Mark Zuckerberg took on a massive venture inside of his Facebook company just two years ago. Officially it was likely even less than that, being that it is hard to accurately gauge the passage of time in these cases. In any eventuality, the point remains the same – Facebook became Meta and Zuckerberg was determined to see the same company take on so many upcoming domains of communication technology. The same plans focused on creating an in-house metaverse for the former Facebook and then seeing it establish itself across the globe. Its name is Horizon Worlds and some aspects of the same venture went live last December.
While some were glad to see this take place, believing that it would be a step in the right direction for building the true global metaverse, many others thought that the same venture is not just completely wrong in many of its aspects, but also doomed to failure. Presently, the course towards failure seems to be a much more defined one and there is a lot less resistance as the market commentators would say. While the implications for that are likely going to be positive for the crypto ecosystem, which mainly values decentralized systems, the same path will surely put additional pressure on an already struggling Meta and now the famously uncharismatic owner.
Zuckerberg’s Media Appearance
In an attempt to generate some media traction for his venture, Mark Zuckerberg went on a campaign of media appearances. For many other CEOs, that in general would not be such a bad idea. After all, the worst-case scenario for the majority in such a situation would be to invest a lot of time and energy and gain nothing for it. But, in the case of Zuckerberg and his well-known inability to even resemble a human being, the media appearances were a borderline parody. The culmination was the appearance on the Joe Rogan podcast, which is hugely popular among esports players, tech gurus, and many other people who are otherwise in the information and technology domain.
Yet, despite the marketing efforts and the attempts of the PR time to paint Zuckerberg in any other light than a greedy, self-centered robot, the CEO of Meta ended up with nothing but further embarrassment. Once more, Zuckerberg failed to give any insight or explanation that is in any way different than tugging on the same company line that Meta has been doing all along. But, the takeaway from the whole set of appearances is not that Zuckerberg is negatively charismatic. The key fact is that the pivot that set Facebook on Meta’s course is crashing and burning with more speed and intensity than anyone could have guessed only a few short months ago.
Lack of Creativity
While it is easy to focus on the business and technical sides of the failure that is the Horizon Worlds metaverse, there is a stupendous lack of any meaningful level of creativity as well. In the VR environment of this space, there are numerous tech limitations that include fidelity of graphics and avatar tracking just to name the most criticized ones. However, even with those limitations, Meta should have been doing a much better job.
For example, The Sandbox, which is in its alpha season and uses a broadly similar metaverse setup as Meta, has taken its inspiration from Minecraft and voxel graphics. It showcases a level of spirit and creativity that is at least something tangible, even if the whole project ends up as a failure. On the other hand, Horizon Worlds from Meta offers what many are calling aggressive corporate blandness and a complete lack of any kind of artistic identity.
Critics of Horizon Worlds are also pointing to the business model of this venture and its general sustainability. Current blockchain metaverse projects like the previously mentioned Sandbox or Decentraland are both quirky and weird, mostly because of the chaotic nature of the organizations that support them and stakeholders who invest their BTC tokens into this process. But, with Zuckerberg’s full control of Meta, there is no such system behind Horizon Worlds.
Instead, it is all up to the CEO and one tech visionary to figure out how the same metaverse will function. Even now, he seems to be focused on the first experience of the venture, being more inclined to watch TV than playing games or doing anything interactive. That shows not just an abysmal lack of any tech nimbleness or ability to adapt, but also the failure to take the advanced tech and push it into something new. Instead, it looks like Zuckerberg wants to build Facebook TV inside of a 3D space that users will need to enjoy through a VR rig. No one appears to have asked for that.
Signs of Doom
All of the analyses of Horizon Worlds are good and well but represent only an assessment of the external factors, which are visible to the people outside of the company, as well as the ideas for the platform’s future growth. However, there are some signs pointing out that the internal structure around the same metaverse is collapsing. In June, its Chief Operating Officers left the company, which many believed to be the adult in the room, as the experts called Sheryl Sandberg.
That shows a deep lack of faith in the product that Meta is now so aggressively developing. Lastly, the potential implosion of Horizon Worlds would not be a president. A few years ago, the company launched and then saw completely disappear the initiative known as Libra. The idea behind Facebook was to create a centralized alternative, completely in the hands of Zuckerberg, to digital money in general. So, instead of a bitcoin that is owned through a decentralized blockchain, Libra would be owned by Facebook and employed by its regular social media users. In a matter of months, the same initiative completely died out, never to return. It seems that Meta’s metaverse is gearing up for a similar scenario.