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What's Meta Doing To Make Metaverse A Great Revenue Stream?
Meta, formerly known as Facebook, is betting big on the Metaverse, a virtual world that will enable users to interact with the world through their virtual avatars. And, to make this a reality, the social media giant is leaving no stone unturned. Now, it seems Meta is willing to harvest human expressions including body poses, pupil movements, and even nose scrunching to create the Metaverse; at least that's what the patents hint.
Meta's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has promised to shell out around $10 billion each year over the next ten years to create this virtual world that users will fill with their avatars. But Facebook's parent company isn't alone in cashing on the concept. Microsoft and Apple are also heavily engrossed in what is believed to be the next evolution of the Internet.
What Does Metaverse Mean?
Not many would be familiar with the term Metaverse, but it has been around for a long time. It was first used in the 1992 novel Snow Crash by American science fiction author Neal Stephenson. There it was used to describe a place used by people to escape dystopian reality.
Over the last three decades, the industry has laid the groundwork for a real Metaverse. VR headsets have become more accessible and global internet penetration is more than ever. Online games have witnessed a surge, and Esports is considered a professional career option. This has made it possible to envision a world with digital avatars, tradable digital assets, and even digital real estate.
However, Facebook isn't the only company to drop its hat in this ring. A startup called Decentraland is also committed to working on the same premise virtually. The startup has managed to secure $25.5 million in funding and offers custom avatars, a crypto-based marketplace, digital wallets, and a governance system.
Why Is Metaverse Important For Facebook?
The Metaverse is expected to evolve over the next 10-20 years, depending heavily on global partnerships. The company has already roped in Colorintech in the UK to organize a content creation competition in the Metaverse.
Meta is also working with Germany's Alte Nationalgalerie on offering XR experiences and has also launched an AR/VR startup growth program in Israel. This is currently on top of the social media giant's extensive hardware and tech partnerships that drive the growth of the Metaverse.
The company's press release reads: "The metaverse is a set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who aren't in the same physical space as you. You'll be able to hang out with friends, work, play, learn, shop, create, and more."
Patents Give Sneak Peek Of Meta’s Revenue Model
The company filed for several patent applications to the US Patent and Trademark Office, many of which were granted recently. These patents show that several new technologies that require users' biometric data to help power the digital avatars of the users. Not just that! These patents also show how the company intends to churn out revenue from this virtual world, using hyper-targeted advertising and sponsored content that matches its current $85 billion-a-year ad-based monetization model.
This will also include a "virtual store" where users will be able to acquire digital goods or items that match real-world goods sponsored by different brands. Not all patents will make it to the production stage, but they still suggest how Meta plans to create an immersive virtual world for its users.
Taking AR/VR Experience To Another Level
Some of the patents suggest technologies related to face and eye tracking, usually collected in a headset using a small camera or sensors. It could be used by Meta to amplify the users' VR/AR experience. For instance, the system will project brighter graphics where the user's gaze falls to ensure their virtual avatar reflects what they are doing in the real world.
One of the patents granted to Facebook's parent company suggests a system that tracks the facial expression of the users using a headset that is capable of "adapting media content" depending on the user's responses.
Meta has also patented a "wearable magnetic sensor system" that will be placed around the user's torso for "body pose tracking." The patent features sketches of a user sporting the system but appearing as a soldier in the Metaverse. Another patent shows a system that will create 3D avatars based on the photo of a user with the help of tools including a skin replicator.
Replacing Facebook With Metaverse?
Some of the patents granted to Meta will help the company create a new revenue stream as one of its products Facebook is surrounded by concerns over the fading interest of youth. Mark Zuckerberg has also hinted that the price of these headsets will be reasonable, and will draw revenues mainly from advertising.
One patent tries to figure out how to push personalized ads to users in AR, based on several factors including their age, gender, and interests including their social media history. Another patent explores enabling third-party sponsoring objects in Metaverse that replicate the layout of a retail store. The patents show how the company could push ads in the Metaverse that are more personalized than what we see currently.
Well, only time will tell what Meta has in store for the users in its Metaverse. We can only hope that the company builds something that takes entertainment to another level without misusing the personal data of its users, something Facebook is infamous for.