The American company Facebook announced the creation of a parent company which is called Meta. All of Facebook’s products will be controlled by Meta in the future. This announcement was made yesterday by CEO Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook Connect. The name change underscores the company’s own focus on building the Metaverse. Soon, the Oculus Quest will also be renamed into Meta Quest.
This year’s Facebook Connect was entirely dedicated to the topic of the rebranding. Topics that could interest XR people were only briefly mentioned and talked down. For example, Facebook announced the legendary GTA San Andreas for Oculus Quest 2. However, that announcement only took up less than a minute of the event’s time.
Zuckerberg wasted just as little time with the info that new AI-driven passthrough AR for Quest is on the way, although this is really great news for developers. However, these topics were only mentioned in passing. The focus of the event was clearly on the new parent company Meta.
Facebook already set the course for virtual reality with hiring its new VR/AR focused CTO Andrew Bosworth. However, the name change from Facebook to Meta is the clearest signal yet of the company’s intention to fully concentrate on replacing the Internet as we know it with the Metaverse.
Zuckerberg also announced Monday he would invest $10 billion to help build the Metaverse. He warned that Facebook – now Meta – would not be able to operate profitably in the near future. This is because it is now heavily focused on developing VR and AR.
For now, however, not much will change at Meta. The new name will not affect how the company uses and shares data. The social media channels Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp will also remain untouched by the name change.
“Right now, our brand is so tightly linked with one product that can’t possibly represent everything we’re doing today,” Zuckerberg said, “let alone in the future.”
With the new name Meta, Mark Zuckerberg wants to create a new brand awareness. The name Facebook was still too closely associated with the social media platform, although the company now offers much more than just that one product.
However, the acceptance of virtual reality devices has so far been limited. The Oculus Quest headsets have been rather focused on games and niche applications. They have not been able to establish themselves among the masses yet.
This is now to change with the new name Meta, because the Oculus devices will also soon be sold under the new name Meta Quest. “When people buy our products, we want them to clearly understand that all of these devices come from Meta and ladder up to our metaverse vision,” said Andrew Bosworth.
Meta may also be hoping to deflect public discussion away from its company by changing its name. That’s because there has been a wave of negative news coverage lately, which has been related to the revelations made by whistleblower Frances Haugen.
The company is fighting accusations that it misled investors and the public about its user growth, its efforts to combat hate speech and disinformation, and the way the platform was used to organize the attack at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Meta will also likely have to face these questions from regulators and show how it will protect user privacy in a future metaverse.
In the end, building the Metaverse will cost Mark Zuckerberg a lot of money. It remains to be seen whether the investments will pay off.