizations and entrepreneurs who use their regions for various purposes, often nefarious in nature.

Stephenson is also credited with creating the “metaverse” phrase as the successor to the Internet.

Zuckerberg also pointed out that the metaverse doesn’t have to be a 3D environment, but it can also be 2D.

“Maybe you can jump into an experience from your phone, like a 3D concert or something, so you can get elements that are 2D or elements that are 3D.”

The 37-year-old billionaire noted that the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced a significant portion of the world’s population to work remotely and stop having physical contact with colleagues, played a role in his thinking about building this environment.

‘…[I]n work meetings over the past year where I sometimes find it difficult to remember which meeting someone said something because they all look the same and all blend together,” he explained.

“And I think that’s partly because we don’t have this sense of presence in space. What virtual and augmented reality can do, and what the metaverse in general will help people experience, is a sense of presence that I think is just a lot more natural in the way we’re made to interact with each other. And I think it will be more comfortable. The interactions we have will be much richer, they will feel real.

“In the future, instead of just doing this over a phone call, you can sit on my couch as a hologram, or I’ll be able to sit on your couch as a hologram, and it will really feel like we’re on be in the same place, even if we are in different states or hundreds of miles apart. So I think that’s very powerful.”

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