Meta's metaverse mediocrity is obvious to everybody but Mark Zuckerberg
Close to a year after social media giant Facebook rebranded itself as Meta - to reflect its new strategy and vision to build the new version of the internet - its primary product, the famous metaverse, looks mediocre at best. But that is something CEO Mark Zuckerberg is failing to see, a Forbes report said.
Last October, when Facebook's intent for a major rebranding was revealed, many questioned its timing. The company was going through a tough phase as whistleblowers revealed incriminating details of the company's practices and regulators pushed for breaking up the company that also owns WhatsApp and Instagram.
The metaverse push came as a breath of fresh air as many other companies, including major fashion brands as well as banks, followed suit and rushed to book a spot in a new digital world that was opening up. Prices of digital properties shot through the roof and everybody at that time wanted to be a part of the metaverse.
Meta's own metaverse
Before the year ended, Meta had opened up its metaverse, Horizon Worlds, to users in the U.S. and Canada and with the small exceptino that you needed the company's virtual reality (VR) headsets, the digital world was free to use.
Meta introduced games and experiences in these worlds as people floated around in their legless 'avatars.' Now, after about eight months, the company launched the metaverse for users in Spain and France and Zuckerberg shared a 'digital selfie' of himself standing in front of the metaverse's version of the Eiffel Tower and Barcelona’s Tibidabo Cathedral to mark the occasion.
The difference between the launch in December last year and the one that concluded recently appears to be only that of the geographical locations. Meta's metaverse seems to be at the same level that it was at last year, which many have found to be as basic as the popular online game Second Life was when it was launched close to two decades ago.
Within its own metaverse Meta has struggled to get some basic interactions, such as a fist bump, convincingly right, Forbes mentioned in its report.
Comparisons with other metaverses
At Interesting Engineering, we have reported how metaverse is not wholly Zuckerberg's domain and companies such as Roblox have been working on their own digital worlds for many years now.
The internet isn't in the dark about this either and Zuckerberg's metaverse is being compared to other offerings available in this space. Coincidentally, Meta's European launch was on the same day as the online game, Fortnite, launched. It's a cross-over of the popular game and T.V. show Dragon Ball Z, which not only took the internet by storm but is visibly better.
What makes the situation worse is that as a major technology company, Meta has deep pockets and by its own admission has spent over $10 billion dollars on its metaverse adventures. Yet its releases manage to excite nobody but Zuckerberg himself.
Ideally, the CEO should be miffed that his futuristic product is mediocre at best and is a pale offering of its truest potential - not to mention one that others like Second Life achieved decades ago.
As PCGamer suggested, this might be Meta's strategy to keep expectations low and wow people with something massive when it is ready to launch a leap in its offering. However, it is unlikely this is a long-term strategy of the major tech company, which has tasked itself to be the front runner to herald a new digital world.
So, it seems like Zuckerberg does not really see how bad Meta's metaverse is and we should count ourselves lucky that we don't have much to lose if his vision of metaverse fails.