Facebook launches virtual reality work app, takes a step towards 'metaverse'
Facebook is trying to pull in workplace users with a new virtual reality app called Horizon Workrooms.
Workrooms lets people meet remotely in a virtual space populated by avatars. It's an app for Facebook's headset, which costs at least $300 and weighs a pound. People without a headset can join with a video call. Up to 50 people can be on the call, but only 16 can be in the VR space with avatars.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is a fan of the metaverse, a vague concept that encompasses augmented and virtual reality with new ways of connecting. He expects it to be the next stage of how people experience the internet.
Virtual reality has never really taken off, even during the pandemic, when remote work became the norm for millions of office workers and made videoconferencing service Zoom a household name.
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The beta test of Facebook's Horizon Workrooms app comes as many companies continue to work from home after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down physical workspaces and as a new variant is sweeping across the globe.
Facebook sees its latest launch as an early step toward building the futuristic "metaverse" that CEO Mark Zuckerberg has touted in recent weeks.
The world's largest social network has invested heavily in virtual and augmented reality, developing hardware such as its Oculus VR headsets, working on AR glasses and wristband technologies and buying a bevy of VR gaming studios, including BigBox VR.
(Disclaimer: Additional background information has been added to this PTI copy for context)