Mark Zuckerberg says the metaverse is the next big thing. And to show us he's serious, he changed the name of his social-media empire from Facebook to Meta Platforms (META) .
Millions want to believe in the metaverse and Zuckerberg.
But the same Zuckerberg often seems to give the impression that he himself does not believe in it.
This second version of the billionaire just appeared for a major announcement on Facebook. In an Aug. 16 post Meta's CEO launched Horizon Worlds in France and Spain.
Horizon Worlds is Meta's metaverse weapon.
"Horizon Worlds today is an immersive social experience where you can explore, play and create together," the social media giant described in a blog post. "From action-packed games to tranquil locales ideal for meditation, Horizon Worlds has something to offer every taste and mood.
"With Horizon Worlds, you can create and explore together. Whether it’s a comedy club where you can step on stage and try out your dad jokes in front of an audience, a bowling alley where you hit the lanes with friends, or even a place to learn about diverse people and lifestyles," Meta said.
A Silly Selfie
So far so good. It's the classic news release extolling the merits of the initiative.
But the image that accompanies the announcement is interesting. It shows Zuckerberg's avatar -- reminding us that we interact in this immersive virtual world through our avatars -- taking a selfie in a green environment. Behind him, we can see a virtual Eiffel Tower with the unfinished Spanish basilica Sagrada Familia in the distance.
"👋🇫🇷🇪🇦 We're launching Horizon Worlds in France and Spain today! Looking forward to seeing people explore and build immersive worlds, and to bringing this to more countries soon," Zuckerberg wrote with flags of France and Spain.
This is where everything goes wrong. The quality of the image is amateurish, which makes one wonder: If this is the metaverse, no thanks, he can keep it.
Zuckerberg could argue that the graphics quality of virtual reality lags behind that of personal computers and gaming consoles.
But this visual is worse in quality than what consoles offered five years ago.
The image Zuckerberg shared also gives the impression that the metaverse is old technology. And we can't help thinking: Almost $16 billion has been invested in this. Is it really worth $16 billion?
And we also have to wonder what Meta investors, who are patient with the billionaire, thought when they saw the post.
Reality Labs, the division that houses Meta's metaverse plans, recorded a second-quarter operating loss of $2.81 billion. In the first half, losses amounted to $5.8 billion. In all of 2021, Reality Labs had a loss of $10.2 billion.
Zuckerberg Roasted on Social Media
Social media have already graded Zuckerberg's metaverse ambitions. And for them, if it boils down to the recent selfie/avatar, Zuckerberg deserves a zero.
"So as far as I can tell, the Metaverse is just Animal Crossing but you’re being hunted by Mark Zuckerberg," quips a Twitter user.
"Mark Zuckerberg spent 10 billion dollars on metaverse just to get cleared by bored furries on vrchat," commented another user.
"Mark Zuckerberg launches Horizon Worlds in France and Spain with an eye-gougingly ugly VR selfie. Meta's metaverse ploy is surely dying in the dark," mocks another user.
"I’m not sure why Mark Zuckerberg would post this selfie instead of just showing us what the Metaverse looks like," adds a user.
Zuckerberg asked for more patience, but his avatar right now is a laughingstock. If he continues to post this kind of selfie/avatar, the doubts could quickly turn into a crisis of confidence in the real CEO.