Oh the irony, Facebook shifts to Meta then opens up a store in the REAL WORLD

Jesus using a VR headset.
(Image credit: Meta)

Some of us on the team have made our opinions on the metaverse clear, but that doesn't stop the mighty Zuck going ahead with his machinations. Plans to launch the metaverse, and convince today's youth to sign up, are finally taking shape... in the form of *checks notes* a brick and mortar store?

The Meta Store is a physical space, situated beneath a Reality Labs office in Burlingame, California. Great positioning from a logistical standpoint, but why not use up some of that metaphysical real estate y'all are pushing so hard?

In order to encourage the offline masses' adoption of the far-fetched concepts of 'customisable avatars' and '3D spaces' onto the more disconnected generations, it seems Meta felt it best to ease them in with physical tester experiences, before putting them on a catheter and selling them an alternate life in VR. These are hard to grasp concepts after all.

In all honesty, though, you can't expect everyone to go out and purchase one of Meta's proposed four new VR headsets the second they come out, not without having tried the metaverse on for size. That's money that could be spent on Moonpies and Christmas socks for the grandkids.

Inside the store, prospective Metaheads can experience the Oculus Quest 2 (sorry, Meta Quest 2...), Ray-Ban Stories, and Portal. No that's not Portal as in the award winning Valve game, but the 'Meta Portal.' You can get familiar with it by, wait for it, placing a call "to a retail associate to fully explore its capabilities." Golly, what a ride. 

Meta Portal experiences include Smart Camera which allows the camera to follow you around as you move, and can widen to make sure everyone's in shot; and Story Time, which uses AR to put you or your kids inside your very own video call fairytale.

Virtual reality

(Image credit: Valve)

Best VR headset: which kit should you choose?
Best graphics card: you need serious GPU power for VR
Best gaming laptop: don't get tied to your desktop in VR

Amazing what technology can do nowadays, huh?

Martin Gilliard, Head of Meta Store, explains that "Having the store here in Burlingame gives us more opportunity to experiment and keep the customer experience core to our development. What we learn here will help define our future retail strategy."

So not only is Meta easing people into the experience, it's encouraging them to become free quality assurance to improve the upcoming products. Smart move on Meta's part. Spend money on a physical space, save money on testers.

Katie Wickens
Hardware Writer

Screw sports, Katie would rather watch Intel, AMD and Nvidia go at it. Having been obsessed with computers and graphics for three long decades, she took Game Art and Design up to Masters level at uni, and has been rambling about games, tech and science—rather sarcastically—for four years since. She can be found admiring technological advancements, scrambling for scintillating Raspberry Pi projects, preaching cybersecurity awareness, sighing over semiconductors, and gawping at the latest GPU upgrades. Right now she's waiting patiently for her chance to upload her consciousness into the cloud.