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Meta to Open First Brick-and-Mortar Retail Store Selling Virtual Reality Headsets

As part of its expansion into the virtual world, Facebook parent firm Meta Platforms, Inc. said on Monday, April 25, that it will establish its first physical retail store to offer metaverse-related products such as virtual- and augmented reality equipment.


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As the business plans a course to take its highly touted "metaverse" mainstream, Meta is planning to establish its first physical store where customers can try out and buy virtual reality headsets and other equipment.


The Metaverse has gained popularity fast, with a total of 86 apps referencing the “metaverse” in their title or description between November 2021 and January 2022 on both the Google Play and App Store.


Meta stated on Monday that the 1,550-square-foot Meta Store at the company's Burlingame location in California would open on May 9th and will contain demos for its Quest 2 VR headset and Portal video conferencing gadget, as well as smart glasses it makes with Ray-Ban.


Except for the Ray-Ban glasses, all of the devices will be available for purchase at the store. According to the firm, the products can also be purchased online through a new shopping tab on meta.com.


This isn’t the first time Meta has experimented with retail locations. To promote its Oculus hardware products, the business set up pop-up kiosks in airports and shopping malls in recent years. In 2018, it also created a pop-up store at Macy's to attract additional small businesses to the platform.


Meta is putting a lot of money into the metaverse—a virtual world where people can socialize, work, and play—by adding new capabilities to hardware devices that operate as portals to the virtual world.


The Facebook owner announced earlier this month that it would begin testing capabilities for monetizing digital goods and experiences within Horizon Worlds, a virtual reality platform Meta debuted late last year.


Meta also announced that creators of digital experiences and materials would be charged a 47.5 percent fee, a decision that has sparked anger from some app developers.


Analysts predict that the next iteration of the Quest 2 VR headset will be delivered in the second quarter and that it will be essential to the company's metaverse strategy.


"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 that concept a bit in the process," the company said in a statement.


Increasing the number of hardware sales through physical stores would help to diversify the brand’s business model while strengthening its economic standing by having devices to target users with ad campaigns.


Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) 2021 privacy shift, which forces applications like Facebook and Instagram to ask users for permission to collect browsing data, has made it more difficult for social media businesses to generate advertising revenue. Apple's privacy restrictions will cost the firm $10 billion in revenue in 2022, according to Meta's fourth-quarter earnings conference call in February.


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