The parent company of Facebook and Instagram announced that it will open the Meta Store on May 9. For the first time, Meta is selling its physical products directly to consumers, including the Quest 2 virtual reality headset and the Portal video-calling device.
The store will also offer demonstrations of Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses, which were developed in collaboration with Ray-Ban. However, customers who want to buy them will be directed to the Ray-Ban website to do so, the company said.
Unlike the Apple Store, there will be only one Meta Store at the moment, and it will be located on the company’s campus in Burlingham, California.
Meta is the latest major technology company to open a retail store to showcase its hardware. Google opened one such store in New York last year. Microsoft closed its 83 stores in 2020. However, it reconfigured some as “experience centers” and started selling products in them in 2021. And Apple has made its hundreds of stores a key part of its business over the years.
A new experience for customers
The store, Meta Store, will open on May 9. This is, in part, an attempt to make consumers better acquainted with Meta’s plans for the so-called metaverse. It is a sci-fi concept that envisions, in essence, an impressive version of the internet, on which the company spent billions of dollars last year through Facebook Reality Labs.
Meta said the store will allow people to try different products. It will include a VR space that allows customers to try out apps like Beat Saber and Real VR Fishing. The VR demonstrations will be projected on a huge, curved LED screen in the store for others to see.
“Meta stores will help people connect with the way our products can be a gateway to the metaverse in the future,” Meta store chief Martin Gilliard said in a blog post.
Because the store will be based on Meta’s corporate base, it will also give Meta employees “more opportunities to experiment and retain the user experience at the core of their development,” Gilliard said.
Meta is a leader in the small but fast-growing market for VR headphones. Researcher of the analytical company IDC estimates that almost 11 million VR headphones were delivered in 2021. That is a jump of 96% compared to 5.6 million delivered a year earlier, said research manager Jitesh Ubrani. Ubrani believes Quest 2 headphones accounted for 80% of those shipments last year.
It is not yet clear whether Meta plans to eventually take Meta Store away from California, similar to what Apple started in 2001 with the rapid introduction of its Apple stores around the world. A Meta spokesman said the company had no details on whether it could open new stores.
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