With tech fans excited about Meta’s long-awaited announcement of the Project Cambria VR headset in October, it appears the company’s vision for the Metaverse is slowly getting closer. For some, however, it is an exercise in futility until many other metaverse concerns are resolved.
Tech enthusiasts have turned to Reddit to voice some of their problems with technology in its current form. From the data and privacy questions that have plagued Meta since investing heavily in technology to practical issues, these are their top concerns.
Ever since Facebook announced it was changing its branding to Meta to help put it at the forefront of this technology, critics and consumers alike have expressed concern that a company with a poor reputation, data and privacy could be responsible for a so potentially engaging concept.
Redditor PointandStare made this point, calling it a “huge data and privacy nightmare”. This claim is not without foundation, as Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen warned in an interview with AP that the company was again trying to use the technology to collect data irresponsibly. Meta has repeatedly denied these claims, but many see no reason to trust the tech giant.
Most people don’t like using virtual reality for long periods of time
The development and improvement of VR technology is essential for the Metaverse to become viable for mainstream consumers, and while Oculus is constantly enriching the experience, some believe this will always be an issue.
Redditor a_pen_in_time comments that he “can’t see it come into action” in the future, explaining that in his own experience, “motion sickness or disconnection from being in a visually different place from reality” means that most people just don’t like using VR headsets for prolonged and uninterrupted periods. No matter how cleaner or more comfortable the helmets are, it may not solve this fundamental problem.
The technology is not here yet
While Metaverse and VR have their fans, especially when it comes to modern VR games, it’s probably still niche. Redditor a_curious_koala attributes this to the “clumsy” nature of technology in its current state and argues that the Metaverse “will only happen when the technology evolves.”
While that also means that its rise to the mainstream is inevitable once the technology rises to satisfy it and makes the experience cheaper and more convenient, that future may be a long way off. This may be bad news for those hoping the Metaverse will explode in popularity soon.
People are already exhausted from online communication
While the rise of Zoom and other remote collaborative work and play tools during the pandemic meant a greater focus on the idea of the metaverse, it also brings with it another potential concern. Redditor WVA1999 thinks the idea of ”walking in a virtual world all day” doesn’t have much appeal after the tensions of the pandemic and blockades.
There is supporting evidence, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that the time spent online by adults in the United States increased dramatically during the pandemic. Arguably, this makes the metaverse more feasible as people already spend so much time online but, for some people, the last thing they want is another reason to spend more time immersed in the online world.
The potential of the Metaverse may be very real, but that doesn’t mean today’s business interest in it necessarily stems from a sincere belief in the power of technology. Editor Moggy-Man fears it’s being widely used as a marketing ploy right now, particularly by Meta.
They call Meta a “marketing distraction” to try to bring the company back to the forefront of consumers’ minds and say they “don’t believe it has any real motivation beyond that.” In fact, so far many have not been impressed with Meta’s showcases, which seem to be more geared towards making their Metaverse look marketable than actually exploring the potential of the technology.
People may not want to live in a virtual world
One of the promises of the Metaverse is that consumers will be happy to live in a virtual reality world thanks to the limitless potential it offers compared to the real world. However, Redditor tehsheepdog thinks there may be a big problem that has yet to be solved by technology advocates.
They say the allure of gaming and the online world is that it offers “a temporary escape from reality” and that this appeal disappears when “the game or the world comes true”. By presenting the metaverse as a place where people will socialize, work and live, it loses that all-important element of evasion and risks losing many consumers.
Its uses will be more superficial than many say
The Metaverse promises to change things like how everyone learns and works, and there are already incredibly immersive VR games and experiences out there. But Redditor EvidenceBase2000 thinks that when the Metaverse is really upon us, its uses will be much more superficial.
They plan to put more emphasis on “image”, “social status” and be full of explicit content when it becomes more mainstream. While there may not be much evidence yet to suggest this, it’s true that the pristine, easy-to-use version of the Metaverse being marketed right now is likely not going to be an accurate representation of how it will end up in reality.
One thing many people have pointed out about the Metaverse is that the concept of a virtual world in which the user spends long periods of time immersed is nothing new, at least to anyone who has ever stepped into an extremely addicting video game. Redditor mas901 points out that there is a problem that people may overlook here.
They associate the metaverse with their experience with World of Warcraft and go so far as to say “I’ve played it a lot until I literally passed out” and the game “has become my life’s goal.” For people at risk of becoming obsessively addicted, the Metaverse could provide an even more engaging version of this same idea.
While it would be nice to imagine the Metaverse expansion being led by those who are genuinely excited to bring exciting new technology to consumers, some think the way it’s presented now is a little too familiar. A Redditor explains the problem by saying “if the social media status is indicative, [the Metaverse] it will be driven entirely by commercial interests. “
While Meta’s presentation of a more engaging virtual environment might appeal to investors, remember today’s social media which is obviously more interested in scrolling and watching endless advertisements to the user than providing an engaging experience. . For some consumers, this overly corporate aspect isn’t very appealing.
While some continue to doubt that Mark Zuckerberg’s huge gamble to turn Facebook into the Meta and invest everything in the future of technology will pay off, it’s impossible to say that the company has failed to play a pretty big part in the future of the Metaverse and that’s troubling. for some.
Redditor junktech thinks the biggest concern with the Metaverse is the Meta itself “and the guy who runs it”. Like many, they feel that “money and power” has always been the main focus of the company and that domination of the metaverse “would just give them more control.” Of course, it remains to be seen whether Meta’s bet pays off, but not everyone is eager to see the future of the Metaverse if Mark Zuckerberg is the one leading the way.