I saw these days when Mark Zuckerberg had his presentation of the Meta Quest Pro and again the Metaverse topic popped up again in all tech news blogs and sites. I have to say that this show was ….. well, interesting. It showed me once more that something is not right about this Metaverse thing. And as some Experts may be fascinated and hyped by this…I have my doubts. So let me explain what are my points and why I´m not hyped at all with this “bright future” of VR pushed by Meta. But let me share my points.
Ok, let´s have a look at the device that should lead us into the “next generation” of working, communicating, and interacting.
Simple question: Can you imagine sitting in your office or at home on your desk, wearing something like this all day long? I have my doubts that this is the “answer” to revolutionizing work. It´s way too bulky and too heavy. I mean graphics today are already awesome and with every generation of graphic cards the output amazes me more and more. But what I saw here…well, reminds me of some Nintendo Wii gaming environment. Nothing more.
The target group
Ok. About whom we are talking? Business People? Engineers? Teenager? Housemen and Housewifes? Who´s on the frontline of this technological revolution? Who will be the group of people that accept this technology as a daily driver? And I´m not talking about the Tech-Nerds and First Movers because they will jump on it anyways. But how many people we are talking to? A couple of hundred thousand people worldwide? Not enough to start a tech revolution. Sorry to say.
Gen Z? Sorry to disappoint you, but they are hanging out at TikTok doing dance challenges. And their attention span is, let´s say politely: limited. Everything that takes more than 3 minutes is beyond their level of interest. With the rise of TikTok and Insta Stories, we train people to compress all mandatory information within the shortest possible time so that the audience isn´t getting bored. Now you think that these kids, can spend hours within this “Metaverse”? Good luck with that. I have my doubts here. We are at the moment in a phase of miniaturizing and mobilizing. Our Smartphone is the daily driver for interaction. Sitting at a fixed base to hang out in the Metaverse is nothing that matches the current developments in communication and interaction.
So what target group are we talking about?
The reason why and who is leading the Metaverse
Metaverse is driven mostly by one main driver called Facebook aka Marc Zuckerberg. His announcement and his company name change to Meta were more or less the points where this whole Metaverse topic got its publicity boost. But never forget two major points:
a.) Facebook NEVER did something for the “good of all mankind”. They had ALWAYS the intention to make money with it. Period.
b.) We have had the Metaverse topic, not for years but nearly two decades #Secondlife and it failed. It failed because people got bored, the tech didn´t deliver and they moved on to something more convenient.
Marc Zuckerberg is no Visionary. He´s a businessman. That s the major difference between him and for example Elon Musk. Elon Musk is not everyone’s darling and I don´t know if I would like to have a beer with him….but you can not deny that HE was the one that revolutionized the automotive industry in less than 10 years. Why? Because he simply did it. He wants to create affordable electric cars…he builds a Tesla. And instead of keeping this innovation for himself, he gave away the patents. Otherwise, Tesla would be filing for bankruptcy by today for sure. But he said: We don´t need fossil fuel to run cars…and he delivered and nearly EVERY F* CAR COMPANY on this planet has now an exit strategy for fossil-fueled cars. Or think about SpaceX or Star Link. Those are just projects that are existing prooves that if you are visionary (or crazy) enough to give a sh* on money and/or if the project fails. Now compare those two people.
What do you think would be a better frontliner for the Metaverse? Again…this is not to praise Elon Musk. But I want to show the difference between the types of “leadership in innovation”.
Accessibility and Price
One of the main reasons back in the day why SecondLife had such a boost, in the beginning, was the accessibility and its price. It was free and it could be accessed with Hardware that users already had back home. To enter the Metaverse in the way Mark Zuckerberg thinks you have to buy additional hardware. The Meta Quest Pro (your “entry card” to the Metaverse) costs 1.499 US$. 1.5 grand to just be able to access the Metaverse. Reality check: How many people have this kind of money these days when they have to think about paying energy prices and living costs? To start a tech revolution you need to have the masses on your site, but here this is not the case. Again pull up the Tesla example. The success is mostly based on the fact that they build cars that costs the same as a regular fossil-fueled car and they have an acceptable driving range PLUS Tesla set up an environment where these kinds of cars are attractive to people. I don´t see anything happening here in a similar way. Another downside of this device is. According to Meta, the Meta Quest Pro had a 1-2 hours battery life before it needs to be charged again. Meaning: Your trip to the Metaverse is limited to this timeframe (except you are a richboy/richgirl and you already buy 2-3 devices)…makes no sense to me. The fun thing on SecondLife was that I spent hours and whole nights there having fun and dancing around and having cool conversations …and the only limitation that I had was my body that asks for some sleep.
Last but not least we need to discuss the why. Why should we happily move to the Metaverse? What is the real benefit of the Metaverse? What can convince the normal people aka the masses? What kind of need is satisfied with the Metaverse next to having a funny-looking avatar and dancing around? Don´t tell me, think about you are standing in front of your non-tech neighbor and you have to convince him/her. What would you tell him/her?
As I already wrote in my previous article (Metaverse…been there, done that), I have no doubt that one day the Metaverse will be a “normal” thing. But the approach I see today makes me think that this will take way longer than most people that hype it at the moment think.
That´s my 5 Cents on this topic. Happy to discuss.