In a move to create the next big thing, Facebook has dropped millions of dollars into hiring thousands of employees to create a VR hangout for friends in cyberspace. The company has announced move information about this massive project on its blog, highlighting the next steps in making the VR metaverse a real thing.
Announced earlier this year, the company behind the social media heavyweight Facebook and the owner of VR company Downpour Interactive is starting to attempt to combine augmented and virtual reality with the social aspect of the internet. Facebook mentioned in one of many blog posts about the subject that it would create ways to allow online interactions to “become much closer to the experience of interacting in person.” It will be a massive project, most likely taking the company many years, thousands of employees, and millions (if not billions) of dollars. But until today, it has been mostly a thought experiment with little done to actually move the project forward, at least publically.
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That all changed, however, when Facebook announced that it is hiring around 10,000 new employees around Europe to help to create this new kind of virtual space. Over the next five years, Facebook will hire into these thousands of “high-skilled jobs within the European Union.” It is mostly targeting talent from Spain, Germany, France, Italy, Ireland, Poland, and the Netherlands. These programmers and engineers will work alongside high-tech talent from other companies to put together this new type of virtual space, including Epic Games, which has raised more than a billion US dollars from investors to also help fund the process.
The concept of integrating reality with an online space is nothing new; it’s been the subject of many sci-fi novels such as Ready Player One and its sequel, but the metaverse collective is trying to make it a reality. Facebook boasts that the project would allow people to have virtual interactions that feel real, as though two people are actually in a room together. It claims the virtual space would open up new opportunities not only socially, but also economically and creatively.
While Facebook continuously reminds the reader on its blog posts that the metaverse will be created by many companies but owned by none, the whole concept still raises some questions about the continual creep of social media into people’s private data and into their lives. It has also raised concerns among people worried about social media censorship and monopolies; Facebook is no stranger to deleting and tagging content it considers misleading, untrue, or inflammatory, like when Facebook censored some dialogue from the VR version of RE4.
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Source: NPR, AboutFB