Facebook (Meta) doesn’t own Metaverse. In fact, in a true sense, the Metaverse doesn’t even exist today. Moreover, nobody owns and will ever own the Metaverse. Facebook only wants to be a company of many companies trying to build a universe in the Metaverse.
We have the internet. We have created hundreds of thousands of businesses using the internet. Netflix, Amazon, Uber, Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, Online news organizations, etc., everything is possible only because of the internet. All these companies are known as “Internet Companies.”
The companies mentioned above use the internet infrastructure, but none owns the internet.
However, many claim that the Metaverse is the next internet which is not valid. Metaverse is nothing but a service that is created using the internet infrastructure. Metaverse will not replace the internet; instead, it will use the internet to materialize itself.
In simple terms, Metaverse is nothing but an interoperable interconnected 3D virtual world.
In the early days of Email, it was impossible to send an email from one service provider (example, yahoo.com) to another (example, hotmail.com). Interoperability – sending Emails from yahoo.com to hotmail.com – between email services came later.
Similarly, in the early days of cell phone services, calling and sending SMS between service providers (T-Mobile to Verizon) was impossible. We can say that it’s still true between chatting apps. For example, we can’t send Google Duo to Facebook Messenger.
However, the vision of Metaverse is different. Today, various companies, including Meta (formerly Facebook), Microsoft, Nvidia, etc., are trying to make their 3D virtual world. Each one of these virtual worlds is a universe in the Metaverse. But the critical difference is interoperability. In the Metaverse, we will send and receive our virtual belongings and information between these 3D virtual worlds regardless of the owner of the virtual world.
For example, I have a T-shirt in a virtual world created by Meta (Facebook). In the Metaverse, I will be able to take that T-shirt to a virtual world created by Microsoft. Even though today we have Second Life, Roblox, Minecraft, etc., these are not interoperable virtual worlds. Thus, these are not part of Metaverse.
Furthermore, the core concept of Metaverse is that we will be able to access it through VR, AR, smartphone, game console, web browser, etc. Companies can make products that will facilitate us to access the Metaverse, but no single company can act as a gatekeeper.
In light of the above discussion, it’s clear that no single company will own or operate the Metaverse. Instead, various companies will enable us to create the Metaverse. Therefore, Facebook (aka Meta) doesn’t and will not own Metaverse.
It’s our understanding that Meta (formerly Facebook) intentionally changed its name to Meta to monopolize on the Metaverse term.
Before the name change from Facebook to Meta, Mark Zuckerberg was constantly being criticized in the news media for various reasons. Similar to other companies who changed their name in a PR move to avoid controversy, it somewhat worked.
Mark Zuckerberg is a big fan of Virtual Reality (VR). He bought Oculus in 2014 for $2 billion. Since then, he has been pushing VR into the mainstream. Over time VR became popular but failed to become widely profitable. Moreover, US lawmakers have been trying to break up Facebook in recent years.
Therefore, Facebook’s shift to Metaverse creation will help them in these times because they can argue that they are not a monopoly but a minor player.