Social media brand Meta, formerly the Facebook Company, is opening its first permanent Meta Store for customers to purchase its virtual reality products as a “gateway to the metaverse”.
The 1,550-square-foot shop will open on 9 May in Burlingame, California, near the company’s Reality Labs campus – a research and development hub for virtual reality products.
Head of Meta Store Martin Gilliard said that the shop will demonstrate how the brand’s products are a “gateway” to the metaverse” – a parallel virtual world where people operate as avatars.
“The Meta Store is going to help people make that connection to how our products can be the gateway to the metaverse in the future,” he said.
In the shop, which will be open Monday to Friday, customers will be able to try out and play games on Oculus Quest 2, an updated version of the virtual reality headset Oculus Go, in a dedicated demo area.
A large, floor-to-ceiling LED screen will project what is being seen in the headset.
Meta‘s video-calling device Portal will be displayed on backlit wooden shelves on the main shop floor. Customers will be able to try out Portal in another demo area, as well as place video calls to retail associates to see the gadget in action.
A separate cubicle with glass walls is reserved for Meta’s selection of Ray-Ban Stories, smart glasses that allow wearers to record videos via in-built 5MP cameras. Visitors will be able to try a range of style, colour and lens variations.
Unlike the other products in Meta Store, the glasses will not be available to purchase in-store. Customers will have to order them directly from sunglass retailer Ray Ban‘s website.
Other accessories such as headphones, earphones and charging cables will also be on show and available to purchase in the store.
“We’re not selling the metaverse in our store, but hopefully people will come in and walk out knowing a little bit more about how our products will help connect them to it,” explained Gilliard.
“Once people experience the technology, they can gain a better appreciation for it.”
Meta’s first physical store represents the company’s move further into what it calls a “social metaverse company” and away from its origins as a social media company. Last year the brand changed its name from Facebook to Meta.
Gilliard also said that the Burlingame store marks Meta’s expansion further into the retail sphere.
“Having the store here in Burlingame gives us more opportunity to experiment and keep the customer experience core to our development,” said Gilliard. “What we learn here will help define our future retail strategy.”
A number of brands are working on real-life and metaverse cross-over products, such as shoe brand Giuseppe Zanotti, which has released a digital edition of its Cobras trainers in the metaverse.
Design studio Layer recently unveiled a pair of smart glasses for tech company Viture that lets the user play games or stream media via a virtual screen.
Photos are courtesy of Meta.
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