Meta is Dead
The first TV was created in 1929. By 1930 there was BBC, by 1933 Olympcs were broadcasted on TV and by 1950 nearly every modern nation had a TV station and a TV in most middle class homes. The first mobile phone call was made in 1973. It took some time to get the technology to work well enough that made the phones possible to carry and charge in a reasonable time, but by 2000 even college kids had one.
In contrast, virtual reality headsets have been around since 1980ies. They are in essence unchanged as a useless gimmick. Oculus rift brought the price down and made them much more wide spread, but they are as useful as a Duck Hunt gun; they are sitting in a drawer while kids play Mario Brothers. And that is not good for Facebook.
Facebook made a strategic switch to the “metaverse” in the middle of its greatest crisis: it knew that they were losing kids (I know more high schoolers on twitter than on Facebook) and it decided to rebrand and shift their core business. They did this as people discovered that the products they made were literally killing people and the next step was made to embrace their billion dollar investment in Virtual Reality by renaming themselves Meta. Meta means dead in Hebrew, and that is their future.
Why is virtual reality their future and why is it dead? It is dead because people are leaving Facebook in droves. No one pus their pictures up on Facebook anymore, only 40 year olds use it, mostly for arguing and losing friends. More and more people discover better curation and better discussions on Twitter while children find SnapChat and TikTok healthier and more fun that Instagram. And while Facebook has billions of users, it is only the 200 million or so American users who pay their bills, the rest just created genocides and cost them money.
But future is Metaverse you say. They made a pivot into the future! And that’s where my original point comes in. The future doesn’t take 40 years to arrive. If a technology is good it gets adopted, and Virtual Reality has been dead in the water for a long time and no amount of investment is making it any more attractive than it already is. Virtual reality is dead because it is unnecessary.
People have tried to make it succeed through big headsets like Oculus and small ones like Google Glass. People don’t care for them because they don’t need them. There simply isn’t a need to be in a virtual world all the time and there isn’t a need for an all immersive system when you have a natural ability to block everything out when playing a game.
I talked to one gamer about this, but it seems pretty universal, while VR is fun for a little bit, no one wants to play a game for hours on end wearing a headset, no matter how small or how great the game happens to be. People have natural ability to immerse themselves into a story (think books) and block out the world, a headset simply makes it cumborsome and nauseating after more than an hour. And this is why the technology did not take off like the TV or Cell Phone, it is unnecessary and an unnecessary product does not take over the world, it fails and so does the company making it.
And thus, we come to the final irony, Meta is dead. Facebook wrote it’s future in it’s own name. Meta, Hebrew for dead is it’s future. No one ever liked Facebook as a company, they simply used it because that’s where they put their photos and connections in college. But 20 years later, we have other places for photos, status updates and friend connections. The effort they put into making it as addictive as cigarettes are starting to not work, we are starting to wake up to the reality that no one cares about our updates and no amount of likes will replace true accomplishments and connections.
People are realising the toxic nature of Facebook and now that they know that it was all created on purpose. As a result they are posting less and leaving it in droves. No product that people have to deactivate for a period of time and write about the benefits they felt of a detox is worth it and in the end sustainable.
Facebook are the cigarettes of the 20th century, it is deadly and with its pivot to a failed technology, it is well on its way to being dead. And good riddance.