At first, we were all excited about all the Ready Player One-esque shenanigans that were bound to come with such a world-changing invention.
Turns out, however, that Meta’s VR platform has been nothing but a huge money sinkhole for the company, and a personal embarrassment for Mark Zuckerberg.
What is the metaverse?
The metaverse is Mark Zuckerberg’s latest craze.
Just like Bezos decided to waste millions trying to go to the moon and Musk decided to use his money to buy Twitter for his ego, Zuckerberg instead decided to use his to create a virtual world where people can digitally interact with each other.
So you’d be able to pop on your VR headset and attend meetings, shop, go to live events and more, all within the comfort of your home.
The metaverse is pretty cool because it opens up new doors for how we interact and express ourselves. Plus, it could shake up how we do business and give people access to information, entertainment, and education like never before. Basically, the metaverse has the potential to be a game-changer.
Additionally, it has the potential to democratise access to information, entertainment, and education, making it more accessible to people around the world.
Is the metaverse a big flop already?
The metaverse, when taken as a concept, is objectively brilliant.
It’s a shared space where people can interact in an immersive environment – the concept is still in its early stages and has to yet fully materialise into what it might become one day.
However, we think that all the hype and speculation surrounding Zuckerberg’s idea hasn’t lived up to our expectations.
Sure, we had tech companies and start-ups developing their work on the metaverse, but it will take years (and billions more in funding) before Zuckerberg’s vision comes to fruition, or the metaverse becomes as big as Facebook currently is as a part of our daily lives.
The development itself, however, comes with huge challenges.
These include technical limitations, user adoption, interoperability, and legal and regulatory considerations. By addressing these challenges, the metaverse has the potential to become a transformative technology, shaping the future of digital engagement and interaction.
The metaverse is treating Meta like a punching bag
Meta’s stock price has dropped more than 70% since Zuckerberg’s announcement, and its value has plummeted 23% due to missed earning targets, according to Wall Street Journal. As of now, Meta has fallen down the “top 20 most profitable companies of all time”, and just this January, the company laid off 11,000 employees or 13% of its entire workforce.
Our friend Mark, however, committed even more money to the Metaverse Project, adding about $3 billion to the $15 billion already committed to Reality Labs, the company responsible for the development of the metaverse.
Shareholders, Facebook users and all other humans are mostly confused at all of these sights.
The metaverse might seem like the equivalent of setting money on fire right now, but those high executives probably know it better than us.
A concern that isn’t even original
VR experiences that let users communicate already exist. Games like “Second Life” or even “Minecraft” to a minor extent provide what Facebook’s metaverse is keen on doing.
The only difference is that the metaverse doesn’t have the appeal of a videogame, nor the efficiency of a team management software.
A gamification is still an option – but how likely is it that companies will be able to gamify with a workforce comprising demographics who have never touched a videogame in their life?
What is the purpose of the metaverse?
– Social interaction: The metaverse aimed at providing a platform for people to connect and communicate with each other.
– Entertainment: Just like social media, people could share funny, interesting content or even attend live events like eSports and big-title games.
– Commerce: The metaverse promised to revolutionise the buying system by providing users with a digital store where you could inspect products in a VR world before buying them in real life.
– Education: The metaverse could be used to create virtual learning environments.
– Innovation: The metaverse provides a platform for experimentation and innovation, encouraging the development of new technologies and applications.
How can you get into the metaverse?
Before you delve into the Metaverse, there is some equipment you’ll need to get your hands on:
- A computer (or alternatively, a late-gen gaming console)
- A virtual reality headset
- Augmented Reality glasses
And yeah, that is that. You can even get some custom devices on Meta’s official website.
Why is it a total failure so far?
It’s not accurate to say that the metaverse is being a total failure so far.
The concept of the metaverse has been around for decades, but the technology and the infrastructure needed to create such a huge achievement are still in their early stages.
We see technology as the #1 obstacle Meta has to overcome if they want to create a truly functional and successful metaverse.
Other challenges include:
Currently, not that many computers can withstand an Oculus Rift. Other technical limitations include CPU, data storage and so on, which are dooming the metaverse experience right from the start. The limitations include:
– Computing power: The CPU demands for the metaverse are really high – and as of now, only high-end devices can power the metaverse, which cuts off the experience for users not looking to invest in a powerful computer right now.
