Facebook took the whole world by surprise when it renamed itself Meta around this time last year. In this one year, the company has spent billions of dollars and employed thousands of techies, all towards building one goal - The Metaverse.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the time had said, “The next platform will be even more immersive — an embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it. We call this the Metaverse, and it will touch every product we build.”
However, in this one year, hardly anything has come out of this multi-billion dollar investment. Infact, Meta’s third earnings saw a rise in its overall costs by a fifth due to the virtual reality project. This has also alarmed the company’s investors.
Brad Gerstner, CEO of Altimeter Capital, one of Meta’s biggest shareholders wrote an open letter to Zuckerberg, “Meta has drifted into the land of excess—too many people, too many ideas, too little urgency. This lack of focus and fitness is obscured when growth is easy but deadly when growth slows and technology changes.”
He even suggested the company cut jobs to reduce the rising costs.
And, it's not just the investors who are unhappy with the idea of Metaverse.
Snap CEO and founder Evan Spiegel, speaking at the Wall Street Journal’s Tech Live conference last week said, “The last thing I want to do when I get home from work at the end of a long day is live inside a computer.”
Speaking at the same event, Phil Spencer, who runs Microsoft’s Xbox division, feels the same way for Metaverse. He said, “I’m going to get in trouble when I say this, but it’s a poorly built video game…Building a metaverse that looks like a meeting room? I find it’s not a place where I want to spend most of my time.” Along with them resounded the Apple SVP of worldwide marketing Greg Joswiak, he said, the metaverse is “a word I’ll never use,” something Craig Federighi, Apple SVP of software, instantly agreed with.
It was earlier this month, when Apple CEO Tim Cook told the Dutch publication Bright, “I always think it’s important that people understand what something is. And I’m really not sure the average person can tell you what the metaverse is.”
To know if what the Apple CEO think is true, I went out to streets of Mumbai asking the common people of the city if they know about the Metaverse.
92% of the people, I spoke with weren’t sure of it and hardly cared to know more about it. However, those who were aware of what exactly is inside this Metaverse didn’t seem pumped to live in it. Some agree that the Metaverse can enhance certain consumer experiences like gaming, shopping but that’s about it. It shall never replace the real world.
So, the big tech world is clearly not on board with the idea of an alternate reality and the people who would be the user are not very sure about it becoming a reality soon. So is Metaverse, really the next big thing and the future of our generation, or just a fad?
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