Over 18 months ago, Facebook changed its name to Meta alongside Zuckerberg’s belief that the future of the mobile internet was ‘metaverse’. But18 months later the firm do not appear to have made any further significant progress, despite being quipped as ‘changing the world’.
At present, doing something as small as setting up a Memoji or logging onto Fortnite could be classed as “using metaverse”, but this seems to be a way of Meta concealing the fact the concept simply hasn’t progressed any further.
A piece of research commissioned by Meta this month suggested metaverse could bring “between £40bn and £75bn in additional GDP” to the UK alone by 2035. The research described how metaverse “could help transform classroom settings” and could also be applied to healthcare, industry, live entertainment and much more.
Despite the report, outsiders and even Meta’s own shareholders still need some convincing. The company lost $13.7 billion this year alone on its “reality labs” which cover research into virtual reality and reality tech.
Meta Quest 2 headset
Video games seem to be the only area where metaverse’s underlying technology is paying off. Games such as critically acclaimed Half-Life Alyx can be played with Meta’s Quest 2 VR headset when connected to a gaming PC. Meta’s Quest 2 headset remains the market leader, costs £400 to purchase and is capable of handling some of the most popular VR games on the market.
Apple VR/AR headset
With Meta spending far too much time developing metaverse, they’ve allowed rivals to creep up behind them, and on 5 June, Apple is set to unveil its own virtual reality headset at the firm’s WWDC 2023 event, with mass production to follow. Apple has big plans for augmented reality and the launch of a VR/AR headset could be the first real Apple product to enter this space. At launch, Apple’s headset will most likely compete with the Meta Quest 2, PSVR 2 as well as other VR headsets currently on the market.
Why does this matter?
Mark Zuckerberg has spent billions on metaverse, but still people are struggling to understand the concept. With the growing hype around artificial intelligence, we wonder if metaverse is finally taking a back seat in favour of other investments? Mark Zuckerberg insists this isn’t the case.
He said: “We’ve been focusing on AI and the metaverse for years now, and we will continue to focus on both … Building the metaverse is a long-term project, but the rationale for it remains the same and we remain committed to it.”
From recent reports, it is clear Apple intend to take a radically different approach to Meta. For starters, the price tag of its headset will cost thousands of dollars, with the long-term goal to create a headset that people do not feel the need to take off when speaking to other people in the same room.
Has Apple found a solution to metaverse? As with so much in the metaverse space, the vision makes sense if we are thinking about life in 10 years’ time, but getting to that point is going to cost both Apple and Meta an awful lot of time and money.