Depending on your view it is a pioneer of social media, the has-been stalking app for grandparents, the scourge of the newspaper industry or just the multi-million fine magnet parent of WhatsApp and Instagram.
But what is not in contention is that, like any great category leader, Facebook knows it needs to find, define and redefine categories to stay ahead of the competition and now, perhaps also many Western Governments. Chief Category leader, Zuckerberg, has been literally laying out, in charts, roadmaps and ecosystems to distort reality to his vision for over a decade.
But to win and lead a category, you need to keep moving at pace. So it comes as no surprise Facebook’s claim on the Metaverse is garnering a lot of media, analyst and influencer attention after he called it ““the next generation of the internet and the next chapter of us as a company”.
This move is clever in many ways. It distracts from the ongoing legal hurdles mounting up against the Facebook empire, it changes the game so the opposition and others who want to stay relevant need to respond to. See this move from GPU chip leader Nvidia and note how its team is already ceding its own omniverse category to the larger-sounding metaverse.
The irony is Facebook, which looks like a frontrunner to grab all the attention and lead the category, did not even come up with this category. The term originates in 1992 novel ‘Ready Player One’ and there are many others who have already tried and failed to create a Strike which stuck.
There will certainly now be growing momentum behind the fight, as we told a group of 30 or so German startups this week. It is exceedingly hard to win category after category, but it would be churlish to bet against granny’s favourite data scraper. Facebook is no stranger to perfecting the better ideas of others.