There’s been a lot of talk about the metaverse over the last year. According to its advocates, it will be a revolutionary new platform that will let us interact with each other in ways we never could before. But is the metaverse all it’s cracked up to be? I’m not so sure.
Admittedly, I don’t really know what the metaverse is supposed to be. Is it a virtual world, or is it a social network for VR headsets? Is it a term to describe a bunch of different futuristic concepts? There doesn’t seem to be a clear definition as to what it is even supposed to be. But, everyone is excited nonetheless.
First of all, let’s look at who’s behind the metaverse. It’s Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Do you really trust him to create a safe and secure online space for us? I don’t. Mark Zuckerberg already has a track record of abusing our privacy. Do we want to trust him with even more of our data?
The metaverse is based on a false premise. The idea that we can create a virtual world that’s better than the real world is a fantasy. The metaverse will never be able to replace the real world because it’s not realistic.
At the Connect 2021 conference where the rebrand was announced, Zuckerberg did a little demo where he went into his Matrix-like world full of Wii avatars. Virtual reality with Wii graphics. For reference, the Nintendo Wii was released 16 years ago.
Immersive realistic experiences have been the promise of virtual reality for decades, but have never been delivered. Current virtual reality technology is still very primitive and the high-end headsets require expensive PC’s. There’s no way that it could support the kind of complex world that the metaverse proposes.
I have always been fascinated by virtual reality and I would love to see it succeed and reach the point where it doesn’t feel like you’re looking at poorly rendered cartoon characters without legs. But, it feels like VR has been that way for a long time now.
I’ve bought into almost every type of VR headset over the years. From those early PC versions which were shutter shades to Oculus, Playstation VR, HP Reverb and so forth. Despite the fact the technology is getting better, it’s not getting better fast enough to achieve realistic VR experiences.
Oh, there is also a serious problem that plagues many virtual reality headsets: VR sickness. This article goes into more depth, but it appears that many of us experience VR sickness after 15 or more minutes. It also appears to get worse with age.
Why replace the real world with a virtual one, when the real world is always going to be better?