Zuckerberg slammed by Snap CEO for the metaverse

Evan Spiegel, Snap CEO, "Last thing I want to do when I get home from work," is the metaverse.
Stephen Vicinanza
Street in Metaverse Like Times Square
Street in Metaverse Like Times Square

onurdongel/iStock 

It might be big news to Mark Zuckerberg, who is all in on the metaverse, but most other big tech and social media leaders are not so hyped. In fact most of them are extremely unenthusiastic.

Speaking at the Wall Street Journal's Tech Live conference Wednesday, several executives weighed in on what the metaverse is, with very few having kind words for the startup. While none made direct mention of the multi-billion dollar investment by meta in the virtual world, this was something that was foremost on leaders' minds.

"The last thing I want to do when I get home at the end of a long day is live inside a computer," said Snap CEO Evan Spiegel. This brought a round of laughter from the audience.

“I’m going to get in trouble when I say this, but it’s a poorly built video game…Building a metaverse that looks like a meeting room? I find it’s not a place where I want to spend most of my time.” This from Phil Spencer who runs Microsoft's Xbox division. He wasn't any more bullish on the concept than the Snap CEO.

Apple SVP of worldwide marketing Greg Josviak said the metaverse is "a word I will never use," something Craig Federighi, Apple SVP of software, absolutely agreed was not something he would say to anyone.

Apple SVPs are not the first Apple executives to take a dim view of the metaverse. Apple CEO Tim Cook told the Dutch Publication Bright, (via Google Translate): “I always think it’s important that people understand what something is. And I’m really not sure the average person can tell you what the metaverse is.”

At meta itself there has been some dissatisfaction with the metaverse, with a critical take on the metaverse by internal documents, which said "An empty world is a sad world."

To date, Meta has spent more than $15 billion dollars on the metaverse project. The uptake on the efforts have been slow. The company has lowered the goal of 500K active users by the end of the year, to 280K.

The metaverse seems to be a moving target for Mark Zuckerberg and Satya Nadella. It was at first the future of the internet, then it was a video game, or perhaps a simply bad version of Zoom. There is no clear definition of what Meta's huge metaverse project is in reality.

What is seems to be is a Virtual Reality (VR) place, where people are supposed to interact as if they are in the real world. The word immersive has been thrown around a lot, but what is actually on the screen is a poorly made VR game, that aspires to become a new version of our world. It will have buildings, and offices, places to play, work and shop. Interconnected delivery service for the real world, Internet of Things connectivity for the smart home or building, all this is supposed to be interspersed with many, many people.

So far very few people populate the metaverse and many are not looking to enter VR/AR to shop, play and work. This had been attempted previously in early 2000's with the virtual world being the next big advent of the world wide web, and computers in general. It was a failure.

This mega-project assumed people want to be immersed in the computer screens after being immersed in their computer screens during the day.

Often times people like to play VR action games, or use Augmented Reality to find things at parks or museums, but as a way of life there are many issues to be overcome.

The project moves forward, and Zuckerberg and Nadella are pushing its benefits, hard. It may just have a chance, though it may be as a scaled back, more game orientated version of itself, that works on phones, tablets and PCs.

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