Need to Know: Meta

Our Senior Creative Technologist, Sam Cox, explores what Facebook’s rebrand tells us about the future of the metaverse.

What’s it all about?
Facebook recently announced a seismic development in how it views the ways we connect and socialise online, with its new corporate name evolving to ‘Meta’. 

This is significant because of what Meta represents – Facebook’s ambition to provide people with access to the metaverse. The company has identified the shift from traditional timelines and grids to new, richer 3D worlds. 

Facebook – that is, the social networking app as we know it – will continue to exist as part of the Meta ecosystem, bringing all the company’s apps and technologies under one brand. But the new name reflects bigger ambitions. 

Andrew ‘Boz’ Bosworth, the soon-to-be CTO of Meta, hosted an IG AMA with a few tidbits. He explained that you will not need expensive VR gear to participate in Meta. It’s a centralised platform which most people will experience with their phones (or lower fidelity devices), just like you can with Roblox and Fortnite. 

Meta isn’t just for socialising – how we work and educate ourselves is also central to the platform. So much so, in fact, that Boz believes the digital economy will eventually grow to be larger than the physical economy.

What’s the current state of play?
There have already been a handful of platforms developed to function around the metaverse. Some have been built from the ground up as out-and-out metaverse platforms, such as Decentraland and The Sandbox. Others are evolving into metaverse spaces, such as Fortnite and Roblox. 

Over the past few years, Facebook – or rather, Meta – has been developing a lot of the inner workings of its metaverse with a platform called ‘Horizon’. This was discussed extensively within Thursday’s announcement presentation, and is where most interactions will happen. 

Horizon is split into three pillars:

Horizon World
Open, public spaces where anyone and everyone can jump into action. This is very much how Roblox works.

Horizon Home
Your own private space. Meta’s early vision for your Home in the metaverse – a social space where you can bring friends to hang out, watch videos together, or jump into a game with your squad.

Horizon Workplace
An immersive and interactive method of gathering people across any geographical location together in one digital space to talk, draw, present and workshop.

Our View
There’s a lot that is still unknown about the metaverse, and the role that Meta will play in its evolution. While every brand will need a metaverse strategy in the future, as a first and more immediate step, gaming worlds are a good opportunity to explore – indeed, they offer significant creative potential.

We’d advise that brands:  

Ultimately, Meta is on a rapid development path, with $10 billion being spent this year alone. But while Meta will be one way into these disparate worlds, it isn’t going to be the only portal. The learnings brands can take on board now, by understanding the opportunities offered by the development of Meta, will correspond to other metaverse platforms in the future. It’s a new frontier – and one to be excited by.