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Facebook Launches Metaverse With ‘Horizon Workrooms’

By Gary Symons

TLL Editor in Chief

If you’re a subscriber to The Licensing Letter’s monthly magazine, you likely have already read how the rapidly developing ‘Metaverse’ is about to transform the licensing industry.

In the August edition of The Licensing Letter, we presented a major report on how the Metaverse is being developed, which companies are leading the technology race, and how the Metaverse will become the next big licensing opportunity for our industry. (If you are a subscriber, and have not yet read our Special Report: Licensing in the Metaverse, you can download that issue AT THIS LINK.)

Now, just weeks later, Facebook has officially launched the first of its services based on the Metaverse concept, called Horizon Workrooms.

On Aug. 19, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared in an exclusive interview with CBS anchor Gayle King, demonstrating the concept by having both himself and King beamed into the Horizon Metaverse for part of the interview.

The avatars of CBS anchor Gayle King and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg chat in a virtual CBS newsroom. The historic interview was the first time Zuckerberg appeared in the virtual Metaverse for a news interview, touching off an entirely new sector for business and licensing.

The program showed both King and Zuckerberg wearing Oculus headsets and holding Oculus controllers, but then switched to the Metaverse version of the interview, in which their avatars sat at a desk, chatting away and making completely lifelike hand gestures as they spoke.

According to Zuckerberg, the new technology will completely transform the way we live, work, and conduct commerce within five years.

“We’re very optimistic that, within five years, people are going to be able to live where they want, and work from wherever they want, but be able to be present, as if they are together when they are doing that,” said Zuckerberg.

More startling than the appearance of their avatars, however, was the ability to show people at their desks and computers, and to be able to share things on a screen or digital whiteboard. Other than the fact the characters were represented by cartoon-like avatars, the meeting looked like any meeting conducted in the real world.

Horizon Workrooms is now out of beta, and if you wish, you can sign up for an account AT THIS LINK. If you want the full experience, it’s recommended you purchase an Oculus headset and remote controllers.

The launch of Horizon Workrooms is another critical step in the development of virtual worlds, but it is far from the first. As detailed in our report Licensing In The Metaverse, several companies like Roblox, Minecraft/Microsoft, and Decentraland, among others, are racing to become the leaders in what will likely become a replacement for the internet technology we currently work with.

As well, that technology will allow companies from various industries, such as video gaming, fashion, art, music, film and television, toys and games, and much more, to create entirely new categories of licensed products and events. It will also mean that meetings and conferences will increasingly be conducted online, not through the current 2D conferencing software we use today, such as Zoom, but in highly immersive, 3D worlds through which our avatars and move, talk, and handle items very much like in the real world.

Roblox, for example, is already involved in commercial activities, with their users both creating and selling virtual goods, or marketing physical goods through stores that exist in the Metaverse. Already, Roblox creators have generated more than a quarter-billion dollars in sales in the Roblox Metaverse. Just this month, the toy and entertainment company even premiered its most recent series opener of the popular hit show Bakugan for people appearing as avatars in the Roblox Metaverse.

Bakugan Airing Episode on Roblox ‘Metaverse’

Zuckerberg, in his interview with CBS, and previous interviews with outlets like The Verge, has said he believes the creation of the Metaverse is at the centre of his company’s future plans. “So I think of the metaverse as the next generation of the internet,” Zuckerberg said. “So you can kind of think about it as, instead of being an internet that we look at, right, on our mobile phones or our computer screens, it’s an internet that we are a part of, or that we can be inside of.

“Right now, I think people think about us as a social media company, and understandably,” Zuckerberg added. “But I think, you know, five years from now, if we do our job well here, people will think about us primarily as a metaverse company.”

To learn more about how the Metaverse, subscribers can click the link below for access to the report.

Special Report: Licensing In The Metaverse