Metaverse Companies

Here are several companies with their own metaverse visions.
Meta (formerly Facebook)
In an open letter, Meta CEO and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said his company's metaverse investment represented a fundamental change and was part of a new vision for the social media giant designed to 'bring the metaverse to life'.
He also said that Facebook is a metaverse-first, not Facebook-first, company. That's an important change because it means users eventually won't need a Facebook account to use other services in the metaverse. Among other non-Facebook products, Facebook has already sold millions of its Oculus VR headgear units for navigating the metaverse.
In the Meta announcement, Zuckerberg said Facebook aims to accelerate the development of the fundamental technologies, including social platforms and creative tools, required to 'bring the metaverse to life'. After the Meta news dropped in late 2021, Facebook launched Horizon Worlds, a VR space that users can navigate as an avatar, and tools for developers to create additional virtual worlds.
Epic Games
Epic Games, makers of the popular online shooter game series Fortnite –– with some 350 million users –– and the Unreal Engine software for game developers, planned to stake a claim in the metaverse following a $1 billion round of funding in 2021. This included $200 million from Sony Group Corp.
Epic Games' vision of the metaverse differs from Facebook's in that it wants to provide a communal space for users to interact with each other and brands –– without a news feed riddled with ads.
'I strongly believe that this aligns with our purpose to fill the world with emotion, through the power of creativity and technology,' said Kenichiro Yoshida, chairman, president and CEO at Sony Group Corp. in a statement.
The metaverse is coming to Microsoft Teams –– the software giant's online meetings competitor to Zoom. Microsoft said it will release Mesh for Microsoft Teams in 2022. The new service lets Teams users in different physical locations join collaborative and shared holographic experiences during virtual meetings.
Microsoft said Mesh will let users establish a virtual presence on any device using a customized avatar of themselves. This builds on the earlier announcement of Mesh for Microsoft, a platform for developers that includes a suite of AI-powered tools for avatars, session management, spatial rendering, synchronization across multiple users and 'holoportation'. Holoportation is a 3D capture technology that lets users reconstruct and transmit high-quality 3D models of people in real time.
Microsoft has already been working with professional services firm Accenture to create Mesh-enabled immersive spaces. Accenture hires more than 100,000 people every year and uses Mesh to help onboard new employees.
New hires meet on Teams to receive instructions on how to create a digital avatar and access One Accenture Park –– a shared virtual space that's part of the onboarding process. The futuristic amusement park-like space includes a central conference room, a virtual boardroom and digital monorails that new hires use to travel to different exhibits.

How close is the metaverse?

While the basic idea of being able to engage in a virtual online world has been around for many years, a true metaverse where lifelike interactions are possible is still years away. In his annual year in review blog post, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates noted that most people don't have the VR goggles and motion capture gloves to accurately capture their expression, body language and quality of their voice.
But for business, Gates predicts that in the next two to three years most virtual meetings will move from two dimensional square boxes to the metaverse –– a 3D space with participants appearing as digital avatars.
1) By David Needle Published: 29 Dec 2021