Meta first plans to build stores

The social networking company Meta has discussed opening physical stores to showcase its virtual reality and augmented reality devices.



Mark Zuckerberg’s first steps toward building the metaverse may be physical instead of virtual

Meta, the social media company formerly known as Facebook, has discussed opening retail stores that will eventually span the world. The stores would be used to introduce people to devices made by the company’s Reality Labs division. Such as virtual reality headsets and, eventually, augmented reality glasses, they said.

These devices are gateways to the metaverse, a futuristic digital world where people move from virtual to augmented versions of reality almost seamlessly. The stores would help show people that virtual reality and augmented reality can be fun. And additionally exciting, exactly the way Mr. Zuckerberg sees it.

The aim of the stores is to make the world “more open and connected,” according to the company documents viewed by The Times. They intended to spark emotions like “curiosity, closeness”. As well as a sense of feeling “welcomed” while experimenting with headsets in a “judgment free journey” . According to the documents.

Skepticism about the metaverse also abounds

While Meta’s Reality Labs division has had modest past success with the Oculus Quest 2. A low-priced headset that was popular last year. Virtual reality remains a niche market for hobbyists and enthusiasts. The hardware is often costly and can be difficult to use. Some people have reported that the headsets nauseate them.

Still, Mr. Zuckerberg has said he sees the moment to build what he believes will be the next major shift in computing platforms since the smartphone era. In that future, Mr. Zuckerberg’s apps would no longer be beholden to the rules dictated by Apple and Google, which own the app stores that distribute Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.

Early designs for Meta’s stores appeared modern, with a flat, minimalist aesthetic to the building exteriors and subtle placement of the Facebook brand, according to the documents. The company considered naming its stores Facebook Hub, Facebook Commons, Facebook Innovations, Facebook Reality Store and From Facebook, before eventually settling on the Facebook Store as a leading candidate, the documents said.

It was unclear how the Meta rebranding would affect the naming of the stores.

The flagship Facebook Store planned for Burlingame, Calif., where Meta has an office for its Reality Labs employees. It was also unclear whether those plans would continue.

Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney, Unsplash.