As it pivots toward the metaverse, Facebook’s parent company Meta is investing heavily in virtual and augmented reality technologies, incurring big losses in the belief that larger gains lay ahead.
And while the tech giant remains mum about its local plans, recent job postings indicate Durham will play a growing role in this transition.
In the past two weeks, Meta has listed multiple Durham-based jobs on LinkedIn, including managerial positions with Reality Labs, the company’s VR and AR division. Meta has other current job postings that explicitly include Durham as a possible work location alongside other tech hubs like San Francisco, New York and Austin.
To what extent Meta is expanding in the Bull City remains unclear. In June, The News & Observer reported that Meta was hiring to fill several Reality Labs roles in Durham, and WRAL, citing unnamed sources, reported the company’s local presence would be “significant.”
In an email Thursday to The News & Observer, Meta declined to comment on its future plans for Reality Labs and Durham.
Durham is set up for the metaverse
The metaverse is a broad term for a network of immersive, virtual spaces where users can interact with each other.
In addition to Meta, companies like Google, Roblox, and Cary-based Epic Games have developed (or are developing) their own metaverse platforms on which people can exercise, conduct work meetings, take a class, go shopping, enjoy virtual trips or just hang out.
Reality Labs is the successor to Oculus, the VR technologies company Facebook acquired in 2014 for $2 billion.
Since then, Meta has enhanced its commitment to Reality Labs, reporting a $2.8 billion operating loss in the second quarter of this year. Despite its expenses dwarfing its revenues — which came mostly from sales of its Quest 2 VR headsets — Reality Labs will remain “an area in which we are going to be increasing investment,” said Meta’s chief financial officer Dave Wehner during a July 27 earnings call.
As the company expands Reality Games, it makes sense it would look toward Durham said Roger Christman, an associate professor of communications and simulated game design at William Peace University in Raleigh.
“Because we have Epic, and IBM, and Cisco, there’s some talent already here,” he said. “And so, I think that not just from the universities, but from competing enterprises, there’s a lot Meta can recruit from.”
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