Meta opens first physical store to demystify Metaverse

On May 9, anyone who wants to head to the Burlingame, California, Meta campus will receive a pleasant surprise: a physical Meta store with metaverse products to try and test.

The 1,550 square foot building will showcase Meta’s best metaverse products: the Quest VR 2 headset, the video calling device Portal and the Rayban Stories, smart glasses that Rayban and Meta co-produced.

Each product has a demo room where customers can try the metaverse products. For example, customers can put on the Quest VR 2 headset and other customers can watch the VR experience on a floor-to-ceiling TV screen. The Portal video calling product and the Rayban Stories have similar areas in the store for demos.

One of the main goals of the Meta store is to introduce potential customers to the technology that is likely to play a role in Zuckerberg’s metaverse. Martin Gilliard, the head of the Meta Store, said the company does not sell the metaverse in-store. Still, the hope is that customers can become more acquainted with the technology that could eventually connect them to the metaverse.

Meta hasn’t been shy about his metaverse ambitions since Facebook’s infamous name change to Meta. It appears to be trying to expand even more aggressively beyond its social media routes and is promising the integration of NFTs on its platform. But it has not come without criticism in recent weeks after a Meta employee said the company would take 47.5% of its sales as compensation from the creators of the metaverse.

Meta’s Web3 ambitions are gaining momentum, but competitors are coming

Meta may have surprised the world with its name change, but there is no doubt that the company is becoming a contender in the metaverse sector. After the Super Bowl there was a virtual concert of Foo Fighters. Wendy’s recently opened a restaurant on Meta’s VR platform. And that platform — called Horizon Worlds — reached 300,000 users two months ago.

Its expansion into the physical realm may not be shocking then.

But there’s no doubt that some people are pushing back a Mark Zuckerberg metaverse. The company has faced criticism on a few fronts, including its preference for a controlled virtual currency over a decentralized cryptocurrency for its metaverse.

Its competitors are also growing. Punk 6529, an influencer on Twitter and proponent of open metaverses, has created their decentralized virtual world. Though it’s just in the Alpha phase, the metaverse (called Om) is both open and decentralized, a stark contrast to the closed-garden metaverse Zuckerberg is building.

Time will tell how successful the Meta store will be, but there’s little doubt that Meta is gearing up for a major metaverse push — one that has proponents and critics alike.

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