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Why Facebook is Spending Billions on the Metaverse

In the feature video from John Coogan, he says Mark Zuckerberg is on a VR spending spree to underpin his ambition to build the Metaverse.

He starts by summarizing the massive investment Facebook has already made and continues to make in the core enabling technology of VR.

Since acquiring Oculus for $2 billion in 2014 Facebook has invested $5 billion per year in the field. This is despite the sector still being very immature in terms of user adoption.

The Metaverse

John believes this is to pursue the long term vision of building the Metaverse, a theory now born out by their recent Meta announcement.

From 2m:45s he sets the scene. The Metaverse isn’t one single environment or technology; it’s not Fortnite, it’s not VR, it’s not Cryptocurrencies, but rather it is the framework that will unite them all together.

Key concepts like ‘Digital Twins’ will also provide other foundations, and it will be underpinned by massive interoperability so that assets can be shared across worlds and a universal currency implemented.

The Immersive Internet

John goes on to explore the future developments required to bring about the Metaverse. In particular is the advances required to achieve a truly immersive VR experience across the Internet, requiring much increased computing and bandwidth capabilities.

He highlights how such an experience typically requires two separate streams of near 4k video running at 120 frames per second, whereas today most video calls are still just a highly compressed 720p, 24 frames per second at best.

So we can look to some of the innovations working around these challenges today as the likely foundations of the Metaverse, like Cloud Gaming services that utilize distributed streaming architecture for achieving massive multi-player environments.

John concludes by exploring the competition Facebook faces. Certainly they have a massive starting position being the tech company with by far the largest user base, with nearly half the world’s population using the site.

But he believes it is the universal commerce environment that is key, and so the role of payments and cryptocurrencies will be key, an area where Facebook is actually quite weak, having tried and failed to replicate their dominance in that space.

In contrast it is easily possible that it is a project that is small and unknown today that goes on to provide this massive core component.

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