This is the key bit in my opinion:
Facebook got concerned that Apple and Google control mobile platforms, and they wanted to have a platform that they controlled entirely.
Dude really thinks the future is people walking around with expensive VR/AR headsets. From Meta, no less. Delusional bastard.
I don’t have VR stuff (too poor) but I wonder if the whole ecosystem would have been a bit more amenable is Meta did not try to dominate it.
Yes, when Palmer Lucky sold Occulus to the Zuck he also delayed VR with at least a decade.
Obviously having Apple and Google dominate the mobile space is really bad, but both got there from a position of relative weakness and kinda just sneaked their way in. Facebook on the other hand is perceived even by a relatively uninformed mainsteam audience as this evil empire you really don’t want to give anymore power over your social network (in the original sense) than it already has.
So I think the problem analysis is spot on, but the suggested solution that Facebook would be able to buy their way into a dominant position is somewhat flawed as becoming more and more evident right now.
But maybe that is a good thing. I think Facebook is currently struggling enough to maybe readjust their approach to something that might be more successful. I think if they would try to pivot away from building a platform they dominate, to one that no one can fully dominate (as they tried to do with Libra) they could improve their position relative to Apple and Google.
Besides that, VR/AR is definitely the future. All the naysayers remind me of the people making fun of smartphones in the early days. Almost even the exact same arguments (bulky, nerdy, what do I need that for?), and all of these people use a smartphone now…
VR may be the future, but the tech simply isn’t there yet. Headsets aren’t comfortable enough to use for prolonged periods of time, and resolution is far too low. This will of course change within a decade, and perhaps we’ll see ergonomic VR goggles start showing up.
However, the bigger issue is that so far VR hasn’t really offered anything new that can’t be done outside VR. It’s a progressive enhancement of an experience as opposed to a fundamentally new experience.
This is the reason Metaverse failed. At its core it’s no different from previous attempts such as Second Life. If people didn’t care for that, then there’s no reason they’d want to do it with VR gear either. Ultimately VR competes for time against every other distraction, and unless there’s something uniquely compelling then distractions with lower barriers win. Having to own and use cumbersome gear puts the barrier pretty high right now.
It’s also naive to think that Fb would try to build a platform that nobody can dominate. Monopoly is the goal of any corporation. The best thing that could happen is that Fb enters a death spiral as investors keep pulling out money. With the economy crashing, ads are the first thing companies stop spending money on, and that’s devastating all the ad based companies already. It’s only going to get worse for them.
VR headsets are improving rapidly and the next generation is about to start with PSVR 2 to be release early next year. But sure, the AR space is still not quite there yet and AR is IMHO the more promising field for mass adoption.
Also initially smartphones were in the same situation. There wasn’t really much you could do with them that you couldn’t do better with other devices. But the convenience to have it all in one place and the rapid improvement of the technology to the point where for example smartphone cameras became “pretty good” made all the difference. The same could be true for AR glasses.
I also think that confusing VR/AR with the “metaverse” is misleading. Metaverse is just one of many applications and I agree that right now it seems a bit pointless as there isn’t much to do in the various corporate metaverses.
As for Facebook… sure they would want to dominate. But an alternative successful strategy is to “Commoditize Your Complement” and I think they might try to switch to that as evidently their original domination strategy isn’t working very well.
I think AR has more promising applications as well. If the tech can be compressed to format of small goggles that you can wear all day long, then there are plenty of applications. I’d love to have a HUD on my glasses right now.
VR applications are still less clear to me. There is also a question of haptic feedback. Many of the problems with VR stem from the fact that there’s a disconnect between what you’re seeing and what your other senses are experiencing. This leads to stuff like motion sickness and headaches.
And we’ll see what Fb does, seems like they bet the farm on VR, and they simply might not have the funds for another grand venture at this point.
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