Is Meta’s Metaverse a sinking ship destined to be one of Mark Zuckerberg’s greatest failures? He even rebranded Facebook to Meta, so it would be sort of awkward if it were to go down like the Titanic – but that icy cold water seems all too close to the bow of the Metaverse ship. The Metaverse, in general, seems to find itself in similarly troublesome waters, with companies that were once so interested in its trajectory pulling away. Microsoft, for example, closed down its industrial metaverse team only four months after setting it up. But the focus is on Meta and Mark Zuckerberg’s attempt to rule the virtual world. Let’s explore below.
What’s The Metaverse?
The Metaverse, a name conjured by Zuckerberg, is a term that is used to describe a virtual shared space collective that is created by the convergence of physical and virtual reality. It is a hypothetical future state of the internet, where users can engage in a fully immersive and interactive virtual world using virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies. Much of the Metaverse operates on the Ethereum blockchain. Decentraland, for example, one of the biggest Metaverses, uses Ethereum.
In the Metaverse, users can interact with each other in a way that simulates real-life experiences, such as attending events, shopping, socializing, and even working. The promise was to enable a more seamless and integrated way of interacting with digital content, and it was hailed to revolutionize how we live, work, and play online.
The concept of the Metaverse isn’t new and has been explored in science fiction and video games for many years. The earliest mention was from Neal Stephenson in Snow Crash in 1992. But has the concept become any clearer? Not really. Facebook is creating a VR social platform, Roblox wants user-generated video games, and some tech companies have created broken game worlds with NFTs attached.
If you sum it up logically, the Metaverse is a bunch of random online concepts that aim to get people interacting online – that spans numerous ideas that sort of tie together. But that’s perhaps because it’s only in its infancy.
What Was Mark Zuckerberg’s Idea With Meta?
Of course, Mark Zuckerberg had to put himself at the front of this seemingly wildly confusing concept and change the name of one of the biggest brands in the process. Meta is officially Facebook’s parent company, so whilst Facebook still has its name, it carries the Meta logo on the app. Zuckerberg announced the release in October 2021, and at the time, many said it would be doomed. The rebranding is part of a wider strategy shift towards focusing on the Metaverse.
According to Zuckerberg, the Metaverse represents the next generation of the internet, and Meta will be the company leading the charge in building this new digital world. In addition to continuing to develop Facebook’s existing social media platforms, Meta is investing heavily in VR and AR technology and is now working on developing new products and experiences that will allow users to explore the Metaverse.
It makes sense for Zuckerberg to enter this new virtual realm considering he owns the virtual technology company Oculus. In the same press conference where the announcement about Meta came out, Zuckerberg also announced new tools that would help build the Metaverse, including Presence Platform. This new platform will enable a new mixed reality experiences on Quest 2.
How Badly Is It Going?
Well, Meta, which once with a value of $1 trillion, lost 70% of that in 2022. In an email sent out to staff, many of whom would lose their jobs, Zuckerberg stated, “I want to take accountability for these decisions and for how we got here. I know this is tough for everyone, and I’m especially sorry to those impacted.” So many people lost their jobs and became (naturally) angry in the process that Zuckerberg had to invest more money in his security team.
Weak revenues, regulatory woes, and soaring Metaverse costs are to blame for the rapid demise of Meta, but that isn’t to say it won’t rise again. This year it has already surpassed revenue expectations after restructuring costs.
Is There A Future In Meta And The Metaverse?
Meta’s future is uncertain – it’s yet to be seen how Meta will come to life and integrate itself into the Metaverse as planned, and will it even be worth it? Will it simply all be for a virtual Facebook where you can have your own avatar?
The Metaverse, however, is guaranteed thanks to the focus on decentralizing many aspects of our online world. As said previously, the concept is only in its infancy – but it’s still exciting. Currently, the Metaverse has over 400 million active users – that should grow at a rate of knots over the next few years as new technology makes it more accessible.
Meta hasn’t exactly had the best results to date. In fact, apart from creating a parent company to Facebook and calling it Meta, not much has come to fruition from the idea aside from trouble. Mark Zuckerberg, however, seems confident that he will build one of the most immersive Metaverse platforms on the market.