Meta, the former Facebook, announced new “metaverse” developments at the Connect event. According to the company, this metaverse is the next evolution of the internet and will be realized in several years.
During the event, CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed that Facebook will now be known as Meta and with this new name change, the company wants to emphasize that the development of the ‘metaverse’ encompasses a large part of the company’s activities. According to Zuckerberg, they no longer revolve around Facebook and that is why the company had to change its name. The brand name ‘Oculus’ is also being overhauled. Beginning in 2022, the Oculus Quest headsets will be rebranded as Meta Quest.
During the event, Zuckerberg showed his plans for the so-called metaverse. He also showed innovations in the platforms that are currently in development and will be rolled out ‘soon’.
Horizon is one of the developments. Under this heading, Meta will introduce a lot of VR applications that should bring the metaverse closer. Among other things, Zuckerberg presented Horizon Home, an extension to the Home home environment of Oculus 2 VR headsets that gains new features so that users can create a more personalized VR space to invite other people into VR and start virtual activities together. With Horizon Venues, Meta wants to focus more on virtual events. In addition to concerts and other VR events, it will also be possible to watch NBA basketball matches from the Horizon Venues app from November.
In Horizon Workrooms, the VR app with which teleworking in VR should become a reality, according to Zuckerberg, it will soon be possible to decorate virtual spaces, among other things. To make working in VR even more accessible, the Oculus Store will soon also support two-dimensional progressive web apps. Slack, Dropbox, Facebook and Instagram will be in it soon. Finally, the CEO mentioned that it will soon be possible to log in to the Oculus Quest headsets with other work accounts, outside of Meta’s. It will also be possible to manage the headsets on a large enterprise scale. It is not yet clear when these options will be introduced.
During the presentation, Zuckerberg and his team also showed new tools for developers. They will soon be able to convert hand gestures more easily via the Interaction SDK by using a digital library of frequently used hand gestures. The Voice SDK makes it possible to give voices interactive functionality in games and apps. These SDKs will first be offered as an experimental option before they are finally rolled out. Developers will also soon be able to implement automatic cloud backups in their app so that users’ progress and settings are no longer lost.
Users who want to start developing themselves soon will be able to do so with the Polar iOS app from Meta. This app will soon be able to create AR effects and objects without the need for coding. With the Polar app, Meta mainly focuses on artistic profiles. More experienced developers will also be able to create geo-anchored objects that can be linked to real world locations, among other things.
Polar iOS app
Zuckerberg also teased Project Cambria during the event. That is a new VR and AR headset, which will have high-end features and also a high price. Many details have not yet been disclosed, but it was said that the glasses will have cameras that can capture the environment in color. With the Quest 2, recordings are made in black and white and in low resolution. The headset will also get cameras to track users’ eye movements and facial expressions. The user’s body movements can also be convincingly displayed in virtual environments, Meta claims. The company will share more about this product next year. The company also showed a demo of realistic avatars, which look lifelike. Zuckerberg also talked about using neural input to control virtual environments. Such features are not expected any time soon; Facebook showed the techniques in the context of a roadmap for developments in the coming years.