Facebook Inc launched a trial of a new virtual reality remote work application on Thursday, where users of the company’s Oculus Quest 2 headset can hold meetings in their avatar version.
Facebook sees its latest release as the first step towards building the futuristic “meta universe” touted by CEO Mark Zuckerberg in recent weeks. The largest social network has invested a lot of money in virtual reality and augmented reality, developed Oculus VR headsets and other hardware, dedicated to AR glasses and wristband technology, and acquired a set of virtual reality game work including BigBox VR Room.
The company said that it will become the next great computing platform, allowing it to reduce its dependence on other hardware manufacturers in the future, such as Apple.
Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, vice president of his Reality Labs group e-books, said that the new Workrooms app provides a “good idea” for how the company views the meta-universe elements.
“This is one of the key steps in this direction,” Bosworth told reporters at a virtual reality press conference.
The term “meta universe” appeared in the 1992 dystopian novel “Avalanche” to describe the immersive shared space accessed through different platforms that merged physical and digital. Zuckerberg described it as the “embedded Internet.”
According to Facebook, CEOs including Zuckerberg, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, game company Roblox’s David Baszuki and Match Group Inc’s Schal Dubey have made several recent financial reports. It was mentioned in the conference call. It is creating a product team to study Metaverse, which will become part of its AR and VR Facebook Reality Labs group.
It shows how Workrooms users can design their own avatar version to meet in a virtual reality meeting room and collaborate on a whiteboard or share documents while still interacting with your own physical desktop and computer keyboard.
The application can be used free of charge through Quest 2 headsets, the price is about 300 US dollars, and up to 16 people can be used in virtual reality together. A total of up to 50 people can be accommodated, including video conference participants.
Bosworth said that Facebook now regularly uses Workrooms for internal meetings. The company said it will not use people’s conversations and work materials on Workrooms to target Facebook ads. He also said that users must abide by the standards of the virtual reality community, and violations of the rules can be reported to Oculus.
Facebook reported that non-advertising revenue from AR and VR businesses and e-commerce in the second quarter of 2021 was US$497 million.