Meta discusses opening physical stores to sell their AR and VR devices. Retail outlets will be used to showcase gadgets manufactured by Reality Labs, including virtual reality headsets and augmented reality goggles.
According to company documents, the purpose of the stores is to make the world “more open and interconnected”, to arouse “curiosity, closeness.”
The physical store discussions preceded Facebook’s rebranding. Serious work on this initiative began last year.
A Meta spokesperson said the company could not confirm plans to open stores, but noted that its latest virtual reality headset is “in high demand” and its hardware is available at partner retail stores.
While Meta’s Reality Labs division has had some success with the Oculus Quest 2, VR remains a niche market for hobbyists and enthusiasts alike. Hardware is often expensive and difficult to use.
“At least five to ten years separate us from a fully formed Meta product or service,” said Tim Durdenger, professor at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University. He says that what Meta was working on was similar to the Second Life computer game from the early 2000s.
Meta has experimented with physical sales in recent years. The company opened kiosks at airports and a store in the Soho district of Manhattan to showcase its Oculus products.
If new Meta stores do open, they will feature products such as Portal teleconferencing devices that allow people to video chat over Facebook, as well as Oculus headsets, the company said in its documentation. Stores may also sell voice-activated sunglasses developed by Meta in conjunction with Ray-Ban.
An early design for Meta’s stores showcases a minimalist interior aesthetic. According to the documents, the company considered naming its stores Facebook Hub, Facebook Commons, Facebook Innovations, Facebook Reality Store, before settling on the Facebook Store option.
Facebook’s flagship store was planned in Burlingame, California, where Meta has an office for Reality Labs employees.
Earlier it became known that Facebook is developing a high-end virtual reality headset, which will become part of the metaverse of the company. The VR headset, codenamed Project Cambria, is due out in 2022.
On October 28, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook’s renaming to Meta. Instead of a social network, it will be a metaverse – a global platform of virtual reality, where all users will communicate with each other without the need to be in a certain physical space and to be tied to special gadgets developed for the social network. The company announced the creation of a $ 50 million fund, from which the funds will go to the development of the metaverse. She plans to spend the money on research in augmented reality and finding ways to use the technology for end users.