Technology

Ctrl + Alt + Delete: Metaverse is destined to fail

Opinion: I have the first week of January CES 2022 There was a meeting, and especially one buzzword that couldn’t escape: Metaverse.

It’s not a big surprise as people are talking about the Metaverse since Mark Zuckerberg changed Facebook’s parent company name to “Meta” to reflect a new focus on future platforms.

Still, I was still shocked to see the number of companies on the CES showfloor riding the Metaverse trend. In fact, almost every VR game or application that exists at CES seems to be trying to fit the “Metaverse” somewhere in marketing, even if the connection to Zuckerberg’s vision is at best suspicious.

So what is the Metaverse really? The simplest form is a virtual 3D space where you can interact with other users. If you’ve watched a movie like Ready Player One, users can go to meetings, watch movies, and play sports while wearing a VR headset and using a computer-generated avatar. So you need to understand the point.

Ready player one

Meta calls this the “next evolution of social connections,” and being able to physically wave and laugh at someone with a 3D avatar is a much more immersive experience than staring at a computer screen chat room. Claims to be.

This is a very attractive concept and is not out of reach in terms of technology. You can already hold a virtual business meeting in virtual reality. Applications such as RecRoom allow you to relax with your friends and play paintball several times.

However, Meta is hype Metaverse to make it even bigger than what the current VR experience can offer.During an interview with The Verge, Zuckerburg said: “You can think of it as the successor to the mobile Internet.”

Can Metaverse really make something like Facebook a reliable platform for virtual social interactions? I’m not sure personally.

I’ve used a lot of VR headsets so far, but so far I haven’t been able to find an experience (other than a game) that I’m actually connected to. I was able to watch movies, have work meetings, and meditate on various VR apps, but it wasn’t a worthwhile replacement for real apps or existing online apps. Setting up the headset is a hassle and loads the selected activity.

Wear a headset-or wear VR glasses if you have VR glasses Vive Flow – It can be frustrating because you often have to make adjustments above your head to get the perfect view. Needless to say, you usually need a lot of space in your house to move around freely and get the best VR experience.

HTC Vive Flow
Vive Flow

Many billionaire CEOs feel much more excited about the Metaverse outlook as the entire room can be dedicated to VR antiques, but unfortunately on a small London flat like I live in. That is impossible.

And second, VR headsets are very expensive. The Oculus Quest 2 Is one of the most affordable VR headsets currently available and costs a whopping £ 299. Sure, you need a smartphone or laptop to use existing social applications like Facebook, YouTube, Tik Tok, but you may already own such a device. Most people need a phone and a PC for their daily work. However, this is not the case with VR headsets.

Of course, VR headsets become accessible and affordable over time, but it will still take a long time before they become routinely used in the average home. Even Zuckerberg’s claim that “the end of the last decade” seems tremendous to me.

Oculus Quest 2
Oculus Quest 2

To be fair to Zuckerburg, he revealed that Metaverse doesn’t necessarily have to be restricted to VR headsets, it can also be accessed from PCs, mobile devices and game consoles. But again, are we already exploring such a concept? Social apps such as Second Life and Club Penguin used to allow users to interact online via 3D avatars, but never really captured the interest of the mass market.

I’ve seen a lot of multiplayer experiences gaining popularity by allowing players around the world to interact with things like World of Warcraft, Fortinite, Minecraft, so it’s a different story in the game. became. VR is likely to see similar success stories in the future when it comes to games, but personally, I don’t think it will evolve to the same scale as Zuckerberg predicts in the Metaverse.

My main concern about the Metaverse is that it’s not a very convenient way to interact with friends, shop online, and interact with the media. Things like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are popular because of how easy it is to send text messages. It’s true that the use of video chat apps such as Zoom has been booming during a pandemic, but I feel that people are far more willing to meet in person than to endure another virtual chat room. Having to step into the world of VR just to catch up with my friends isn’t at all appealing to me.

Recent viral TweetShowing the “metaverse” vision of online shopping at Wal-Mart is a perfect example of why many people are simply not interested in the platform. This shows that users need to traverse the 3D recreation of popular supermarkets in the United States to add groceries to their shopping carts. But who really wants to do that?

The strength of online shopping is that it’s much easier to narrow down your search using filters and search bars, but face-to-face shopping is still the place because you can pick up and feel the item (I personally). I like to buy jeans to) directly to make sure they are suitable). Shopping in the Metaverse lacks the convenience of a digital store and the practicality of meeting in person. In fact, I’m not sure if shopping in the Metaverse will benefit. However, developers have been creating these virtual spaces just because they can.

I think that is the fundamental problem of the current Metaverse. There’s no doubt that something like Meta has the technology to make that possible, but how attractive it is compared to existing social platforms, especially considering the cost and hassle of wearing a VR headset. I’m not sure if it will be an option yet.

Of course, the Metaverse is still in its infancy, so you may not understand its benefits for now. After all, I think a lot of people would have laughed at the concept of Facebook before Facebook became a global success. But from what I know so far, I don’t think the Metaverse will really succeed anytime soon.


Ctrl + Alt + Delete is a weekly computing-focused opinion column that delves into the world of computers, laptops, components, peripherals and more. Find it in Trusted Reviews every Saturday afternoon.



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