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Facebook surges ahead in race to create metaverse

Facebook plans to hire 10,000 people to accelerate its development of a so-called metaverse  – a virtual world in which people can work, game, play and even watch concerts.

The word ‘metaverse’ – made up of the prefix ‘meta’ (meaning beyond) and the stem ‘verse’ (a back-formation from “universe”) – is typically used to describe the future iteration of the internet, made up of permanent, shared, 3D virtual spaces linked into a perceived virtual universe.

Using technologies like virtual and augmented reality, Facebook says it hopes to create a greater sense of “virtual presence” in the metaverse that will “mimic the experience of interacting in person”.

Facebook has made building the metaverse one of its priorities, investing in virtual reality through its Oculus headsets and building VR apps for social hangouts and for the workplace.

In 2018, the tech giant expanded into VR live events, including concerts, with the launch of its social events app Oculus Venues.

Facebook invested $50 million in funding non-profit groups to help “build the metaverse responsibly”

The app enabled users of its Oculus Go and Gear VR headsets to watch live music and sports alongside other virtual-reality avatars.

In 2020, Occulus partnered with artist-owned streaming platform Tidal to bring a series of exclusive and intimate live performances that can be streamed in virtual reality to fans’ homes.

More recently it invested $50 million in funding non-profit groups to help “build the metaverse responsibly”.

However, Facebook claims the metaverse “won’t be built overnight by a single company” and has promised to collaborate.

A number of massive tech-centric companies that have vested interests in music, such as Tencent and Alibaba, are also investigating how to build a metaverse.

Roblox’s global head of music told IQ in January that he thinks the metaverse will be bigger than the internet and mobile

Over the course of several years, Epic Games has been expanding its hugely popular online multiplayer game Fortnite to host virtual concerts and brand events within its own virtual world.

Ariana Grande, MarshmelloTravis Scott, Steve Aoki, Deadmau5, Easy Life and J. Balvin are among the artists that have delivered virtual concerts within the game.

Other games are getting closer to a metaverse idea, too. Roblox, for example, is an online community where people come together to play, create and explore millions of 3D virtual worlds together with their friends.

The online gaming platform has also incorporated virtual concerts into its offering with performances from the likes of  Royal Blood and Lil Nas X and Twenty One Pilots.

Roblox’s global head of music, Jon Vlassopulos, told IQ in January that he thinks the metaverse will be bigger than the internet and mobile.

Startup companies including Stage11, AmazeVR, Stageverse and Sensorium have also announced ambitions to develop a metaverse.

 


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Muse go virtual reality in 3D immersive concert

From today, Muse fan will be able to immerse themselves in a mixed-reality performance combining concert footage and virtual world socialising, thanks to virtual entertainment app Stageverse.

Muse’s Simulation Theory: Virtual Experience was filmed in 6K at the group’s sold-out July 2019 show at Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano Stadium (67,829-cap.) and offers 360-degree 3D views and 16 viewpoints to choose from.

The full two-hour show is available for free for an unspecified limited period via the mobile app (available on IOS and Android) and in Virtual Reality via the Oculus Quest App Lab. Fans can dress their avatar selves in outfits from Muse – including frontman Matt Bellamy’s jacket – and fashion house Balmain Paris.

Stageverse is a “social metaverse” platform combining 3D virtual venues, interactive experiences, and the ability for fans to communicate with each other. The app was created by Stage Inc, the entertainment technology company founded in 2017 by Tim Ricker and Claire Seidler. Forthcoming events include an interactive exhibition with visual artist Shantell Martin, and an exhibition called Neon Dreams.

In a statement, Bellamy said: “The music of Simulation Theory was conceived as a 50/50 blend of analogue and electronic instruments, so our goal has always been to create experiences that redefine the human role in programming and technology. We can’t wait for our fans to be able to truly immerse themselves in our Simulation Theory world and take full advantage of everything that the Stageverse experience will offer.”

“Virtual spaces are more relevant to our daily life than ever as we all search for new ways to share experiences and connect with each other in real-time that goes beyond the chat window.” Stageverse CEO Tim Ricker

Ricker said: “Virtual spaces are more relevant to our daily life than ever as we all search for new ways to share experiences and connect with each other in real-time that goes beyond the chat window. We’re proud to introduce the next chapter of virtual entertainment with Stageverse, which allows you to participate outside of physical limitations and engage with contemporary creators in innovative, unexpected ways through the ubiquitous access of mobile phones and the next generation of devices.

“The growth of future-culture will be defined by how elements of the familiar, like going to a concert or brick-and-mortar shopping, are seamlessly integrated into wholly new experiences, which we’re excited to introduce at Muse’s Virtual Experience.”

 


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