The hype is dead, thanks to Zuckerberg

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    “The Next Chapter of the Internet”

    “Successor to Mobile Internet”

    “It will have the capacity to support millions of jobs.”

    “you can teleport instantly The office without commuting, a concert with friends, or as a hologram for catching up in your parents’ living room.

    These are many unrealistic dream Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has championed the Metaverse, but can these dreams actually come true?

    Back in October 2021, Facebook rebranded itself to Meta, reflecting its growing ambitions to conquer the Metaverse.

    However, seeing how the virtual platform Horizon Worlds fails to retain its users, Only 1 in 10 come back A month later we migrated to a virtual platform. It’s hard to understand how Zuckerberg could change the world with his highly acclaimed technology.

    Since Meta’s rebranding, interest in the Metaverse has waned as well. No one is interested in the Metaverse, especially since the rise of artificial intelligence (AI).In fact, search traffic for the word “metaverse” is About 80% reduction the past year.

    Global interest in the metaverse/Image credit: Screengrab by Vulcan Post
    google trends metaverse singapore
    Singaporean interest in the metaverse/Image credit: Screengrab by Vulcan Post

    The decline in interest in the Metaverse is also evident among Singaporeans, who peaked around the time Meta announced its rebranding and have steadily declined since.

    Mark Zuckerberg quietly buried the metaverse

    Mark Zuckerberg VR Headset
    Mark Zuckerberg wearing a VR headset / Image credit: Getty Images

    That’s not to say Zuckerberg didn’t put any effort into developing the Metaverse. Meta has been pouring billions of dollars into developing and creating the Metaverse since 2021, aggressively pushing it towards global adoption in a decade or so.

    In 2022, the company’s VR and AR division, Reality Labs, will Approximately $2.2 billion in revenuewhich lists Meta as one of the world’s largest metaverse players.

    While this may seem like an accomplishment, Reality Labs actually US$13.7 billion operating loss At the same time, this means that the company is spending far more money than it is making.

    This amount adds to Reality Labs’ operating loss of US$10.2 billion in 2021, resulting in an operating loss of US$23.9 billion over the two years. During this period, Meta generated just US$4.4 billion in Metaverse-related revenue.

    To make this even worse, Meta’s Reality Labs hasn’t grown. In fact, revenue in 2022 is down 5% compared to the previous year.

    The company’s stock plummeted, drop to the lowest level Since last year 2016, investors have lost faith in Meta.

    meta strain
    Metastock / Image credit: Screengrab by Vulcan Post

    CEO Zuckerberg, who is making losses one after another, finally hit Zuckerberg. CEO Zuckerberg decided earlier this month to quietly fill the metaverse by turning his attention to the next big bright spot: AI.

    “We are starting by bringing together the many teams working on generative AI across the company into one group,” Zuckerberg said. We are focused on building on wrote on Facebookessentially gave up on his metaverse dream.

    But what is the metaverse?

    metaverse question mark
    Image Credit: Shutterstock

    Zuckerberg was desperate to make the metaverse work, but the funny thing is nobody really knows what the metaverse is.

    The metaverse idea is still in its infancy and people are trying to figure out how to define a virtual platform. That’s why Zuckerberg’s dream of making the Metaverse doomed to failure.

    Even google can’t help. Googling the term “metaverse” brings up several different definitions of the metaverse. Which is the “correct” definition of the metaverse?

    That said, the general consensus about the metaverse is that virtual platforms have two key characteristics. First, it is an interconnected digital space that allows people to interact personally and professionally in a life-like way.

    Second, the digital spaces provided by the Metaverse must be immersive, usually in the form of 3D-enabled spaces, adding a touch of realism to the space, pushing technology beyond current standards. push up. To create this immersion, physical tools such as VR headsets and goggles help substitute the user’s real senses.

    meta quest 2
    Meta’s VR headset, Quest 2/Image credit: Meta

    Ultimately, the endgame of the Metaverse is for the virtual world to coexist seamlessly with the real world.

    A comprehensive and immersive metaverse remains a distant target

    meta horizon world
    Meta’s Horizon World / Image credit: Meta

    Despite decades spent developing the Metaverse, the hardware and software needed to run the digital space at its intended scale is still far from complete.

