(Pocket-lint) - Facebook has started on its journey to introduce the Metaverse - an interconnecting online concept that helps users shared software, games and experiences virtually across multiple devices.
During its annual Facebook Connect presentation, it has set the wheels in motion and outlined some of its plans. However, the company has also told Pocket-lint that this is a large-scale project that could take the best part of a decade to realise.
In the meantime, in combination with its virtual reality arm, Oculus, it is setting the foundation blocks for the Metaverse itself by announcing several launches for the here and now.
One of these is Horizon Home.
Like Horizon Workrooms unveiled earlier this year, Horizon Home is a virtual space for different users to gather, communicated and collaborate. But, it is less corporate and more consumer, with a Horizon Home becoming the new front end experience for an Oculus Quest 2 VR experience.
You can build and customise your Home, launch other experiences through it, watch movies and live events, and even invite guests to join you in avatar form. You can then group together for activities, games or viewing.
On top of this, the team announced that there will be more apps available for multitasking within Horizon Home, including Slack and Dropbox.
This is, what Facebook calls, "an early" taste of how the Metaverse will connect people before continuing their journey either together or solo online. It is "launching soon".
Also announced during Facebook Connect is an Active Pack, a set of Quest 2 accessories coming next year that make the headset easier to use with fitness apps.
This includes new grips for the Touch controllers, and an exercise-optimised facial "interface" that protects the headset and makes it easier to wipe down after you've built up a sweat.
Fitness is a major focus for Oculus this coming year, so it is doing everything to make the experience more comfortable.
Finally, audio calls made in Facebook Messenger will soon be able to be continued inside a VR headset and vice versa. You will also be able to make calls from scratch in VR too.
These are all cool, smaller features but collectively give an impression of the sort of direction the Metaverse is going in.
Facebook was keen to point out though that while VR is naturally suited to a social digital experience, it isn't the be all and end all. Standard 2D monitors, TVs and displays, even mobile devices will be important tools for people to use with the concept too, as will mixed and augmented reality.
It is only just beginning.