‘Malicious Metaverse:’ The Tech World Continues to Rain on Mark Zuckerberg’s Virtual Parade

In this image from video, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Thursday, March 25, 2021. (House Energy and Commerce Committee via AP)
House Energy and Commerce Committee via AP

In a recent article, Coindesk outlines the apparent slow downfall of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s digital metaverse concept. Despite widespread criticism of the metaverse from the tech world, Zuckerberg remains completely obsessed with his virtual world.

Coindesk’s David Z. Morris reports in an article titled “The Continued Unraveling of Mark Zuckerberg’s Malicious Metaverse,” that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s attempts to sell his idea of a digital metaverse where users will work, play, and socialize in a Facebook-controlled virtual reality world are not going as planned.

Zuckerberg Meta Selfie

Zuckerberg Meta Selfie (Facebook)

Morris writes:

The past few weeks have been particularly brutal for Zuckerberg’s grand ambition to create a Second Life mod in which everyone is a double amputee. The current (far from first) wave of embarrassing flubs kicked off on August 17 when Zuckerberg posted a “selfie” from Meta’s Horizon World’s rollout in France. As pretty much everyone was happy to point out, it looked embarrassingly bad – not just like a game built to roughly 2007 levels of detail and immersion, but like one without the slightest spark of design creativity.

He further notes that compared to other modern day online gaming experiences, Zuckerberg’s Horizon Worlds app fails create an immersive VR experience, compared to independent games like the Minecraft-inspired blockchain-powered voxel game The Sandbox, Zuckerberg’s vision falls flat.

Morris notes that this is likely due to the fact that games like Sandbox and Decentraland are not beholden to shareholders and as a result are free to be a more chaotic and crazy experience. In comparison, Horizon Worlds has to be a corporate shareholder-appeasing family-friendly product.

Morris notes that while Facebook (now known as Meta) has sold 2 million new units of its Quest 2 VR headsets, the company is likely selling them at a loss as part of an attempt to incentivize people to get into VR and convert them to Horizon Worlds users. But Morris notes that Horizon Worlds is “functionally clunky and basically pointless.” This criticism is similar to that from Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, who compared the metaverse without games to a “super creepy version of America Online chatrooms.”

Further, the pivot to Zuckerberg’s metaverse dreams is not playing well with investors, having a hugely negative effect on Facebook’s stock price.

Equity markets utterly loathe Facebook’s pivot to the metaverse, and every word about it coming out of Zuckerberg’s mouth. Over the past six months – that is, even after its epic 26% one-day crash in February – Meta’s stock has underperformed both every other major tech stock except Netflix, and the overall market. Meta is down 21% for that span, versus a 4% drop for Apple (AAPL), a 15% drop for Amazon (AMZN), a 10% drop for the Dow Jones industrials and a 14% drop for the Nasdaq composite index.

There are endless reasons for this, but one in particular deserves highlighting. As Kotaku’s reviewer observed, Horizon Worlds is currently packed with hall monitor-like “community guides” keeping watch on what’s going on. From a business perspective, that might be the scariest signal of all, highlighting the risk that Horizon Worlds will be even harder to moderate for offensive or dangerous content and behaviors than Facebook already is. If the “community guides” are a permanent necessity, as 15,000 content moderators still are at Facebook, the whole thing may yet prove fundamentally economically non-viable.

Read more at Coindesk here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan


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