Snapchat and Meta don’t have the same vision of the metaverse. If Mark Zuckerberg firmly believes in the future of virtual reality, Evan Spiegel is rather betting on augmented reality.
In a conference organized by the Wall Street Journal, Evan SpiegelCEO of Snapchat, referred to the growth of the metaverse. The leader was very critical of Meta’s approach, which relies heavily on virtual reality through a dedicated headset:
” Metaverse is “living inside a computer”. The last thing I want to do when I get home from a long day’s work is live inside a computer ».
Augmented and non-virtual reality
Evan Spiegel rather believes in the future of augmented reality. This technology, which displays virtual elements superimposed on reality, allows users to not only focus on one screen. With augmented reality, users are not cut off from the rest of the world.
“There is a clear fork in the road between virtual reality and augmented reality”believes Evan Spiegel.
In partnership with many brands, Snap.inc has developed advertising AR experiences during the last few years. This is the case of the KFC brand, which relies on the augmented reality of Snapchat to promote its restaurants. The brand offers internet users the opportunity to try on AR clothing through the Snapchat app.
For his part, Meta decides above all focus on virtual reality. To enter in the Horizon Worlds metaverse, you really should have a VR headset like the Quest 2 or the latest Quest Pro. However, Mark Zuckerberg’s group has not completely abandoned augmented reality. At the October 2022 Meta Connect conference, the company briefly demonstrated augmented reality on the Quest Pro.
Moreover, Meta is currently working launching a pair of AR glasses. They are expected sometime in 2026, with the first generation canceled to cut costs for the Reality Labs division. However, the future as portrayed by Meta relies heavily on it the democratization of virtual reality headsets.
Some tech players agree with Snapchat. This is for example the case of Reggie Fils-Aime, the former director of Nintendo’s American branch. Like Evan Spiegel, the former leader does not think that virtual reality will take a dominant place in the daily life of consumers. Same story on the side Tim Sweeney, founder of video game studio Epic Games. Asked in 2019, he said he was quite confident about the future of augmented reality:
“I believe in this future of the world where billions of people wear AR devices and AR glasses are part of their daily lives, I truly believe this is the entertainment platform of the future.”.
The giant Apple also says that it is more interested in augmented reality than virtual. Asked about this topic by the Dutch media New RTLTim Cook, CEO of the Cupertino group, thinks not ” that people want to live their lives in a virtual reality world”.
“Virtual reality is adapted to specific contexts, but it is not a good way to communicate”summarizes Tim Cook.
The brand’s first helmet, expected next January, also relies on a hybrid approach, which combines virtual and augmented reality. In a second step, the firm should also launch a pair of AR glasses, the famous Apple Glass.