Facebook’s going through a name change. The parent company of the social media platform known as Facebook and the VR company known as Oculus will now be known as “Meta.”
In case you missed last week’s news, this follows many rumblings from company CEO Mark Zuckerberg about wanting to turn his social media behemoth into a metaverse-focused behemoth. It also follows months and months of damning revelations about how Facebook’s conduct has damaged communities and driven partisan strife across the globe.
However much of this move is branding-motivated, it appears to be at least partly tied to Zuckerberg’s personal fascination with digital worlds. In an interview with the Verge, he stated that the company sees itself more as a technology developer building connective products, rather than just a social media empire. “For us, it was never just about social media, and increasingly we’re moving beyond that,” he explained.
The move is similar to Google’s shift from being just “Google” to moving the Google brand to a company that lives under the brand of Alphabet.
Facebook’s commitment to the all-virtual world does appear to include some use of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Zuckerburg explained to The Verge that existing in online worlds means people are sensitive about “money and ownership.”
“They just really want to know that their thing isn’t going to be taken away,” he said, seeming to imply that these technologies could be used to address that concern.
The name change also comes with a slew of metaverse-adjacent product announcements. Facebook is launching its own “metaverse” virtual world called Horizon, and is working on two new headsets: a mixed-reality headset called “Project Cambria,” and a set of AR glasses called “Nazaré.”
Meta’s announcement also came with some other news relevant for the world of game development. For one, Meta is apparently taking another look at the Facebook login requirement for using Oculus devices, something bemoaned by developers over the last year.
Zuckerburg himself described that there was “confusion” about that login requirement, saying that concerns about losing access to Facebook then causing you to lose access to Oculus are “valid.”
Elsewhere, Oculus announced a slew of new games for the platform that includes a VR port of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.