Hi Folks, a few months back I wrote an article about Zucks Metaverse, what the dangers were and what I thought about the announcement at the time.
After researching the metaverse extensively and experimenting with AR I have come to the following conclusions.
The Metaverese does not exist yet and VR is not for everybody, however, AR is for everybody and currently available
We have all herd the arguments about VR & AR headsets and how uncomfortable and awkward they make you feel and look. Zuckerburg describes this as just a process in the evolution of the VR headset as he seeks to change the culture of the internet.
However, after some experimentation with various VR headsets & AR devices I have come to the following conclusion.
VR is uncomfortable, very bad for your eyes and motor-skills, makes you vulnerable as your visual and auditory senses are locked out of reality and I found the whole experience underwhelming.
Not only are VR headsets expensive, but at no point did I ever feel like I was in another universe. I felt very much still on planet earth. In fact, I had a more immersive experience at the planetarium (South African Museum of Natural history) then I had with the VR headsets. The planetarium technology was built 30 years ago.
It seems though, that I am not the only person that thinks this way. Due to the announcement of the Metaverse, Oculus quest headsets sky rocketed and the industry grew to a 12 billion Dollar movement.
However, since that time, Facebook (Meta) has lost a massive portion of the Social Media market to Tiktok, twitter and other freedom of speech networks like Parler & Truth Social after their acquisitions by Donald Trump, Elon Musk and Kanye West. Facebook has also shown it’s first financial retraction in the history of it’s business.
Apple has not invested at all in VR technology and it believes that most practical solution for entertainment and business intelligence is in fact Augmented Reality. Phones are still cool and are not intrusive like VR & AR headsets. Amazon seems to also believe that WEBAR is the next big thing and has made massive investments into this technology.
WebAR fundamentally has a huge advantage over Local / Native VR because it is portable and can be accessed with nothing more then a QR code or a link sent via email. Thus in my opinion Amazon and Apple are making the moves in the right direction. They seems to understand the market far better then facebook & microsoft which have not managed to find a solution for the average consumer and public market yet. Microsoft Hololens was a great triumph in technological gain , pioneering the way forward, but they were unable to produce a result at an affordable price for the average consumer. Meta seeks to change that with their AR headset priced at 15 000 US Dollars but unfortunately they have been met with a push back as the product seems unfinished, is only a slight improvement over Their Oculus Quest 2 VR solution and their AR engine is only as powerful as Android & Apples mobile solutions in terms of software availability. In fact, Apple & Android have quite mature AR solutions that are already very marketable and accessible to everyone. There is also far more software available for these solutions.
It also seems that Meta’s Horizon Worlds has failed to meet it’s target audience and most people have left for other similar tech such as VR chat. Many have abandoned VR all together.
While the VR industry has grown it also seems that the adoption rate is actually quite low amongst most people. Games are mostly limited to first person view and the graphics are very very inferior to standard PC titles. Fortunately there is a sort of solution for this with technologies like VorpX for PC & Vridge for Google Cardboard but the lack of head tracking is a huge drawback for this technology and does not really help that much to improve the VR growth. However, playing a retro multiplayer game like Warhammer Online in first person mode with Vorpx is actually a far more immersive, Metaverse like and meaningful experience the Horison worlds from Meta. And the graphics of this game launched back in 2008 are far superior to Horison Worlds.
There is also the huge reality that there are millions of incredible games built in 2D that people still play religiously, that most gamers would rather flick their wrists and click a mouse button in a Dota 2 game then have to stand on their feat and fling their arms around. An extreme example of this is that classic chess.com, which is a 2D board game, has got more players around the world then Meta’s horizon worlds.
Think about that for a second. Just because VR is a newer technology does not mean that it appeals to everyone. In fact, we have reached a state of technological evolution whereby many people have made a move back to classical sports and outdoor activities as a way to escape the digital world that is saturating our every day lives.
If you compare the average teenager from 5 years ago to the average teenager today, with influences such as TikTok becoming main stream, Kids are actually getting out there, looking after their bodies more and trying as hard as they possibly can to get into the outside world in order to make videos for these platforms. Gone are the days of being popular in high school, in 2022 you have to be a global influencer to pull the chicks or at least gain an audience for the purposes of social capital.
This is primarily achieved in the teenage world by taking care of your body and thus pushing kids out into the real world in order to produce content for their public personas.
Therefore to conclude, I would suggest that you make investments in Augmented Reality technology and limit your investments in VR & The metaverse… at least for now