A key consideration in Meta’s metaverse vision is the evolving way that youngsters already interact, with most now engaging with friends online, as opposed to riding off on their bikes and meeting up with each other at the local park or mall.
Online worlds, like Fortnite, Minecraft and Roblox are the new hangout spaces. And while some parents worry that their kids are spending too much time online, which comes with its own range of exposure risks, this is how the next generation hangs out, fulfilling both a social and entertainment purpose, without having to leave their bedroom.
Which is why this is a significant announcement – today, Meta has announced that Roblox will soon be added to its expanding VR gaming push.
As explained by Meta:
“With over 15 million active experiences and counting, Roblox will offer a vast library of content for the Quest community to explore. In fact, Roblox is automatically publishing some experiences that use default player scripts to support VR devices. They’ve found that those experiences typically run well in VR without modifications, so they’re seeding the Roblox VR library with great content from day one. And because Roblox is cross-platform, you’ll be able to connect, play, and hang out with friends across Xbox, iOS, Android, and desktop - helping to make VR more social than ever before.”
This is a major win for Meta’s VR ambitions, providing a direct means to integrate the Roblox multiplayer experience - a platform used by 66 million primarily young users every day – into Meta’s VR environment, while also establishing the framework for Roblox developers to start building their own VR worlds, adding even more immersion to the experience.
It’s the popularity of these gaming worlds that Meta sees as a key pathway to build its metaverse vision, with the next generation of consumers already largely accustomed to interacting as digital avatars, and hanging out in online spaces. For this next cohort, social platforms are a step down, in an interactive sense, as they can do far more together in these in-game environments.
It’s that experience that’s informing much of Meta’s avatar development – and with Meta also recently lowering the age requirement for Quest VR usage, the partnership with Roblox could be an important milestone in seeding its next-level vision.
But not everyone sees it yet. There are still many questions around the viability of the metaverse, and whether it actually will become a thing - but the indicators are there, and if Meta can establish new norms within VR among the next wave of users, that could indeed see the metaverse become a more accepted, trusted and highly-adopted experience in the near future.
It’ll take time, and Meta has repeatedly noted that it’ll take a decade for the metaverse to become a thing. But partnerships like this highlight the pathway to that next stage – it’s not necessarily for me and you right now, but, as Marty McFly says: ‘Your kids are gonna’ love it’.