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First Look: Check out Facebook’s first physical store

The company formerly known as Facebook wants to engage with customers about its metaverse hardware in the physical world.

Meta will open its first brick-and-mortar space on May 9, on the company’s campus in Burlingame, Calif., home of its Metaverse-focused Reality Labs division.

With a small, 1,500-sq.-ft. footprint, Meta Store will have demo areas where shoppers can learn about — and try out — the company’s hardware products, including the Portal video calling device, Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses and Meta Quest 2 virtual reality headset and accessories. (Meta’s VR items were previously sold under the new-retired Occulus brand.) 

In addition, the store will feature an immersive space where shoppers can play Quest virtuality reality games, such as Real VR Fishing. The games will be projected on a large, wall-to-wall curved LED screens in the store that displays what the player is seeing in-headset.  The player will get a 30-second mixed reality clip of their demo experience to share.

“Once people experience the technology, they can gain a better appreciation for it,” said Martin Gilliard, head of Meta Store. “If we did our job right, people should leave and tell their friends, ‘You’ve got to go check out the Meta Store.’”

Customers can buy all the products on-site except for the smart glasses, which must be ordered from Ray-Ban through a sales associate. Meta is also adding a “shop” tab to its website for those customers who prefer to shop for all its hardware products online.

“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 stated.

Meta is investing $10 billion during the next year to build the metaverse, a sophisticated digital world where consumers will use augmented and virtual reality technology to digitally engage with each other and their surroundings, with crossovers into the physical world.

“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,” added Gilliard. “We’re not selling the metaverse in our store, but hopefully people will come in and walk out knowing a little bit more about how our products will help connect them to it.”

[Read More: Meta pilots virtual commerce in the metaverse]

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