From dream to nightmare: the metaverse corners Zuckerberg




If in 2004 Mark Zuckerberg turned his dream into a success and marked a turning point on the Internet with the facebook creation17 years later has had another vision that has become a nightmare: the metaverse. A groundbreaking but risky idea that will cost the dismissal of 11,000 company workersthe first major restructuring since its foundation.

On October 28, 2021 Mark Zuckerberg wanted to start making that other project of abstract reality and bet everything on it. Changed your company name from Facebook to Metaalluding to a virtual world of which little was known at the time and which began to invest billions of dollars in an idea that, he assured, was going to mark a before and after in history.

But now, just over a year later, the owner of the company and also owner of other social networks like Instagram or instant messaging like WhatsApp has seen how his dream has turned into a nightmare. This virtual reality is still a great unknown to the general public and investors have turned their backs to its initial project, a fact that has led to shares on the stock market Meta have collapsed more than 70%.

“It has gone ahead in time and projected something that is not naturalized”

Also, on Facebook the number of daily active users has stagnated for more than a year at a figure of around 1,900 million, advertisers have fallen and, as a consequence, net income has been halved in a year. From 9,194 million dollars in the third quarter of 2021, it has gone to 4,395 in this last year.

“Meta has advanced in time and has projected something that is not yet naturalized or technologically facilitated. It’s an expensive technology and he hired a lot of people, thinking that he was going to be able to monetize this very quickly, but realized that people aren’t really using it,” explains the Vice-rector for International Relations and Digital Transformation of the University of Deusto, Álex Rayón.

“While 500 million people use Instagram every day, only 8,000 people use Decentraland, the biggest metaverse of the competition. It is impossible to make this profitable and until there is a real transfer of users, it is utopian for it to be economically profitable”, adds Rayón.

When in 2012 Facebook bought Instagram for 1,000 million dollars, the network had 25 million total users and today it is a community that brings together 2,000 million active users. As opposed, Horizon Worlds, the metaverse designed by Zuckerberg, currently has 300,000 total users, and according to digital finance portals such as ‘YahooFinances’, the company has invested more than 15,000 million dollars in it in 2022 and 10,000 in the previous year. Also, only 9% of the available spaces are visited by at least 50 people daily.

The high price of the accessories to be able to enjoy the metaverse -augmented reality glasses, controllers or specific helmets-, together with the lack of real interest on the part of the users due to the impossibility of accessing something that provides a truly different experience to what is currently on the internet, generates that advertisers do not find it attractive to be able to advertise. And without advertisers, there is no possible and profitable business, according to the model proposed by Zuckerberg.

From the ‘.com’ bubble to the metaverse

“Who Pays For The Metaverse Party? Someone Has To Pay For It”asks the director of the portal ‘Real or Virtual’Oscar Gonzalez. “We understand that a ‘virtual second winter’ is coming.

The first was at the end of the nineties and the beginning of the two thousand, when the expectations created could not be covered by the technique and technology in the so-called ‘dotcom bubble’. “Now the same thing happens again, it is impossible for technology to create the worlds they had in mindGonzalez explains.

According to González, what Zuckerberg and company had in mind will have to wait. “The metaverse will freeze and will have to be left to rest. Right now they are not able to get a return from the user as fast as the investment that the metaverse needs,” he argues, while explaining that everything that is happening is not a technical problem, but one of patience.

“They want an immediate return and it is impossible. The people who put up money want to start seeing returns and if not, they go to something else, and that is what is happening,” he concludes, about a project in which uncertainty seems to become daily.

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A billionaire investment with hardly any return

As if that were not enough, the company’s long-term debt is 9,920 million dollars at the end of the third quarter of 2022, according to data to which RTVE.es has had access and, for the first time in its history, Meta will fire to 11,000 workers, 13% of its workforce.

Contacted to ask about the situation and the point in which the development of the metaverse of Goal After the recent setbacks suffered and the lack of users, company sources have referred to Mark Zuckerberg’s comments at his last meeting with shareholders in October of this year and They refuse to make any assessment.

At that meeting of shareholders, it was ensured that the company continued to grow and that it would emerge as a “stronger” company in 2023, in addition to once again emphasizing the commitment to this virtual world, despite the fact that both investors and users do not stop giving it the back. In fact, Zuckerberg insisted that they were on the right track, although he warned and he mentioned that the project is “long term” and that he “believes” that it will end up working.

The metaverse, under review on the TV news

Doubts fly over Meta, which is silent

All these reasons have caused doubts about Meta to begin to hover. In addition, the rise in interest rates and a greater economic demand for large technology companies has raised concerns in users and investors as they see that other parallel world that Zuckerberg presented more and more distant.

“There are many doubts because the metaverse has been shoehorned into us. Its usefulness and functionality have not yet been demonstrated to us today and that is difficult for people to see”, explains the technology expert of the newspaper ‘El Confidencial’, Michael McLoughlin.

“As it is currently conceived, it only works for very specific things and that is the problem”adds McLoughin, who only sees its usefulness for certain video games or educational applications and not as a meeting point, the objective that Zuckerberg intended.

While that icy “winter” is already glimpsed in the metaverse, virtual reality users accuse him of “appropriating” a concept that already existed before and Zuckerberg is preparing to slow down a project that, today, seems utopian.

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From dream to nightmare: the metaverse corners Zuckerberg