Meta Beefs Up Metaverse for Work and Social Life, Launches NBCUniversal Collab

Meta Beefs Up Metaverse for Work and Social Life, Launches NBCUniversal Collab

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and leading evangelist of the metaverse, has revealed it is bringing new VR tools and features to work and social media. It also announced a new VR collaboration with NBCUniversal.

During its Meta Connect event, the company said that, when its Meta Quest 2 VR headset launched two years ago, most people spent their VR time in glorious isolation. Now, though, Meta says most people spend their time in multiplayer and social apps.

However, Meta announced that it is developing Meta Horizon Worlds on the web so you can eventually pick up your phone or laptop and visit friends who are hanging out in VR, and vice versa. New social innovations are coming with the YouTube VR team, as well. For example, if a user is hanging out with friends in Meta Horizon Home, they’ll be able to watch YouTube videos together.

Meta is also apparently testing a way to take videos shot in its metaverse Worlds and share them to Instagram as a Reel.

The “next generation” of Meta Avatars are apparently on their way and promise to be more expressive and detailed – hopefully the flat, featureless, and lifeless face of Mark Zuckerberg won’t be with us for much longer. Full body avatars are also coming to VR, starting in Meta Horizon Worlds. Outside of VR, Meta has said that avatars are coming to video chat, starting with Messenger and WhatsApp, so users can express themselves and react “without turning their camera on.”

The company also announced a new multi-year collaboration with NBCUniversal to “bring iconic comedy and horror content to life through experiences in the metaverse.” The Office, Blumhouse, DreamWorks, Universal Monsters, and Halloween Horror Nights will all come to Worlds, allowing users to watch in VR. VR TV watchers will also be able to catch up on NBCUniversal programming when the Peacock app comes to Meta Quest next year.

Big changes are coming to everyone (anyone?) who uses virtual reality for work. The new Meta Quest Pro was “designed with productivity in mind,” and the company is “equally focused” on creating software to support its VR hardware.

Microsoft chairman and CEO Satya Nadella joined Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg to announce a new partnership aiming to create new work and productivity tools for Meta Quest Pro and Meta Quest 2 next year, including apps for Microsoft Windows 365 and Microsoft Teams and the ability to join a Teams meeting from inside Meta Horizon Workrooms.

Other big updates coming to Meta Horizon Workrooms include being able to create your own personal offices, letting users “set up your space the way you’d like, with up to three massive monitors on your desk.” Breakout groups will also allow workers to “seamlessly” transition from large group presentations to smaller groups while remaining in the same room. It’s almost like being in the office.

Meta is also working on a way to review 3D models within Workrooms. Early next year, you’ll be able to join Workrooms via Zoom.

Whether the new tools and collaboration will convince people that the metaverse really will happen, remains to be seen.




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