To Mark Zuckerberg, head of The Company Formerly Known As Facebook, the metaverse is an exciting opportunity to sell people things they don’t need and that don’t even exist.
“We hope to basically get to around a billion people in the metaverse doing hundreds of dollars of commerce, each buying digital goods, digital content, different things to express themselves,” he told CNBC.
That includes “clothing for their avatar or different digital goods for their virtual home or things to decorate their virtual conference room.”
A billion people. Hundreds of dollars.
For digital goods to dress up digital characters and images, but with no value in the real world.
Zuckerberg is so stoked about this prospect, he changed the name of his business from Facebook to Meta Platforms.
The one teeny-weeny, itsy-bitsy catch to all this digital dreaming is that it will require millions and millions of people to purchase and wear clunky virtual-reality headsets when online (which, coincidentally, Zuckerberg also sells).
The Meta CEO acknowledged that “it’s going to take a while for it to get to the scale of several hundreds of millions or even billions of people in the metaverse, just because things take some time to get there.”
He called that “the north star” for his business.
Or possibly a black hole.
Companies worldwide are gambling that the metaverse will be the Next Big Thing, and perhaps it will be, eventually.
But this tech will have to demonstrate greater utility than merely allowing headset-wearing people to wander around a video-game environment and buy stuff with no real-world applicability.
Zuckerberg called the metaverse experience a “realistic sense of presence.”
At the moment, though, it looks more like a pale imitation of the Matrix.
And look how that worked out.