Demystifying the Metaverse: Meta opens its first hardware store
The first Meta Store will open in May. Customers can test the latest Metaverse technology there, such as Quest 2 and precursors like Ray-Ban Stories.
Ten years ago, few would have thought it possible that Facebook would focus on futuristic hardware and open its own stores to showcase and sell it. But this vision is gradually taking shape.
In the Meta Store, the company wants to demonstrate what is possible with its devices today and provide a first glimpse into the Metaverse. On display are the AR-capable Portal video chat devices, the Ray-Ban Stories camera and audio glasses, and the standalone Meta Quest 2 VR headset.
More devices are planned for the future. According to a roadmap leak, Meta plans to unveil a smartwatch later this year and launch two ambitious Metaverse devices in 2024: data glasses ("Hypernova") that pair with a smartphone and display notifications in the field of view, and more advanced AR glasses ("Project Nazare") that can display holograms.
Getting up close and personal with VR and AR
The Meta Store is all about touching and trying things out. That makes sense: It's hard to grasp the potential of virtual and augmented reality until you experience the technologies for yourself.
Visitors can have video conversations with Portal in a special demo area, put on Ray-Ban Stories and shoot photos from a first-person perspective, or play with Quest 2.
Meta Store, our first brick and mortar retail and experience space, opening on May 9 at our Burlingame campus (322 Airport Blvd, Burlingame, CA). Check it out! ? pic.twitter.com/6UpKVOWiN5
- Boz (@boztank) April 25, 2022
A video of the virtual reality experience is streamed in real time to a large LED screen where players merge with the virtual world. They can then take home a 30-second clip as a souvenir.
The total area of the Meta Store is 150 square meters. The store is located near Reality Labs' headquarters in Burlingame, California. Reality Labs is the name of the division that develops Metaverse technology with a workforce of 18,000.
Demystifying the Metaverse
The fact that Meta is not opening in a major city shows the preliminary nature of the project. The company says it first wants to experiment and gather feedback to shape the future of its retail strategy.
Meta has time for that - and needs it. The company knows that the Metaverse is still in its infancy and that the devices shown, except perhaps Quest 2, do not yet have much to do with Mark Zuckerberg's grand vision. The Portal devices are capable of simple AR effects, but also only on one screen, while the Ray-Ban Stories doesn't even have a display built-in.
"We’re not selling the metaverse in our store, but hopefully people will come in and walk out knowing a little bit more about how our products will help connect them to it," says Martin Gilliard, Head of Meta Store.
Meta has also launched an online store on the official Meta website selling its products.