Facebook is looking to hire 10,000 engineers over the next five years in the European Union to advance its creation of a metaverse, a new digital world that will enable people to explore virtual places together without being in the same physical space.
The company is targeting Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, the Netherlands and Ireland for its recruitment drive. Facebook pointed to Europe as being “hugely important” to the tech giant,” Nick Clegg, Facebook head of global affairs, and Javier Olivan, Facebook vice president central products, said in a blog post.
“At its heart is the idea that by creating a greater sense of ‘virtual presence,’ interacting online can become much closer to the experience of interacting in person. The metaverse has the potential to help unlock access to new creative, social and economic opportunities,” they said in the post.
“The metaverse is a virtual environment where you can be present with people in digital spaces,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on a second-quarter earnings call in July. “You can think of this as an embodied Internet you’re inside of, rather than just looking at. We believe this is going to be the successor of the mobile Internet.”
He added that the metaverse’s “defining quality” is all about presence — “creation, avatars, and digital objects.”
In September, Facebook announced plans to back its metaverse ambitions with $50 million but also said the completion of the project could take 10 to 15 years. The social media giant is also at work expanding the capabilities of products like Oculus to enable remote work meetings that interact with people’s avatars.
Facebook’s metaverse ambitions are not without competitors. Microsoft, Roblox and Epic have also been investing in developing their own versions of the metaverse.
“We believe this is going to be the successor of the mobile Internet … and the next chapter of us as a company,” Zuckerberg said on the earnings call.