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Facebook Stock Rises Ahead of $10 Billion 'Metaverse' Launch

The social-media giant will share plans to bring the metaverse to life as it seeks to build a digital universe of creators, goods and commerce.

Facebook  (FB) - Get Facebook, Inc. Class A Report will reveal plans to bring its so-called metaverse to life Thursday as part of a $10 billion project to transition from its much-criticized social network and related family of apps and into what founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has called an "embodied internet".

The event will be live streamed here.

The metaverse, Zuckerberg said, will be a "virtual world where you can deliver extensive products like you're right there, with another person, that's the holy grail of online social experience". The Atlantic describes it as simply a 'sexy', aspirational name for some kind of virtual or augmented-reality play. Either way, the metaverse will allow Facebook to build future revenue streams, cement its position in the next computing platform, and potentially rewrite its company narrative going forward, according to analysts tracking the company.

"This is a major area of investment for us and an important part of our strategy going forward," Zuckerberg said in an earnings call with investors on Monday, adding it would hire 10,000 people in Europe over the next five years to help create it.

Facebook shares were marked 0.7% higher on the Thursday session to change hands at $314.50 each. 

According to a report last week from The Verge, Zuckerberg may also rebrand the company to mark its change in focus from social media to the metaverse; Facebook already owns meta.com, meta.org, and perhaps dozens of other meta-names, domains, handles, and properties, according to Bloomberg.

Zuckerberg said the metaverse will lead to a massive increase in the creator economy and amount of digital goods and commerce. "If you're in the metaverse every day, then you'll need digital clothes and digital tools and different experiences," he added.

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Facebook's head of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, Andrew Bosworth, a longtime executive and close friend of Zuckerberg’s who will take over as chief technology officer in early 2022 will the lead on building this new experience.

Zuckerberg has said it will take several years to build out the metaverse experience, although it already owns a company called Oculus, which manufactures and sells VR computers and headsets.

"We're building multiple generations of our VR and AR products at the same time, as well as the new operating system and development model, the digital commerce platform, content studios, and of course, the social platform," he said.

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Facebook has been laying the foundation for this project since at least 2014, when it acquired the virtual-reality headset maker Oculus. Last month, Facebook began selling Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses in cooperation with EssilorLuxottica.

TheStreet's founder Jim Cramer has earlier said that if you're really looking for dominance in the metaverse, turn your attention to chipmaker Nvidia  (NVDA) - Get NVIDIA Corporation Report, which makes "Omniverse" software, powered by its AI semiconductors, that allows for simultaneous -- and remote -- work on projects with real-time photorealistic rendering.

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