Facebook’s move to rebrand as Meta aspires to fold its social media world into the metaverse, but the tech giant is also said to have its ambitions rooted in the real world with rumored talks of physical retail stores, insider sources told the New York Times.
Meta, formerly known as Facebook, is reportedly planning physical stores to showcase virtual reality headsets and other merchandise from the company’s Reality Labs division as the social media giant journeys to fully roll out its metaverse, the New York Times (NYT) reported, after reviewing internal documents.
See also: Facebook Rebrands as Meta
Virtual reality headsets and augmented reality glasses will be inroads into the metaverse that Facebook envisions as the next social network, where users comingle in virtual worlds. The physical stores would give people hands-on insight about the realities of the metaverse.
The stores are intended to help people see a more connected world, the NYT reported, per the internal documents. Talks of opening brick-and-mortar stores, however, preceded Facebook’s rebranding by several months.
The VR headset is already a sought-after product, a Meta spokesperson told the NYT, and it’s available at retailers. But Facebook didn’t confirm or deny plans for physical stores.
“We are, at best guess, at least five to 10 years out from a fully fleshed-out Meta product or service,” Tim Derdenger, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business, said, per the NYT.
Facebook-turned-Meta isn’t the first big tech company to open physical stores. Amazon, Microsoft, and others have made similar moves to give customers a merchandise test-drive. Facebook, too, had its own brick-and-mortar pop-up shops in New York City airports as well as in Macy’s.
The stores reportedly being pondered by Facebook would carry “Portal devices — teleconferencing gadgets that let people video chat over Facebook — as well as the Oculus headsets,” the company documents said, per the NYT.
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