“Absolute train wreck.” “A big gamble.” “A long and painful road.”
It’s just some recent fervent support for Mark Zuckerberg’s quest for virtual-world glory — but none seem to be holding him back.
The Facebook founder is going all-in on his vision for tomorrow, believing that in the not-too-distant future, most of us will regularly put on our headsets to enter his virtual world.
Whether you want to play a game, attend a conference, teach a class, or hang out with friends, he believes that the Metaverse will soon be the place for you.
With a net worth of $36bn (£31.7bn), “go big or go home” is a stance he can afford.
his staff, by Thousands of job cuts todaycannot.
Nicky Danino, lead lecturer in computer science at the University of Central Lancashire, told Sky News: “One of the problems with the metaverse is that he puts everything first.”
“He’s like Musk, one of the things about him is that he has faith in what he believes in and will keep going.
“A visionary has these big visions, maybe he needs to start small and build up gradually, [because] I don’t think people understand yet what the value of the metaverse should be. “
‘A huge and terrible loss’
Professor Danino admits she is an optimist when it comes to the potential of the metaverse, which offers “amazing opportunities and possibilities” in education and training settings in particular.
But investors like certainty — and a whole new platform that’s encroaching on the sci-fi realm at the cost of billions, not like that.
The layoffs come after Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. Suffered last month’s financial results described as “outsized and dire”.
Investors dumped shares in Reality Labs, the unit that builds virtual worlds, after it reported a £3.16 billion loss between July and September.
Brad Gerstner, CEO of Altimeter Capital, warned: “Meta has entered excess territory — too many people, too many ideas, too little urgency.”
Insider Intelligence analyst Debra Aho Williamson told Meta that it needs to focus less on Metaverse and more on fixing its core business.
Zuckerberg defiantly told his increasingly nervous investors: “I know a lot of people may disagree with this investment, but from what I know, I think it’s going to be a very important thing.
“People will look back in 10 years and talk about the importance of the work done here.”
META will surpass METAVERSE
Of course, Meta faced other challenges besides the skepticism of its title project.
Advertising revenue fell. It’s a broader, larger technical issue, not just a Meta issue, though its platform bears the brunt of Apple’s move to let iPhone users opt out of app tracking.
Meta’s ability to gather information about us is greatly reduced, breaking the cycle between companies and users that its platform is free, and in return our data helps sell ads.
Facebook also saw its first drop in daily active users this year as Gen Z turned to newer platforms like TikTok.
“The Metaverse Happens – It’s Just a Matter of Time”
Those in tech hats tend to agree.
Microsoft supports virtual worlds in the workplace, making its Office suite fully compatible, and academics like Professor Danino are fans.
Cudo founder Matt Hawkins sees the Metaverse as the “natural next phase” of the transition, with Gen Z growing into an increasingly digital world, albeit one that should be decentralized rather than integrated by Meta.
That’s “inevitable,” said John Needham, president of esports at gaming giant Riot Games.
“Our society is going to become more and more virtual every day,” he told Sky News.
“It will happen. It’s just a matter of time.”
But at least for now, Zuckerberg is facing the fact that “the work being done here” includes culling a large chunk of Meta’s 87,000 employees.
Whether the metaverse materializes or not, today’s news is another sign that it has indeed been a long and painful road.