The metaverse is a virtual reality (VR) space that enables users to interact with each other inside a computer-generated environment. In 2021, Facebook’s parent company rebranded to Meta, expanding its focus beyond social media to encompass building the metaverse. The Facebook metaverse refers to Facebook (or, Meta’s) contribution to the metaverse. It’s a virtual reality-based social platform. Here is how Meta describes Facebook metaverse:
“The metaverse is the next evolution in social connection and the successor to the mobile internet” .
Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Meta (formerly Facebook), describes the metaverse as a place to “connect, work, play, learn, and shop” . Here are a few Facebook metaverse features:
Horizon Worlds. With the rebranding of Facebook to Meta came the introduction of Horizon Worlds, “an ever-expanding social universe” with “over 10,000 worlds and experiences,” and the expansion of its Meta Quest VR gear offerings . The application uses VR technology, controllable animation, and physics to replicate objects in the physical world. It offers multiplayer gaming, music, interactive puzzles, sports, films, and more.
Horizon Venues. Have you ever wished you could attend a concert or a sports game from the comfort of your own home? Horizon Venues aims to deliver that experience by providing users with computerized simulations of event spaces.
Meta’s website cites several other future use cases for the Facebook metaverse, such as virtual shopping experiences and immersive e-learning experiences.
Did you know? The word metaverse is used to describe a network of virtual worlds. Author Neal Stephenson coined the term in his 1992 science fiction novel about life in virtual reality, “Snow Crash.” Aspects of the metaverse exist today in real-life applications like video games Minecraft, Fortnight, and Axie Infinity. The metaverse expands beyond games and can also be used for socializing, work, and leisure.
People often colloquially use the term metaverse to refer to Facebook’s contribution to the metaverse. However, Facebook’s metaverse is just one part of a much larger metaverse. Currently, the metaverse isn’t one interconnected space. It’s made up of many individual worlds and owned by many different entities. For example, Minecraft’s world exists separately from Fortnight’s world. However, they are both considered a part of the metaverse. Each one has its own avatars, currency, rules, and access points.
Other metaverse use cases
Roblox, a popular gaming platform, is a storefront where users can select the games they want to play. Basic play is free, and the company sells Robux currency to access more advanced play.
No matter what part of the metaverse you plan to visit, you’ll need some type of electronic equipment to enter. Your options are as follows:
Virtual reality headsets: Virtual reality (VR) headsets are high-tech goggles you place over your eyes to view the metaverse. To look at and participate in your surroundings, you need to move your head, not just your eyes. Different types of VR are available for the metaverse worlds you’re visiting, such as the Meta Quest line (formerly Oculus Quest) from Meta.
Meta purchased Oculus in 2014 and began rebranding Oculus Quest products as Meta Quest in 2022, following the 2021 parent company name change.
Augmented reality (AR) gear: AR is similar to VR. While VR simulates an immersive digital environment, AR overlays digital elements on the natural world. AR gear like AR glasses is less cumbersome than VR, allowing for freer movement.
Mobile apps: You don’t always need VR and AR to enter the metaverse. A mobile phone can run some metaverse platforms without any additional equipment. For example, Roblox is accessible on your smartphone with or without VR technology.
Gaming consoles: PlayStation is a gaming console that can work with or without VR. You can enter the Roblox metaverse without a VR headset. Other metaverses can be accessed with a headset. Roblox is accessible with the Xbox One gaming console, and Microsoft has announced plans to expand Xbox capabilities to Minecraft and Halo.
Computers: VR and AR systems will work with most PCs; however, for the best experience, your computer should have good graphic capability and a minimum of 2 GB of RAM. Apple recently announced a new interface called Metal3 that will improve gaming on the MacBook Pro. Resident Evil Village and No Man’s Sky will be introduced for use with the Metal 3 interface.
Job opportunities are expected to grow as the metaverse expands. These jobs will likely require technical experience and up-to-date skills. Here are some examples of jobs that allow you to design, create, or interact with the metaverse:
Median annual US salary: $109,020 
Job outlook (projected growth 2021-2031): 25%
Software engineers with experience in augmented reality (AR) platforms and artificial intelligence (AI) help the metaverse expand. A computer science background and knowledge of programming languages is recommended for those who want to be a software developer. You can learn the skills you need from Meta directly with the Meta Back End Developer Professional Certificate:
Read more: How to Become a Software Developer | 9 Tips
3D game designers
Median annual US salary: $78,300 
Job outlook (projected growth 2021-2031): 23%
Game designers with experience in computer animation, 3D modeling, and game interface design contribute to the metaverse. If you’re interested in a career as a game designer, you may consider earning a degree in game design or a related field. Get started today with a specialization like Extended Reality for Everybody by the University of Michigan:
Read more: How to Become an Oculus Developer in 4 Steps
Median annual US salary: $69,510 
Job outlook (projected growth 2021-2031): 4%
If you enjoy creating stories, the metaverse needs game writers like you to craft storylines for various genres. Knowledge of game design and development can help boost your creative writing skills.
Median annual salary: $102,600 
Job outlook (projected growth 2021-2031): 35%
The safety and privacy of the metaverse depend on cybersecurity. Along with cybersecurity experience, programming skills are necessary. Working in cybersecurity requires protecting the metaverse from vulnerability and attacks.
Median annual US salary: $128,170 
Job outlook (projected growth 2021-2031): 5%
With the metaverse’s many features, hardware engineers are needed to design equipment such as VR and AR gear, and virtual exercise and other metaverse equipment.
Zuckerberg anticipates Meta will contribute significantly to building the metaverse, alongside other tech companies such as Microsoft and Epic Games. Last year, he anticipated spending approximately $10 billion on metaverse infrastructure . Meta hopes one billion people will participate in the metaverse by 2031 .
Learn more about emerging technologies with Coursera
As the metaverse expands, you can prepare for potential career opportunities or explore options as a hobbyist online. Learn more and earn a certificate for your resume with the Meta course What is the Metaverse? on Coursera.
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