Can the Metaverse Thrive if It’s Fully Owned by Facebook?

The metaverse. A simulated world, controlled with inputs from our reality to merge cyberspace and meatspace into one plane of existence. If this sounds like a sci-fi concept from the early ‘90s, that’s because it is. But now Facebook is trying to make the metaverse a reality.

The company has been exploring AR and VR tech with the goal of manufacturing a virtual experience that allows users from all over the world to interact in a shared dimension. So far, the most promising metaverse concept the company has shown off is a VR conference room for business meetings. Not super exciting, folks! However, Facebook has demonstrated that its tech has the potential to re-frame how we interact in the future—provided we all use Facebook headsets and apps from the Oculus store to meet up within the confines of Facebook’s platform.

This week on Gadget Lab, we talk with Peter Rubin, WIRED contributor and author of the book Future Presence, about Facebook’s grand vision and whether an open, platform-agnostic version of the metaverse will ever fully materialize.

Show Notes

Read Peter’s story about Facebook’s Horizon Workrooms. Also, his story about the metaverse in Ready Player One. Peter’s book, Future Presence, is now out in paperback. Read Lauren’s story about Facebook’s wrist wearables. And Gilad Edelman has a take on cargo pants, obviously.


Peter recommends the show Reservation Dogs. Lauren recommends taking a staycation, because you deserve it. Mike recommends Peter’s newsletter, The Peter Principle.

PeterRubin can be found on Twitter @provenself. Lauren Goode is @LaurenGoode. Michael Calore is @snackfight. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. The show is produced by Boone Ashworth (@booneashworth). Our theme music is by Solar Keys.

If you have feedback about the show, or just want to enter to win a $50 gift card, take our brief listener survey here.

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