Meta Announces Metaverse Fellowship for Developers in Partnership With the Government of India

The social media giant has already pledged over $2 million as part of its ‘Extended Reality Programs and Research Fund’ and looks to do more with its new developer fellowship.

Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Horizon Worlds, unveiled an Extended Reality Open Source (XROS) Fellowship. Meta unveiled the initiative in partnership with The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) and the National e-Governance Division (NeGD). The XROS Fellowship will come with a $1 million incentive fund shared by about 100 developers as stipends. Following the announcement, the XROS Fellowship is open to applications from developers in India.

Meta has already kick-started its global Extended Reality Programs, and Research Fund’ and this fellowship is a part of that initiative. As part of the project, the social media giant has made a $2 million grant available in India as a startup fund for projects based on extended reality, i.e., metaverse technology. The Startup Hub of India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) is disbursing the fund to qualified startups.

According to Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs, the future of the metaverse will not be left in Meta’s hands alone. At the announcement, Nick emphasized the need to encourage developers looking to build metaverse-focused products and applications with an open-source framework to guide them on their journeys and stipends to help bring their ideas to life.

Nick Clegg is not alone in his thoughts. The common opinion in the metaverse industry over how the metaverse space will develop over time is in line with Clegg’s assessment. Royal O’Brien, executive director of the Open 3D Foundation, in an August 2022 interview with Mint, shared his thoughts on the possible future of development in the metaverse space.

Royal believes that the big players like Meta, Microsoft, and Nvidia, who have all launched developer-focused programs, will create a market where smaller players worldwide can compete and build metaverse-related products using open-source technologies. Open 3D Foundation is a collaboration of companies involved in the virtual economy across several industries.

Additionally, Clegg claimed internal research revealed that metaverse technology will account for at least 4.6% of India’s GDP by 2031. According to these statistics, India has much to gain from growing a budding metaverse ecosystem, especially economically. This means that new jobs will be created, the investment will come in from foreign companies, and the government will earn taxes.

With India set to become the largest go-to-market for developers in the world by 2024, Clegg believes that Meta’s startup fund will be put to use by supporting independent projects working on innovative and emerging virtual technology applications.

Ajay Kumar Sood, principal scientific advisor (PSA) to the Government of India, added that although software development has advanced the cause of metaverse technology, developer-wise, hardware manufacturers still had a lot to do. According to the PSA, hardware that can support virtual technology and are affordable will aid the adoption of metaverse technology. The NeGD will offer technical assistance through mentorship for the selected startups participating in the program.

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