| December 7, 2022

Metaverse is a Failure. Or Not?

The battle of intellect between the ‘believers’ and the ‘non-believers’ of the Metaverse continues.

Among the people who have heard, read or know about the Metaverse, there exists a variety of differences regarding what the Metaverse is and what it should/could be. Meta, who’s been acting like the leader of this technological revolution, has set very high expectations amongst people and because they aren’t even close to the expectations that they’ve set, bring a massive target to the entire Metaverse.

Many other companies have invested in the Metaverse, like Nvidia, Google, Apple, Autodesk, Microsoft etc. But people judge the fate of the entire Metaverse only based on what Meta has presented to the people. Although it’s still very early, Meta will enjoy every first-mover advantage, and at the same time, they’ll face the negative consequences as well.

Looking at all the discussions around the Metaverse, one thing is very clear. People are judging the entire Metaverse development based on Meta’s product and service experiences. It is definitely a very biased judgement, and also, because, Metaverse and 3D imagination are things that people are not yet habituated with.


Meta: Why The Metaverse Will Probably Fail

As per Albert Lin from SeekingAlfa.com article:

Meta’s initial goal was to reach half a million MAUs (monthly active users) by the end of 2022, but Horizon World has only attracted less than 200k users so far. Since this spring, Horizon World’s user base has been on a steady decline, and most users don’t come back to the virtual world after the first month.

• Only 9% of worlds made by creators of the app are visited by over 50 people, while most worlds have 0 visitors.

• The Oculus Quest (Meta’s VR headset) has seen declining retention rates in the past 3 years. More than 50% of Quest headsets are no longer being used after 6 months since purchase.

• Less than 1% of users are building their own worlds.

Another article by The Verge on 10/7 shows that per Meta’s internal memos, Horizon Worlds has too many quality issues, and even company employees aren’t using it very much.

Although the article was focused on criticizing Meta and its bullish actions and overpromises, I would like to address a few points from this article because of two reasons:

  • Firstly, Meta is not the entire Metaverse. So, I will address all of the allegations in this article as a Metaverse enthusiast, not on behalf of Meta.
  • A few doubts and questions are raised about the tool, which is cool, but because of a poorly designed tool, the allegation of a whole industry collapsing is a little hard to digest.

Ok, let’s discuss every point 1-by-1:

  • “Only 9% of worlds made by creators of the app are visited by over 50 people, while most have 0 visitors.”

As I mentioned earlier if a tool is not good in terms of the user experience. It’s very normal for people not to try the next part if they don’t like the first or any one part of the tool. Even every WordPress website developer knows this, and they are constantly trying to make user-friendly websites or even use tried and tested templates. But for the metaverse environment, many experiments are yet to happen, and it’s possible that this will be cracked by some small-scale and fearless startups.

From any angle, I can’t see this as a valid statement for a Metaverse failure.

  • “The Oculus Quest (Meta’s VR headset) has seen declining retention rates in the past 3 years. More than 50% of Quest headsets are no longer being used after 6 months since purchase”.

Again, this is not a shocking stat; let me explain why:

There’s a reason why Blackberry didn’t succeed with their OS, and Android usually wins over any platform. To make hardware accessible and valuable for a mass audience, it’s important for brands to understand (I think every brand understands) that every individual will use it differently. They have different use cases of the same hardware. For this, many apps from wide categories need to be developed.

Currently, Meta’s Quest store is not very easy to enter or streamlined enough for developers to release their products. Another reason is the dual side of Mark Zuckerberg. He stated that the 30% commission on the App store and Play store is killing the innovation, and on the Quest store, he charges a whopping 47.5%.

These problems make Oculus useless to some extent, and we can say people do not have answers to “What to do with Oculus now?” when they don’t find the apps for their use case.

There are a few more points that Albert Lin made, but I think those are highly Meta focused and not actually metaverse-focused. It’s very early to predict the future of the Metaverse based on those mentioned points.


