Commercial landlords didn’t have to go too far for a scare for Halloween last weekend.
They just had to listen to an earnings call last week for Facebook that was attended by Mark Zuckerberg, its billionaire founder. He announced that the company was ready to invest tens of billions to bring a virtual world to users in a way that has never been achieved.
“Over the next decade, these new platforms are going to start to unlock the kinds of experiences that I’ve wanted to build since before I even started Facebook,” Zuckerberg said during an earnings call last week, The Wall Street Journal reported.
He intends to spend about $10 billion this year on Facebook Reality Labs and sees that number increasing over the next several years.
Zuckerberg has been one of the most outspoken proponents of executing many of life’s tasks—especially work—in a virtual environment.
He even announced Facebook will change its name to Meta, a play on the so-called “metaverse,” which the paper said “represents a digital reality where people playing through avatars” could perform a wide range of activities inside a virtual realm.
“The metaverse is the next frontier,” Zuckerberg. “From now on, we’re going to be metaverse-first, not Facebook-first.”
Some analysts—who expressed optimism about the push—said this new reality could be 10 years away. Zuckerberg is also not alone in the pursuit. Video game makers are also trying to be the first to plant their flag on that moon.
Trends Journal has been reporting on how the COVID-19 outbreak has upended the commercial real estate industry. The shift to Zoom meetings and the ease of working from home has forced companies to reconsider the traditional punch-in, punch-out workday. (See “COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE: BOOM OR BUST?” “AS FORECAST: NYC COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE CRISIS WORSENS,” and “MAJOR COMPANIES STORING CASH IN REAL ESTATE: WIN OR LOSE?”
On the other hand, Gerald Celente, the publisher of this magazine, has highlighted the shift to virtual learning to make up for last year’s suspended in-person lessons. (See “INDIA’S ONLINE-LEARNING AN INVESTMENT WINDFALL, SOLIDIFYING ‘INTERACTIVE U’ FORECAST IN TRENDS JOURNAL.”)
He called that the old-school, brick-and-mortar education system that got its footing in Prussia after the Napoleonic Wars—has come to the end of its useful life cycle. The coronavirus outbreak has shown that in-person learning can be replaced, which will only further accelerate the move to all-interactive learning.
For Facebook, Zuckerberg said the eventual payoff could result by inventing this realm and—wait for it—selling products.
“If you’re in the metaverse every day, then you’ll need digital clothes and digital tools and different experiences,” he said. “Our goal is to help the members reach a billion people and hundreds of billions of dollars of digital commerce.”
TREND FORECAST: This is the New ABnormal. Just as the Industrial Revolution sapped the creative uniqueness of individuals with mass production, the metaverse world will further sap the human spirit from the already hi-tech addicted global population.