F8 Conference Postponed as Meta Focuses on the Metaverse
Meta has canceled this year’s F8 conference and rescheduled it for later in the year. In a blog post, the company states that it is instead directing its focus to the Metaverse as it seeks to make some progress before it hosts the next F8 conference.
Due to concerns over the pandemic, the conference hasn’t taken place over the past two years, anyway. However, this year’s postponement has nothing to do with pandemic concerns. The company is steering its efforts towards building the metaverse, an endeavor in which it is already sinking billions of dollars annually. Meta’s Director of Developer & Startup Programs stated that the company is “taking a brief break in programming” and will instead put more effort into “new initiatives” which are tailored towards building “the next chapter of the internet….building the metaverse.” However, Meta will still host the XR-focused Connect event later this year.
The Facebook F8 event is typically held in the first half of every year with the event normally occurring between March and June. The event wasn’t held in 2009, 2012, and 2013 and the 2011 F8 even was held in September.
The F8 event mainly focuses on the company’s traditional businesses including Instagram, Facebook, Messenger, and WhatsApp. The last time the venue saw any major announcements were during the 2019 F8 event during which the company announced its widely successful Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift S headsets. During that event, the company had also teased its body-tracking research.
Facebook has been hosting separate annual conferences for Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality since September 2014. Before its rebranding last year, the event was known as Oculus Connect. The Connect has also been a platform for the launches of immersive technologies from Meta and other industry players. The Samsung Gear VR was unveiled at Oculus Connect. Oculus Connect 3 saw the launch of the Oculus Touch Controllers while Oculus Go was unveiled at the Oculus Connect 4. Oculus Quest arrived at the Connect 5. Meta’s controller-free hand tracking as well as the Oculus Link PC VR connection for Quest were unveiled at the Connect 6.
Oculus Connect was rebranded to simply ‘Connect’ in 2020 which also saw the dropping of the numbering sequence. The Connect 2020 also saw the launch of Meta’s most successful VR headset ever, the Oculus Quest 2.
The biggest development at the Connect conference in 2021 was Facebook’s rebranding to Meta, a move that spawned a massive interest in the metaverse. During last year’s Connect, Zuckerberg also announced the high-end headset effort Project Cambria and teased an Augmented Reality glasses prototype.
Meta’s Chief Scientist Michael Abrash has typically showcased the company’s research and development work on the long-term prospects of virtual reality and augmented reality at the Connect conferences. These are futuristic technologies that may not even be productized.
This year’s Connect conference will, therefore, take place much later in the year, unlike previous events.