Reasons Why Metaverse Is a Failure

When I was reading this article written by Alessio Ganci, sorry to say, but I got a ‘grandpa’ vibe. Let me summarize few of his points from the article:

  • VR Devices: Are They Always Comfortable?
  • Virtual Reality Is Not Real Enough
  • We cannot “go toilet” in the Metaverse
  • We cannot sleep in the Metaverse
  • We have actual bills to pay
  • I am not going to buy a house in the Metaverse and see it as the new world where I’ll spend the rest of my life

When I was reading this article, I could relate to the first 2 points, and it needs improvement. I think we all know we have a very long way to go in terms of improvement in terms of virtual realities. To some extent, I believe virtual reality is supposed to be different from reality. Virtual reality is exciting because it allows us to experience our crazy and wild imagination to some extent. He used the ‘Borgs’ reference from Star Trek, an American TV series, and still misses the point of having a virtual reality!

For the third and fourth points, he is trying to establish his expertise with the Metaverse; I guess he is misguided in understanding the Metaverse due to some promotional lines, like “This will be a new reality” or “people will spend their most of the day in Metaverse”.

Metaverse is and will be a virtual reality where you can do anything “virtually”. Yes, we have to pay actual bills, and I’m totally aligned with it.

For the virtual homes and land buying part, this is the kind of behaviour everyone had half a decade ago for Crypto. No one buys virtual land or house for ‘living there 24×7 and going toilet’. Sometimes, it could be for fun, but most of the time, an ‘investment’ is the intention behind this. I don’t think I’m suitable to get into the ‘economics discussion’, but the recent trends of investment in digital assets open the door to understanding the new investment possibilities and how new but promising technologies are creating the investment infrastructure for the future.


Metaverse Is Failing, But This Is One Investment That Will Not Die

In the search for some logical argument behind the thought “Why Metaverse may not work”, I found an article in Forbes with the title “Metaverse Is Failing, But This Is One Investment That Will Not Die”.

I found the title interesting and fortunately, the article too. This article was written by Kenneth Rapoza, who pinpointed the problems with the current stage of Metaverse and the big mouth of Zuckerberg.

Virtual worlds, games and products are not that great right now compared to what people were expecting them to be. But Kenneth is hopeful about the promising potential of this technology, and indirectly he questioned (I think he is dead on target) Meta’s marketing and PR campaign strategy.

When companies are moving to “Hybrid” and “Work from Anywhere” models, why should we go to the office virtually?

If someone misses working with colleagues, wouldn’t they get on a video call with real faces rather than work with some random avatars?

Many other articles are written on the same topic but need to be more insightful and pinpoint a real issue or hope. Here at Flam, we’re focusing on creating a Social Metaverse and are very excited to receive all constructive criticism on our product or the overall Metaverse infrastructure. From the very first day, we knew we’d need to do many technical innovations, resulting in a Metaverse environment which people would like. We’re innovating many technical solutions for the problems which only existed after we started developing a Metaverse product. Many technological challenges still need to be handled, and we’ve filed a patent already for the developed solutions. You may read about those technological advancements in detail when we have the patent.

I can only ask for patience and faith in the world’s intelligent minds. Just think, a simple piece of software for today, like the “internet browser”, took decades to become what it is today. Technological or human evolution doesn’t work on a whim. One morning, a person says something, and humanity takes a turn. Doesn’t work like that. It needs a chain of events, multiple participants and continuous iteration towards good for all.

Now, you may have the questions like, “I’m ready to have patience but do we need Metaverse?”, “Should the Metaverse be created?”, “What problem does Metaverse solve?” or “Are we missing Metaverse?”

I’ll come up with answers to these questions in our following articles and would love to hear your feedback and thoughts on Metaverse. If you don’t believe in this technology, what are your reasons? Also, please subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated on the Metaverse’s latest development and stats.


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