Meta Platforms has decided to open a 1,550 square-foot retail store on the company’s Reality Labs campus in Burlingame, California, in a bid to offer people a glimpse into the company’s all-virtual future through demos of Oculus Quest 2 headsets, Portal video calling hardware, and smart glasses co-branded with Ray-Ban. Set to open on May 9, the devices, except for the Ray-Ban glasses, will be available for purchase at the store. Meanwhile, Meta has also announced the addition of a ‘Shop’ tab on its meta.com website.
“Ultimately, our goal with the Meta Store is to show people what’s possible with our products today, while giving a glimpse into the future as the metaverse comes to life — and hopefully demystifying the concept a bit in the process,” the company said in announcing the store.
The Meta Store, and its showcasing of VR equipment, follow the Facebook parent blowing billions of dollars on developing metaverse-related virtual-reality technology. That said, Meta Store head Martin Gilliard’s announcement this week indicates that Meta isn’t selling the metaverse at the store.
Rather, Meta sees the retail space as a way to spread the word and get people excited about Meta supremo Mark Zuckerberg’s vision for a future of interconnected custom-created virtual realities in which people communicate, shop, work, and play – his concept of the metaverse, in other words.
“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,” Gilliard said.
Although Meta’s new retail outlet isn’t an attempt to match other tech companies for retail footprint, it is worth noting that most tech giants have had mixed results dabbling in physical retail stores. Apple’s retail stores have been wildly successful, and play an important part in the company’s distribution strategy, with more than 500 locations around the world.
Microsoft, by contrast, shut down its 83 retail stores in 2020, while in March, Amazon announced a decision to close 68 of its retail stores, including all of its Amazon bookstores. Similarly, Sony has also shut down a small group of US retail stores in 2014.
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