How Hollywood Fits Into Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse

People using Oculus VR
Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images
Matthew Belloni
October 28, 2021

If you’re like me, you’ve been reading a lot lately about the metaverse, the next-gen virtual environment where many believe people will soon work, play, shop, socialize, use apps—and consume entertainment. Mark Zuckerberg has been a longtime proponent of the metaverse concept, buying V.R. and A.R. companies and, earlier today, renaming Facebook, Inc. as “Meta Platforms, Inc.,” with a $10 billion commitment to developing the metaverse as the next version of the internet. Zuckerberg’s interest isn’t just visionary, of course. He has long been frustrated that Apple and Google own the smartphone platforms on which Facebook runs. With the metaverse, “we’ll be able to help shape the next platform,” Zuck told my colleague Dylan Byers today.

How Hollywood fits into the metaverse is a big question, especially considering how badly the traditional film and television industry botched the rise of the internet, digital gaming and online distribution. Studios aren’t blind to the shifts in consumer habits, and most are investing in experiential entertainment, but it’s always baffled me that the greatest storytelling companies ever created have never produced a platform like Roblox or a game community like Fortnite. Why?