Meta (Facebook): Mark Zuckerberg continues his free fall in the Metaverse

Meta (Facebook): Mark Zuckerberg continues his free fall in the Metaverse

By Luc Julia, author of Artificial intelligence does not exist.

Meta (ex-Facebook) CEO Mark Zuckerberg continues to charge towards the Metaverse with the launch of a new virtual reality (VR) headset, the Quest Pro, in late October. The first surprise comes from the price: at 1,799.99 euros compared to 449.99 euros for the previous version Quest 2, Meta does not favor mass acceptance of the technology. It’s been eight years since he acquired Oculus, the company behind those VR headsets. And what was meant to be increasingly affordable, both technologically and economically, seems to be going the other way instead.

No more than 300,000 active users

Today, Meta admits that its Horizon Worlds platform has no more than 300,000 monthly active users compared to the 100 million users of Microsoft’s metaverse Minecraft. It must be said that the vast majority of these users do not use a helmet. This is undoubtedly the reason why Zuckerberg announced that from 2023 it will be possible to access Horizon Worlds via a web browser or even via Zoom or Teams. So, one may wonder why Meta is bothering to create VR headsets.

also readOculus, Workplace, Portal: the complicated diversifications of Facebook

The question also arises internally… Memos show real concern because very few employees, despite orders from the boss, use these devices and the in-house platform. On the outside, things don’t look much brighter: User numbers are flat, revenue for this division is declining, and with shares down 60% year-to-date, a wave of layoffs is on the horizon. If the technical performances shown are impressive, they are somewhat overshadowed by a low autonomy of one hour to ninety minutes and by the five cameras that examine the user inside the helmet.

Introducing meta avatars. Zuckerberg admitted that it was an animated film and not the new version of the metaverse. (YT recording)

Forced a few years ago to stop facial recognition on the photos of the social network, Meta therefore brings the technology up to date. These cameras track the movement of the eyes but also the user’s facial expressions in order to transmit them to the avatar that will place it in of the 3D world in which it develops. Personal data and privacy specialists are concerned about recent patents filed by Meta aimed at offering targeted advertising and content in the Metaverse that adapts to the user’s facial expressions and reactions. One of the fears is the exploitation of the most fragile emotions.

also readWill the future of the Grandes Ecoles play out in the Metaverse?

The avatars have… real legs!

After all, perhaps the most important part of this announcement is elsewhere, in a story… of legs! We made fun of previous versions where the avatars were decorated with two pieces of wood. In a demo for the upcoming release, the avatars have real legs! As some were quick to be taken aback by her slightly too natural looks, whammy! Meta had to admit that it wasn’t the new version at all, but an animated film based on a video. Another little lie from friend Mark.


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