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Mark Zuckerberg: The metaverse will unfold in 3 steps, and one is happening ‘sooner than I thought’

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Whether you’re strapping in for a Peloton ride or buying up virtual real estate, Mark Zuckerberg says you’ve joined the metaverse.

On an August episode of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, the Meta CEO said the evolution of virtual reality will unfold similarly to computers and cell phones: Gamers are the first to explore new technology, followed by mainstream users who want to use it to socialize.

But the metaverse already appears to be transforming beyond that traditional trajectory, Zuckerberg said. He considers fitness apps, like Peloton, a third step in virtual reality’s evolution because their technology connects people across the world through physical movement.

“This was sort of my theory: ‘Gaming is use case number one for VR [virtual reality],'” Zuckerberg said on the podcast. “But then pretty quickly…we’re getting all these other use cases that are kind of crazy and are happening sooner than I thought.”

While Meta executives have admitted it could take up to 15 years to fully realize their vision for the metaverse, elements like gaming, social media and fitness platforms have already started engaging users in the virtual worlds. And Zuckerberg said exercise apps are helping make those experiences more immersive, nearly physical, reality.

That’s particularly important to Meta, whose goal is to help people connect and communicate online, Zuckerberg said.

This isn’t the first time Zuckerberg has drawn a link from virtual fitness platforms to Meta’s work. Last year at VivaTech, a French tech conference, Zuckerberg said VR and augmented reality (AR) exercise could be at the forefront of the “next big computing platform.”

“It’s not like computers are going away or phones are going away,” Zuckerberg said at the time. “But I think this has the potential to be something at that scale of importance in the world.”

That evolution also aligns with Zuckerberg’s vision for the metaverse. On repeated occasions, the Meta co-founder said he wants media to become more immersive and less distinguishable from physical reality.

“These are like the first physical computing platforms [where] you don’t move around while you’re on a computer,” Zuckerberg said on the Joe Rogan Experience. “VR, and eventually AR, are really designed to be able to…interact with the world.”

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