    Tommaso Di Bartolo, a faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley, said: I believe A comprehensive and immersive metaverse remains a distant target. This is because “it will require a combination of 5G, AI, next-generation processors, quantum computing, edge computing, AR and VR, but at the moment these technologies are not advanced enough to scale to a large amount at once. It’s not “affordable”.

    VR devices currently on the market are lacking in many ways and fall far short of delivering a truly immersive experience.

    Recent developments such as Face and Body Movement Tracking Despite providing a better experience for their users, these devices are still unable to replicate fundamental aspects of the human experience, such as physical touch.

    Even though Meta’s Horizon Worlds graphics came out years before Zuckerberg decided to focus on developing the Metaverse, virtual reality games such as Second Life offer better graphics to users. It has been criticized by users for looking too simple when it can be done. Needless to say, even Meta’s own employees Not using Horizon World.

    In addition to these problems, the metaverse is still Lack of interoperability It’s an essential component for creating a fully immersive virtual experience.

    Establishing a set of commonly accepted standards can create bridges between the various authors and users in the metaverse, but unfortunately, interoperability efforts in the metaverse are still in their infancy. is in stages.

    The Metaverse was hyped long before its time

    Metaverse Mark Zuckerberg
    Depiction of the Metaverse by Mark Zuckerberg / Image Credit: Meta

    The hype surrounding the metaverse in the last two years has only set the notion of failure, given the technical and structural considerations for successfully implementing the metaverse in a viable fashion.

    Zuckerberg was at the forefront of this hype after announcing the rebranding of Facebook. Over the past two years, the word “metaverse” has been thrown around too easily, creating unrealistic hype about the concept.

    for example, 2021 Meta Connect ConferenceZuckerberg showed off an extravagant what-if video depicting the possibilities of the Metaverse. In the video, two friends attended a Jon Baptiste concert together.

    However, this is far from today’s reality.

    Zuckerberg wasn’t the only one to create such disappointing and unrealistic hype. Over the past two years, companies like Microsoft and Google have entered the metaverse race and come up with their own platforms that: microsoft mesh Bringing out new AR and VR devices.

    microsoft mesh
    Preview of Microsoft’s Mesh / Image credit: Microsoft

    Last year, Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella said: the metaverse is already here“Not only does it change the way you see the world, it changes the way you participate in it, from the factory floor to the boardroom”.

    Big brands are also riding the metaverse hype wave at this time, incorporating it into their marketing strategies to generate buzz around their products and services.

    Inevitably, the hype surrounding the Metaverse has built unattainable expectations within consumers.

    So when Zuckerberg and many other Metaverse platforms failed to deliver a product that met these expectations, users naturally lost interest in the technology and the hype bubble surrounding the Metaverse burst.

    For example, besides Horizon Worlds, the popular metaverse platform Decentraland has Only 8,000 users Sandbox claims to have an average of 32,000 active users per day, according to creative director Sam Hamilton.

    Can the metaverse come back?

    AI equation
    Image Credit: Flickr

    Gartner Inc. 25% of people By 2026, people around the world will spend at least one hour a day in the Metaverse for work, shopping, education and entertainment.

    However, 46% of industry experts question the likelihood of global adoption of the metaverse by 2040. A report by the Pew Research Center.

    These industry experts believe that the technology needed to implement an immersive metaverse will not yet be achievable by that time. Given the current state of the Metaverse, some even think it is not very useful in everyday life.

    Mark Crowley, assistant professor of computer engineering at the University of Waterloo, said, “The real world is much richer and more important than virtual reality, and it always has been. The limiting factors for fully immersive activities are that they I think it’s unnecessary.”

    Conversely, proponents of the Metaverse believe that the Metaverse will provide humans with new realities. It is something that can even “improve the physical world of humans.”

    That said, the buzz surrounding the metaverse has faded, especially after the rise of generative AI. However, this does not mean that the metaverse concept will go away forever.

    A clear example of this is the field of AI, which has been known for decades. after many winters When people doubted the prospects of technology. But today, there is no doubt that AI is disrupting and revolutionizing various industries. This could also apply to the metaverse.

    Nevertheless, the current state of the Metaverse suggests that it is not yet alive.

    Featured image credit: Louis Rosenberg via MidJourney


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