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No, Walmart’s virtual reality shopping experience is not part of Facebook’s ‘metaverse’

A video with over 4 million views shows what virtual reality shopping at Walmart would be like. The video is from 2017 and isn’t part of Facebook's “metaverse."
Credit: Mutual Mobile

Facebook changed its company’s name to Meta in October and said its focus was to “bring the metaverse to life and help people connect, find communities and grow businesses.” According to Merriam-Webster, “metaverse” generally refers to the concept of a highly immersive virtual world where people gather to socialize, play, and work.

On Jan. 3, a video with more than 4 million views went viral on Twitter showing what shopping at Walmart would look like virtually. The tweet said: “This is how Walmart envisions shopping in the #metaverse.”

THE QUESTION

Is Walmart’s shopping virtual reality experience part of Facebook’s metaverse? 

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is false.

No. The video actually debuted in 2017 during a presentation at South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas.

WHAT WE FOUND

The video is not part of Facebook’s metaverse – or any metaverse for that matter – and is more than four years old. It first debuted in 2017 during an exhibition at South by Southwest (SXSW), which is an Austin, Texas-based festival, where art, music and technology all intersect.

According to a blog post from Mutual Mobile, a company that builds digital products, Walmart approached them to build a “fully immersive experience” for the 2017 SXSW showcase. A panel on the experience was hosted by Mutual Mobile VR architects, the website says.

“Potential shoppers could virtually pick up products, read labels, talk to virtual associates, and fill their shopping carts. But the goal wasn’t just to create something interactive. Walmart needed something that showed the potential of VR in retail while putting them ahead of the competition,” the post said. 

So, we can VERIFY this video of a Walmart virtual reality shopping experience doesn’t have anything to do with the hype surrounding Facebook’s metaverse.

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