Meta Contemplating Rolling Out Physical Stores to Take Its Metaverse to the Masses
Meta is not only keen on building next-generation virtual reality and augmented reality headsets but the company also wants to catalyze the immersive internet that Meta, formerly Facebook, believes will play a central role in human interaction, the metaverse. To sell its metaverse idea to the masses, the company wants to go as far as rolling out physical retail stores that will be more accessible to the masses.
A report in New York Times states that Meta has been planning to roll out its own retail stores across the world. The Times report is citing people who are privy to the project details as well as on internal company documents that were shared with the New York Times.
According to these documents, the aim of the physical Meta retail stores is to allow people to try out the company’s XR hardware inside a “more open and connected” space that will enable the guests to feel “curiosity, closeness” and also welcomed. The stores are meant to provide curious enthusiasts with a “judgment-free journey” in their encounter with Meta’s XR products.
The internal documents appear to be more than just marketing fluff. The report states that “serious work” had already begun last year and even predates Meta’s last month’s rebranding from its iconic Facebook brand. It is still uncertain whether Meta will follow through with its plans for physical retail stores. The claims made in the report haven’t been substantiated elsewhere.
Facebook has had other promotional drives in the past to take its VR headsets to the masses, including pop-up events and in-store demos.
If the company proceeds with the launch of the physical stores for its metaverse dream, this would be a huge step and would put the company on the same retail pedestal as other major tech players such as Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Google opened its first physical retail store this summer.
Meta’s physical stores will need to be situated in highly visible locations to help broaden the company’s aggressive push into the consumer market. The company would also have to be sure about its products.
Meta already sells the Oculus Quest 2 headset and recently released the Ray-Ban camera glasses in partnership with the luxury eyewear company. Additionally, the company also has other immersive hardware products in the works. The Project Cambria mixed reality headset was unveiled last month and Meta has also teased an AR headset known as Project Nazare. It isn’t clear whether these will eventually be productized but should they see the light of the day, the company will definitely be looking forward to doing in-person demos in its yet-to-be-launched retail stores since AR and mixed reality headsets are still new terrain for many VR enthusiasts.