Since the beginning of 2022, tech company Meta has spent more than $15 billion in establishing the Metaverse, a project that lets users socialize with other people and companies in a virtual world. However, with the recent press releases and project reveals, many experts and the general crowd felt disappointed. Some experts say that Metaverse will be in a complete crash in a few years.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has not elaborated on the success or failure of the Metaverse so far. Still, plenty of spectators suspect that he is sugarcoating the decline of his project. Without any trace of positive news or heavy persuasion driving mass adoption, the “social media of tomorrow” could be left in the dust as with other overly ambitious futuristic projects.
Meta Not Catching a Break
In October 2021, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that his company’s name would rebrand into Meta. He elaborated on the plans of social media platforms Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, one of which is the creation of the Metaverse. While the term is not particularly new, Zuckerberg wanted to create a “new world” where virtual and physical realities collide.
It was a series of significant events and news with celebrities, such as Justin Bieber and Snoop Dogg, showing up in the virtual world doing live concerts, high-profile brands like Nike and Samsung buying meta spaces, and partnerships with decentralized social game projects, including Decentraland and The Sandbox (both of their cryptocurrency values rose beyond 100% in the market since the Meta announcement).
While the idea of a more immersive social media that includes both fun and work in one hub seems too ambitious, he pushed it onwards, wanting to prove that the Metaverse is the next step in connecting people.
Yet, the results were unconvincing, leaving people to laugh at the current state of his project. The Horizon Worlds reveal that showed a 3D version of the Meta CEO looked lifeless, while the backgrounds displayed nothing but low-rendered textures and bland visuals.
Also, in February 2022, Meta’s stock price crashed after the company revealed little growth in monthly users on Facebook and Instagram. It also caused Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth to lose $71 billion, making it one of the most significant individual value losses in a short time.
The downfall of Meta’s value attributes to several factors:
- Negative feedback towards Metaverse
- Declined user activity in Meta social media platforms
- The bear market in stocks and cryptocurrencies
- The general audience confused about Metaverse’s primary objective
- No solid influence to drive mass adoption despite the events
Even Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, said that the project would fail because the corporations do not know what people want so they can enter the Metaverse. He said that the world will exist for everyone, but Zuckerberg’s attempt, in particular, will “misfire.”
“My critique is deeper than ‘Metaverse Wikipedia will beat Metaverse Encyclopedia Britannica,'” he tweeted. “We don’t know the definition of ‘the metaverse’ yet. It’s far too early to know what people want. So anything Facebook creates now will misfire.”
Current State of Metaverse
Recently, Mark Zuckerberg presented Metaverse again in the Meta Connect 2022 stage. This time, his avatar looked better, but the entire presentation was still insufficient to convince people that it was an excellent time to join the virtual world. After all, users must wear an Oculus headset to experience VR social media entirely. He also claimed that bosses would enjoy using VR at work to track employees even though they are working from home.
Although the world could be nearing a new kind of socialization, a la Ready Player One, it is still too early to determine whether the application of VR will work in the long term. A VR headset can be nauseating when continuously used for hours due to motion sickness. Head tracking depends on each person, with some having a better threshold with the headset application while others, especially older users, can quickly get dizzy.
Yet, according to some tweets, some claim that Metaverse isn’t “VR-centric,” as the focus is to keep everyone involved no matter the device they use, including smartphones, tablets, PCs, and TVs.