Talking Points

Let's pre-emptively stop pretending the metaverse is impressive

The company formerly known as Facebook offered a new peek into its metaverse on Friday in a video tweeted by Mike Schroepfer, Meta's chief technology officer. The clip has a lot in common with a previous metaverse video starring an avatar of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. That is: It's bizarre and a bit pathetic, and we should all pre-emptively refuse to act impressed.

Have a look for yourself, and ponder two points as you do: One, why are there no legs? The video is supposed to be a preview of a Meta-made game called Horizon Worlds, which is currently in invite-only beta. The game's Twitter banner depicts characters with legs, but everyone in its tweeted screenshots is cut off at the waist. Why? Are legs too hard for Meta to draw? What is happening here?

Two — and more importantly — why is Meta pretending this is good? Why would anyone pretend this is good? Why would Schroepfer and his conversation partner, another Meta exec named Vivek Sharma, act like they're amazed this simplistic video game can move its characters into a second room? Mario Kart could do that ... in 1996.

But beyond the underwhelming function, why would anyone who has ever had a normal human interaction want to spend time in this childish take on a Zoom call? Why would adults play along with this sad little make-believe? Who wants to do business as a floating doll? Should I negotiate for a raise as a digital toy? 

Meta talks a big game about changing our lives, but all the available evidence says that just like the company's flagship product, it would be a change for the worse.