Meta is launching its first hardware retail store in Burlingame, California. The store, which opens May 9th, will allow visitors to try and purchase Meta’s Portal video games and headphones for real-time Quest. They will also be able to display the popular glasses of Ray-Ban Stories presented last year and get help applying online.
The Meta Store will include a demo area in the Portal where users can test the video call features of store staff. There is space to test several Quest 2 demos, including Be patient, GOLF +, Real VR fishingand Above, visitors will take home an immersive 30-second reality show featuring them playing. They can also try different styles of Ray-Ban lenses, which capture and share the look of the cameras inside, and test their capabilities before purchasing. Meta also adds a “Store” tab to its network, making it easier to find all of its products online in one place.
The move is crucial for the sale of Meta devices, following in the footsteps of companies such as Google, which opened its first retail establishment last year after several limited emerging stores. Meta has previously partnered with Best Buy at the demo stations for its VR headline, and Ray-Ban Stories have appeared in the company’s stores. The new store opens up another opportunity to sell people a truly unique and realistic (sometimes “metaverse”) technology, a large area focused on the company.
However, it is beautiful and limited. The 1,550-square-foot small store will open near Meta’s Reality Labs headquarters (located at 322 Boulevard Airport in Burlingame) instead of a metropolitan area like Google’s Manhattan store. It will be open from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm Monday through Friday, which is not the peak shopping hours. Meta Store CEO Martin Gilliard said in a statement that the Burlingame site “gives us an additional opportunity to test and continue the customer experience central to our development,” lessons that will “help define future retail strategies.”
Meta’s last product release was last year, but the retail store looks set to provide a platform for showcasing the future of VR / AR projects as they evolve, including advanced integrated mirrors and control systems. It also gives Meta a closer look at how people will respond to these devices – most of which raise specific and important concerns – in the real world.