Facebook announced on Monday that it will invest $50 million on the groundworks needed for the social network’s virtual metaverse it is looking to build.

The social media giant emphasized that the metaverse will not be built overnight and said it will collaborate with policymakers, experts and industry partners to “bring this to life.”

The announcement presents Facebook’s roadmap towards its metaverse, with the funds going to “global research and program partners” and internal research.

A metaverse is a virtual environment where people can interact with one another, digital objects and the physical world through an avatar.

Facebook was rumored back in June to start building its own virtual after it formed an executive team tasked with overseeing the project.

Facebook adds to the announcement that its metaverse “is not necessarily about spending more time online as it is about making the time you do spend online more meaningful.”

Despite the $50 million initial investment, Facebook expects still ten years are needed to offer a comprehensive metaverse to the world.

Facebook has also partnered with multiple universities and non-profit organizations to ensure its metaverse is designed in a way that is ethical and inclusive.

Although Facebook is just getting on board, decentralized and interoperable metaverses already exist. There is Decentraland’s open-world Ethereum-based metaverse where users can build their own 3D environments and monetize on their digital content creation. Atari opened a Casino in this virtual universe earlier this year. A similar experience is offered by NFT-powered game, Sandbox, where players can also buy land and offer gaming on top of it.

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