Meta, parent company of Facebook and Instagram, among others, is considering opening physical stores to ‘introduce’ people to VR and AR products. These plans would fall under Meta’s plans for the metaverse, in which VR and AR should play a major role.
Within the stores, consumers should be able to see products such as Facebook’s Portal devices and Oculus headsets. The Portal devices are Facebook smart screens that allow users to make video calls, among other things. The company may also want to sell the smart glasses it has developed with Ray-Ban in stores. The New York Times reports on the plans based on conversations with anonymous sources and internal documents.
The stores should be an accessible way for consumers to come into contact with the AR and VR products for the first time. These headsets should play a major role in Meta’s vision for the metaverse, where virtual worlds of multiple companies and organizations come together. This form of the metaverse should be accessible via desktops and smartphones, but will probably mainly take place in AR and VR.
Meta started plans to open physical stores last year. Ultimately, the company would like to open stores worldwide, although the NYT emphasizes the possibility of the project being scrapped. Meta would like to build stores with a ‘modern, minimalist’ look, where the Facebook logo can be seen ‘subtly’. The first store could open in California, at an office for Reality Labs employees. Reality Labs includes the Portal and Oculus divisions. Incidentally, that Oculus division will soon continue under the Meta name.
It is not yet known what the names of the stores will be. Meta is said to have considered multiple names, such as Facebook Hub, Facebook Innovations, Facebook Reality Store and From Facebook. Ultimately, Facebook Store would have been preferred. Some of the information is from 2020; it is unclear to what extent the name changes to Meta have been factored into these name plans. Meta did not want to comment substantively about the plans.