Metaverse: an old and uncreative idea

It’s hard to imagine what went through Mark Zuckerberg’s head at the moment he decided to launch the metaverse. However, we can assume that, even with some criticism, he expected a fairly positive reception. After all, who hasn’t seen Ready Player One? Perhaps we would all get excited at the prospect of a similar future (only digital, mind you, not in the dystopian vision of reality) and forget about the long and sorry history of Facebook news in recent years.


However, reality has turned out to be quite different from such optimistic forecasts. Among the answers that Zuckerberg’s metaverse has received, probably the most forceful is that given by Intel, and that is that one of its executives stated, shortly after the Meta announcement, that currently the existing systems are well below the estimated computing needs for a project of this type. How many? According to his words, it will have to be multiplied by 1,000 to reach the necessary base.


It has not been, however, the only answer. From Apple’s refusal to provide access to the metaverse from its future VR platform, to game developers’ response to the implausible proposal of digital assets that would jump from game to game just as easily as the that we change shirts in the real world. Not to mention that we cannot rule out that other technology companies decide to create their own virtual worlds, and that these are not interconnected with Zuckerberg’s Metaverse. Far more noes than yeses, at least for now.


The Metaverse, thus, seems to be deflating before it has even become a reality, except for some function that has already debuted. And according to those who have tried it, that is, those who have tried the tiny fraction of the Metaverse that is already active, it does not seem that they have been particularly seduced by the experience. And therefore, instead of becoming early adopters evangelists of this new reality, they have rather adopted the role of critics with special knowledge of the facts.

 

Such is the case, as we can read in Business Insider, by Phil Libin, former CEO of Evernote and currently responsible for the video conferencing company Mmhmm. And it is that he recently tested Horizon Workrooms , Meta’s solution to hold virtual meetings using Oculus, one of the first steps in the deployment of the metaverse. An experience that, they say, he could only endure for a few minutes, despite the fact that he faced it with the best of his predispositions, he says.

Now, it seems to me that the most interesting thing, of what Libin raises after his experience, is to affirm that the proposal of the metaverse is neither novel nor creative . We already told you at the time that the concept of the metaverse was illuminated by Neal Stephenson in the early nineties in his novel Snow Crash (I recommend reading him again). And what has Meta contributed, in terms of creativity and innovation, to the already veteran concept? Nothing.

It is true that, if it were technically feasible, the implementation of a metaverse like the one described by Stephenson or by Cline, and if Meta had led its implementation, some medal could still be hung for it. But what he has done, so far, is create a VR version of Animal Crossing with very, very few options. Where is the innovation? Where is the creativity? Well, at the moment it seems that it is neither here nor expected.

And yes, as many of us think, the announcement of the metaverse was nothing more than a smokescreen to cover all the scandals associated with Facebook, it seems that the idea has not gone too well for Zuckerberg, in view of the results recently presented by the company.