Vishal Shah: ‘Metaverse not replacement of physical experiences, but new way to experience the Internet’


“Today, we primarily perceive the Internet as we look at it. In the future we will be in this. “

There cannot be a simpler explanation for such a complex concept as Metaverse… Even if we don’t know exactly how the Metaverse will unfold, major technologists are convinced that this is the future. So much so that Facebook rebranded In itself as Meta, a clear indicator of where Menlo Park sees itself in a few years. Vishal Shah is in charge of everything Metaverse at Meta.

Shah, vice president of Metaverse at Meta, says everyone truly believes that Metaverse is the successor to the mobile web. “Not a new Internet, not a new set of protocols, not a completely new framework, but a new way of using the Internet.” Shah explains that this version of the mobile web is best used in virtual or augmented reality, on a phone or computer, if you are embodied and present in the experience.

“I fundamentally don’t believe that any of the things we create are substitutes for the physical experience we have today,” he says. Indian express when asked if the world of the Metaverse is a world outside of smartphones. “If I could be in the same room with you today, I would prefer it than just being able to see you digitally. But in fact, we cannot constantly be with each other physically. And it’s a way to leverage our digital experience and make it better. ” While these immersive capabilities will be best on latest generation hardware like VR headsets or AR glasses, most people will simply experience them on a variety of devices, including their phones and computers.

“The modalities will be different … but many of the ideas about continuity, context and co-presence still apply, even if you can’t dive that deep into something like a VR headset. Thus, it completely includes telephones, but a kind of modality is rooted in a more spatial or immersive metaphor. “

Shah, who has worked on Instagram for six years, has focused on working on the Metaverse for the past four months. He says everyone at Meta knows this may be a 15-year journey, but they are taking the first steps because they are convinced that this is the future. And is the concept of co-presence that seems to be so interested in Facebook in this exciting future of the Internet.

“As a social company, we make sure people communicate with other people. So it’s not about solitude, single player. It is about people who communicate with others. And this idea of ​​co-presence is really deeply rooted in everything we try to build and so you can imagine this touching purely social use, like spending more time with friends and family, or watching a cricket match with friends and having a conversation, even if you are physically could not be together, “Shah clarifies. The past 18 months, he adds, may have made it more obvious how important these connections and feelings of being with others can be.

There is also the idea of ​​continuity. “If you buy a digital product, it is usually limited to where you bought it. So the idea of ​​the continuity of being able to travel from space to space and being able to take things with you is a pretty powerful design that will require a set of interoperable standards that we create, ”adds Shah, emphasizing this belief that“ Metaverse will not build one company “.

“In fact, it cannot be built by any one company, both in terms of platform and experience. Other companies, creators, companies, individual developers will play a role in creating this experience, and people will feel that they can have continuity. ”

Shah says that locking these things up in separate universes will not benefit consumers or creators. “We are trying to build a Metaverse that will connect these different universes. And if we don’t, we will end up with a bunch of disparate universes again. “

Shah emphasizes that it is necessary to talk about the concept of the Metaverse in advance in order to define expectations and make it clear that these technological changes and shifts take time. “Sometimes we don’t talk about them until they arrive. This time we are trying to do it in a different way, to talk about it earlier, to interact with the ecosystem, both with the business community and with regulators from all over the world, to make sure they understand the implications and how it is. can affect all of us over time. “

But not everything is really in the future. “Some of these things are starting now. In markets where we have our headsets, we have Horizon Workrooms. In the US, we announced the availability of a product called Horizon Worlds, which is a user-generated content creation platform where you can create worlds and experiences and people can experience them together in VR, ”says Shah, adding that in the coming for a couple of years, Meta will continue to build VR-oriented experience and “distribute them more widely across devices.”

Shah is convinced that India has a place in the Metaverse, especially as it will be rooted in an ecosystem of creators and small businesses. “India has been a key market for this, for many years we were the first,” he says of how the country started using products like Reels and creating massive content. “I think this will lead to a really meaningful set of things that we probably haven’t figured out yet.”


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