What happened

Shares of Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:FB) climbed higher on Monday, adding as much as 2.3% in early trading, though the stock ended the session up by just 1.5%.

The buzz regarding the company's foray into the metaverse has been palpable in recent weeks, and while it's still largely conceptual, the social media giant has gone all-in on this coming digital world. Now, investors are beginning to get some hints about its potential.

So what

The company formerly known as Facebook has been investing heavily in virtual reality (VR), one of the foundational technologies of the metaverse. Investors have been largely kept in the dark about sales figures for Meta's Oculus VR headsets -- but the cat may be out of the bag.

Smiling person using virtual reality simulator on a construction site.

Image source: Getty Images.

At his company's investor day, Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) CEO Cristiano Amon let slip that Meta had shipped 10 million Quest 2 headsets since the platform debuted last October. Amon would certainly be in a position to know, as the device is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon XR2 chips. 

Now what

Meta Platform CEO Mark Zuckerberg had previously described 10 million units as an important milestone for the Quest 2, saying that beyond that threshold, the VR "ecosystem will just explode."

Further, when Andrew Bosworth, Meta's vice president of augmented and virtual reality, was asked in August when the platform would surpass 10 million users, he would only say, "I'm very convinced it's going to happen earlier than we had initially expected." 

There are other signs that the metaverse is beginning to move from the drawing board to reality. High-profile companies including Chipotle Mexican Grill and Verizon are joining early adopters like Vans in building their own digital worlds "in an attempt to improve brand recognition and get existing customers more engaged," according to a report that appeared Monday in The Wall Street Journal.  

The fact that mainstream companies are not only acknowledging that the metaverse is coming, but investing resources to stake their claims within it, is just the latest indication that there's a sea change looming in terms of how we interact with the internet, and Meta Platforms has positioned itself to be one of the early winners.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.