Meta, ex-Facebook, intends to open physical stores in order to present its metaverse project to the public, indicates the New York Times. Citing people with knowledge of the project and company documents, NYT reports that Meta has talked about opening stores around the world to introduce people to products made by its Reality Labs division, including VR headsets, glasses AR and Portal devices. The NYT adds that the documents indicate that the stores would be intended to make the world “more open and connected”, engendering “curiosity” and “proximity”, while making people feel “welcome”, and that a flagship site had been planned in Burlingame, California.
The sources told The New York Times that talk of opening doors to physical sites began as early as last year, long before Facebook rebranded itself as Meta. Citing the documents, the article says that ‘Facebook Store’ was the first choice for the name of these “doors”. The group had also considered options such as Facebook Hub, Facebook Commons, Facebook Innovations, Facebook Reality Store and From Facebook. The article also notes that Facebook already has some experience in operating pop-up stores.
Facebook had announced at the end of October, for its third fiscal quarter, profits above expectations, releasing adjusted earnings per share of $3.22 compared to a consensus of $3.2. This adjusted profit per share was $2.71 a year earlier. Quarterly revenue meanwhile totaled $29 billion, down from $21.5 billion a year earlier and consensus $29.5 billion. Quarterly net profit reached $9.19 billion, compared to $7.85 billion a year earlier.
While Mark Zuckerberg’s group is currently being criticized for its response to hate speech on its platform, the latter tried to put it into perspective last month by highlighting efforts to attract young users and build an immersive digital experience. The boss of the social network also evoked a coordinated effort by the media to paint a misleading image of his company.
The controversy did not, however, prevent Facebook from further growing its user base. The number of monthly active users in the third quarter reached 2.91 billion, up 6% compared to last year.
Facebook will start publishing the financial results of its augmented and virtual reality ‘labs’ as a separate unit, where it is investing billions in its ambition to build the ‘metaverse’, and as the group clarifies that its core business advertising faces significant uncertainties.
Facebook, which reported third-quarter profit up 17%, warned that Apple’s new privacy changes will weigh on its digital business in the current quarter. The social media company reported quarterly revenue below market expectations, which Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg therefore explained by changes to iOS. David Wehner, Facebook’s chief financial officer, said the company expects its investment in its Facebook Reality Labs hardware division to reduce overall operating profit in 2021 by about $10 billion. The financial commitment on this hardware-focused unit that will work on Facebook’s ‘metaverse’ ambitions, comes as the company is overwhelmed by coverage of documents leaked by former Facebook employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen , that the company chose profit over user safety.
Zuckerberg defended himself against criticism stemming from the documents, which he said paints a “false picture of our business.” The CEO said that Facebook in the coming years would not be seen as a social media company, but as a company focused on the famous metaverse. The term refers to a shared virtual environment that people using different devices can access.
Facebook, which has invested heavily in virtual reality and augmented reality, including buying companies like Oculus, this year created a product team to work on the metaverse. Last month, he announced his intention to hire 10,000 employees in Europe over five years to work on the subject.