Can Metaverse Grow If Fully Owned by Facebook?

MC: Lauren, have you ever visited the metaverse?

LG: Yes, I really do. I think there was this time I met a Microsoft executive on a HoloLens 2 headset, and then I had to switch between the HP Reverb G2 VR headset, which was connected to some giant PC with power strong. I walked over to my kitchen counter and I said, “I think I just hit the metaverse.” That sounds right?

MC: Yeah, that’s good for me. I’ll take it.

LG: Yes

[Gadget Lab intro theme music plays]

MC: Hello, everyone. Welcome to Gadget Lab. I’m Michael Calore, senior editor at WIRED.

LG: And I’m Lauren Goode. I am an old WIRED writer.

MC: We are also now with WIRED writer Peter Rubin. Hi, Peter. Happy return to the show.

LG: Hey, Peter.

Peter Rubin: Hey, guys. It’s so nice to be here again.

MC: Peter, you’re with us because, yeah, we’re talking about the metaverse and we’re talking about VR, and you’re writing a book about VR. It’s called Facing the Future: How Virtual Reality is Changing Human Connection, Intimacy, and the Limitations of Ordinary Life. How I That’s the whole title.

PR: You did well. And it’s also in paperback now, and there are additions to it around the world. Even if you listened to it in Korea or anywhere, you can get a copy.

LG: That doesn’t sound very good. Paperback, what is that?

PR: I know. There is audio and there is an ebook as well.

MC: Peter was previously an editor of WIRED, even though he has moved away from our virtual four walls, he is still a regular contributor to WIRED and a regular guest here at the show, so it’s good that you , man.

PR: Oh, man. It’s so nice to be back. I just told you before we started spinning, I missed our knees curling under the table and the very small studio we used to use to record it.

MC: And sharing our lung juice.

PR: And sharing, as Lauren said, our lung juice, which—

LG: I have to give credit to Alan Henry for that from our WIRED team. He was the first to say “lung juice” once, and now I can’t get it out of my mind.

PR: Even if that was done in 2019, it could be serious, but now it’s about to be taken away.

MC: Double gross. Well, we could have recorded it ourselves, but instead, we almost recorded it. We’re all in our own spaces right now, which is kind of appropriate for now, because we’re talking about virtual reality in the workplace. It’s really boring, but stay with me here. A few days ago, Facebook unveiled a new beta VR experience called Horizon Workroom. It’s a combination of virtual- and augmented-reality technology that allows you to interact with the real world and a simulated environment simultaneously. It sounds cool, but it’s for meetings, so it’s kind of like that Player One is ready if Player One is ready entirely taking place in an office conference room with PowerPoints and whiteboards. But Facebook’s new VR experience is exciting because it revolves around the real world in the virtual world in new and exciting ways.

This is an idea that refers to new varieties of human and computer interaction called metaverse promoters. And after the show, we’ll go back to the metaverse and we’ll talk about exactly what it means, and why there’s so much hype attached to the word. But before we get a meta, I think we should hear all about the Facebook demo. That’s it, Peter, you boarded the Zuckerverse. Tell us about it.

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