– Data storage: The metaverse requires large amount of data on top of keeping track of user data – and as we all know, Meta has a terrible track record of keeping user data safe and sound.
– VR/AR Hardware: The hardware used for VR and AR experiences, such as VR headsets and AR devices, is still in its early stages, and can be expensive and inaccessible for many users.
In order for the metaverse to reach its full potential, hardware needs to be developed that is more accessible, affordable, and user-friendly.
The success of the metaverse depends on the number of users able to participate in it. Meta’s own research gives us high hopes, but after all the blunders Meta is sinned with, how can we trust these sources?
The following are some of the challenges that need to be overcome in order to encourage widespread user adoption:
– User Experience: The metaverse needs to provide a high-quality user experience that is engaging, intuitive, and accessible.
– Awareness: Many people are still unaware of the metaverse and its potential. This means that there needs to be a greater investment in marketing and education to raise awareness of the technology and its benefits.
– Cost: The cost of accessing and participating in the metaverse is still a barrier for many users. This includes the cost of hardware, such as VR and AR devices, as well as the cost of participating in virtual experiences and purchasing virtual goods.
– Inclusivity: The metaverse needs to be inclusive and accessible to people of all ages, abilities, and cultures. This requires the creation of environments and experiences that are designed to be inclusive and accessible, and the promotion of a positive and supportive community.
– Relevance: The metaverse needs to offer a wide range of interesting and relevant experiences that appeal to a diverse user base. This includes offering social, entertainment, educational, and commercial opportunities, and making it easy for users to find and participate in these experiences.
Interoperability is a crucial factor for the success of the metaverse, as users with a variety of devices should be able to have a seamless experience regardless of what they operate with.
This has always been an issue for every single software ever, but let’s get into a bit more details down here:
– Technical interoperability: The metaverse is made up of a complex network of virtual environments, platforms and services. How do we make these work harmoniously? With a LOT of work from a LOT of developers.
On top of that, this requires the development of common technical standards and protocols that allow data and information to be shared and exchanged easily between different platforms.
– User Data Interoperability: Users will generate a lot of data as they participate in the metaverse – and that needs to be stored somewhere, right? Keeping those data banks safe will be a huge challenge, since creating data banks that can be accessed from a variety of ports open up huge risks of hacks.
And when metaverse’s users will realise their bank account is at risk, chances are that they won’t access their avatar ever again.
– Content interoperability: The metaverse is bound to create a lot of content created by different developers and organisations. In order for users to have a seamless experience, it is important that different virtual environments can be linked and integrated with each other, so that users can move between them easily and participate in a wider range of experiences.
Regulation and Legal Issues
Legal and regulatory considerations are important factor for the success of the metaverse, as they shape the way in which the technology can be used and developed. One of the key challenges that the metaverse is currently facing is related to the issue of legal and regulatory compliance.
This includes navigating the complex landscape of laws and regulations related to privacy, intellectual property, and content control.
Recent defamation lawsuits are a good example of the legal and regulatory challenges that the metaverse is facing.
Meta has had to endure several defamation lawsuits in recent years. These lawsuits have arisen from claims of online harassment, bullying, and defamatory statements made in the metaverse.
These legal cases highlight the need for companies to be aware of the legal and regulatory requirements that apply to their virtual environments and experiences, and to implement measures to ensure that users are not engaging in illegal or harmful activities.
In order for the metaverse to be a successful platform, it is important that it is able to provide a safe and secure environment for users, while also ensuring that it is operating within the bounds of the law.
This requires a careful balancing of user rights and freedoms, with the need to prevent illegal or harmful activities from taking place. It also requires the development of clear and consistent policies and procedures for dealing with legal and regulatory issues, and for responding to user complaints and concerns.
By addressing these legal and regulatory challenges, the metaverse will be able to provide a safe and secure environment for users, while also ensuring that it is operating within the bounds of the law. This will make the metaverse a more attractive platform for users and businesses and will help to drive its growth and success in the future.
So, what’s the deal with the metaverse?
It’s a super exciting idea, but it’s also still up in the air whether it’ll actually deliver on its promises. There are definitely some obstacles to overcome, but at the same time, the possibilities are endless.
Only time will tell if it becomes the next big thing or fizzles out. In the meantime, let’s keep our eyes peeled and see what unfolds!