1 year ago Facebook became Meta. Lost bet on Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse?

A year ago today, Facebook, the famous social networking group, announced that it wants to become Meta. At the time, the name change introduced Mark Zuckerberg’s innovative project to build a 3D virtual world that allows for immersive social interaction – a concept better known as the Metaverse. 1 year later, it’s time to take stock.

The least we can say is that since the creation of Facebook in 2004, the company has come a long way. From the rooms of the University of Cambridge around the world, the social network has marked a new era: that of web2.

Since the early 2000s, this more permissive internet has offered users the opportunity to be able to participate in the web by publishing content in particular through social networks – a significant change compared to the previous generation: web1, which constitutes the beginnings and the Internet. This is defined by a one-way advisory network that allows little interaction and serves mainly to read information.

With his project Meta, Mark Zuckerberg aims to be a precursor to the third generation of the Internet. Called web3, this concept is presented as the worthy successor of web2. This generation, which appeared after the creation of Bitcoin, defines a more decentralized internet marked by the use of blockchain (the technology behind cryptos and NFTs), but also the metaverse.

A contraction of “meta” and “universe,” metaverse aims to modify our interactions online. This project takes the form of an interactive virtual space in which users can interact and enjoy multiple activities (work, games, etc.) in an immersive and real environment – ​​in short a second life 3.0.

It is important to remember that this concept is not the property of the Meta group. Indeed, several companies are working on this project, such as Decentraland, The Sandbox and many more…

Fascinated by the idea, in October 2021, Mark Zuckerberg began the transition from Facebook to become Meta, thus building the virtual world of tomorrow.

In the logic of introducing the concept to Facebook users, Meta offered its first product: Horizon Worlds.

Available from late 2021 in North America, the first digital world built by Meta has been tested by a large number of users. Last August, metaverse also became available in France and Spain.

After logging into your Facebook account and setting up your avatar, in Hozion Worlds you can interact primarily socially with the people who populate the digital world. Mini-games, virtual sports, evenings, events and even workspaces, some activities are available in this first metaverse.

However, despite the many possibilities, the metaverse does not seem to be unanimous, even 1 year after its launch…

After several billion invested in the project, Mark Zuckerberg must be responsible to investors and users. Many feel that this first version of the metaverse is far from final…

Among the repeated criticisms, we note the lack of immersion associated with the unrealistic graphics and the lack of legs of the avatars…

Meta Avatar's legs

To answer the criticism, Mark Zuckerberg himself announced the arrival of legs in the metaverse soon, during the Meta virtual conference on October 11.

Beyond these technical fixes, others still don’t understand Meta’s CEO project. For example, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, is one of those skeptics of the metaverse.

“I think it’s always important for people to understand what things are. And I’m not really sure that the general public can tell what the metaverse is,” explains Tim Cook on RTL Nieuws.

This criticism represents a drop in the ocean of criticism that Meta has endured with its Metaverse project. Although Horizon Worlds is still in its infancy, the digital world is trying to convince ex-Facebook users. In addition to their misunderstanding, Internet users do not necessarily have the means to access Horizon Worlds.

Indeed, for now, the Metaverse is only accessible to VR headset wearers – a method to optimize the immersive experience of visitors to Horizon Worlds.

If Horizon Worlds’ ambition was to attract nearly half a million visitors, the target has been revised downwards. According to the latest data published by the group, the world of virtual reality today has barely 200 thousand users.

In short, the Meta project does not find its audience regardless of the implemented means, and this is reflected in the company’s financial results.

Strategically, the logic sounded good. While Facebook was going through a tough time, the network took the metaverse route to recovery, only it’s not…

Since the announcement of the project, Meta’s share has fallen -69% over 1 year. At a price divided by 3, the stock is struggling to convince investors. And for good reason, Meta’s earnings mark a shortfall of $4.4 billion in the third quarter of 2022. Moreover, after the announcement of the quarterly balance sheet, the share price is under control of an impressive decline. 22% during the last two days. In this anxiety-provoking context, the group will limit employment and limit its budget for the coming year.

But the downside

Even more surprising, the metaverse project doesn’t even fascinate Meta employees.

“A lot of us don’t spend that much time on Horizon,” said Vishal Shah, vice president of Meta for Metaverse.

These elements unfortunately prove the lack of interest in the group’s project. So, after 1 year, the observation is bittersweet… It is clear that most users do not seem happy with this transition for many reasons mentioned above. One question remains: is it the concept of the metaverse itself that presents the problem, or its appropriation by the Meta? Indeed, if the metaverse is part of a web3 logic, then the fact that it belongs to Facebook ignores the decentralization project of this new Internet.

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