Facebook has announced that it wants to create 10,000 jobs in the European Union (EU) to build its metaverse, a virtual reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users.
The concept of the metaverse can be traced to Neal Stephenson’s 1992 cyberpunk novel Snow Crash. In the novel, the metaverse is a virtual shared space that appears to its users as an urban environment. This space is accessed through personal terminals connected to virtual reality goggles.
Sound familiar? That’s because the metaverse is quickly becoming a reality thanks to companies like Oculus, a subsidiary of Facebook, and the combined effort of developers and content creators from around the world.
By creating thousands of new high-skilled jobs within the EU over the next five years, Facebook wants to accelerate the development of the metaverse to usher in a new phase of interconnected virtual experiences, enabled by technologies like virtual and augmented reality.
“At its heart is the idea that by creating a greater sense of ‘virtual presence,’ interacting online can become much closer to the experience of interacting in person,” said Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice-president of global affairs. “The metaverse has the potential to help unlock access to new creative, social and economic opportunities”.
According to the official announcement, Facebook decided to invest in the EU because the company believes that European talent is world-leading, supported by first-class universities. Facebook also mentioned the role European policymakers are playing in shaping the internet, so it’s likely that the investment has a political dimension to it.
Aware of its tarnished reputation, the social media giant stressed that no single company would own and operate the metaverse — just like no single company owns the internet today. Of course, that doesn’t change anything about the fact that Facebook wants to play a huge role in it.
Earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg told his employees that Facebook is becoming a metaverse company with the goal of building a set of connected social apps and supporting hardware. The recently released Horizon Workrooms remote collaboration app for the Oculus Quest 2 headset can be seen as an early piece of the much larger puzzle the metaverse will become in the future.
Spotify Is Experimenting With Artist NFT Collections
According to a recent survey, it seems that the currently tested NFT collections are just the first step toward a much broader implementation of NFTs into the platform.
NFT sales may have declined by 92 percent since September 2021, but that’s not stopping Spotify from experimenting with a new feature that lets artists display their non-fungible token (NFT) collections on the music streaming platform.
At the moment, only a small group of artists are taking part in the experiment, including Steve Aoki and The Wombats. What’s more, only select US users of the Spotify app for Android can see NFTs when they visit the profile pages of the aforementioned artists.
“Spotify is running a test in which it will help a small group of artists promote their existing third-party NFT offerings via their artist profiles,” said Spotify spokesperson. “We routinely conduct a number of tests in an effort to improve artist and fan experiences.”
It’s important to point out that not all Spotify experiments result in new features. It all depends on the feedback the music streaming platform receives from users.
According to a survey some Spotify users have recently received, it seems that the currently tested NFT collections are just the first step toward a much broader implementation of NFTs into the platform. More specifically, Spotify seems to be thinking about allowing its users to directly purchase NFT art to support their favorite artists.
Considering how polarizing NFTs have been since their inception in 2014, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many Spotify users have immediately expressed their dissatisfaction with the idea of NFTs becoming part of the Spotify music listening experience.
Other large tech companies are also experimenting with NFTs. Instagram, for example, started testing NFT integration last week, allowing NFT creators and collectors to display their tokens on the platform. Mark Zuckerberg himself believes that NFTs and digital collectibles in general will play an integral role in the metaverse, the new iteration of the internet.