Mark Zuckerberg was teased again on Twitter. On Tuesday, he uploaded a screenshot of his avatar selfie from Horizon Worlds on Facebook to celebrate the launch of Horizon Worlds in France and Spain. Zuckerberg said: “I look forward to seeing people explore and build immersive worlds here, and Horizon Worlds will soon be available in more countries.
Contrary to expectations, people didn’t get excited with Zuckerberg’s expansion of Horizon Worlds, but instead focused on this “uncanny valley”-like screenshot.
In this screenshot, Zuckerberg’s avatar stands numbly in a barren landscape with a scaled-down version of the Eiffel Tower behind him and the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.
This screenshot shows such a bad picture, which has attracted European and American netizens to complain. Worse yet, with Meta spending $10 billion on the metaverse in 2021, why is the graphics quality on par with 1997’s PC games?
Metaverse in 2022, not as good as PC games in the 90s?
Zuckerberg’s screenshots have gone viral on the European and American Internet, and have evolved into a large-scale nostalgic scene of a classic game.
Some people compared it to the simulated reality game “Second Life” released in 2007.
Some people complain that this screen looks like a PC game from 1997.
But some people think that the PC games of the 1990s are obviously overestimated. He believes that the pictures of the PS1 in 1994 look much better than this Zuckerberg’s metaverse.
Objectively speaking, it is not fair to judge Horizon Worlds with a screenshot. Zuckerberg himself has taken note of the rants, and on Friday he posted some new screenshots on Facebook and Instagram, showing a more lifelike version of himself and an ancient-looking plaza. “A major update to Horizon and avatar graphics is coming,” he said, promising to share more details at an upcoming Connect conference.
For the previous screenshot, he admitted it wasn’t flattering. “I know this photo I posted earlier this week was pretty basic — it was taken to celebrate the launch. The quality is much better in Horizon — even on the headset,” he said.
The editor of The Verge offered his own take on his claims, arguing that he personally, if his company is already pouring billions of dollars into building a digital world, should refrain from posting rudimentary screenshots — especially It just announced a $100 price increase on the Quest 2, making the experience of visiting Horizon Worlds more expensive.
Although it seems that this incident is just an oolong caused by Zuckerberg’s random pictures, after Facebook changed its name to Meta in 2021 and devoted itself to the metaverse , it is not rare for similar disputes to occur.
The Metaverse is the next terminal platform, and Meta will play a very important role in it, and Zuckerberg has repeatedly touted this concept to people. However, the experience of its new products seems to be far from Zuckerberg’s expectations, especially Horizon Worlds.
Horizon Worlds is a metaverse social platform launched by Meta in December 2021. In this virtual world, users can socialize with others, explore, and build anything from VR games to whole new worlds.
Despite Zuckerberg’s constant display of various social interactions in Horizon Worlds, the Avatars in Horizon Worlds are far from being “realistic”. For example, once when he was talking to American astronomer Neil Degrasse Tyson, he couldn’t get his avatar to make a convincing punch-bump.
Horizon Worlds is just a fuse. The further thinking brought by this incident is: Zuckerberg insisted on going his own way, he did not hesitate to fall out with Carmack and others to promote lightweight VR equipment, and fully devoted himself to the development of the metaverse world . strategy, is there a problem?
$16 billion burned in a year and a half
When asked how to allocate resources for Reality Labs and various other app products, Meta CFO Dave Wehner said: “In terms of investment, we are focusing on priority businesses, namely: Metaverse and Reality Labs, investment in these areas will continue, but Investments in other sectors may be more cautious.
Many people’s investment in Metaverse is still stuck in the acquisition of Oculus for US$2 billion in 2014, but in fact, with the development of the VR business, the real money invested by Meta has already increased by an order of magnitude.
Image source: Visual China
According to the financial report, in 2021, Meta’s virtual reality division, Reality Labs, has a total revenue of about $2.3 billion and a net loss of nearly $10.2 billion; in the first half of 2022, the total revenue was only about $1.15 billion, but the net loss was as high as $5.77 billion.
In terms of spending, Meta has spent nearly $20 billion on the Metaverse over the past year and a half. But objectively speaking, although Meta has invested a lot of money in the metaverse business, it is not surprising that VR lags behind traditional game consoles and PC games in terms of picture quality, because rendering a virtual space that the human eye can see. The amount of graphics calculation is much larger than a 2D screen. Even so, Horizon Worlds hasn’t fared well, especially when Meta has spent tens of billions of dollars on Metaverse projects.
For this point, Oculus former CTO John Carmack has publicly questioned many times: Meta invested heavily in virtual reality labs (Reality Labs), and the rate of return was much lower than expected.
On August 5, in a conversation with MIT AI researcher Lex Fridman, Carmack expressed his doubts again: “I have a hard time understanding why I invested $10 billion, and I feel uncomfortable when I think about the money spent.” He believes that Meta’s efficiency in VR research and development should be 2 to 4 times more efficient than it is now. And, he also questioned the price increase of Meta Quest 2.
This isn’t the first time Carmack has not been bullish on Meta’s existing line. At the Facebook Connect conference in October 2021, he expressed his disapproval of the technical architecture and ideas of Meta’s development with the goal of realizing the metaverse.
He believes that building the metaverse infrastructure is not actually the best way to bring the metaverse to users, given the existing technology and supply chain level of GPU microarchitecture, merging shared networks, etc. “because I worry that we might spend Years and thousands of people, what you end up with doesn’t really contribute much to the way people actually use devices and hardware today.”
Michael Abrash, the current chief scientist of Meta’s virtual reality department, also expressed that, in order for Meta to lead to a virtual reality that can be “real”, there are still some technical problems to be solved, especially graphics computing power. After all, VR puts forward higher requirements for visual presentation.
Obviously, with the current level of computing power, Meta has invested heavily in the deployment of a large-scale metaverse platform at this stage, which is destined to be high investment and low return. In fact, at the current stage, games are still more realistic choices. At least from the perspective of user-perceived experience, “Beat Saber”, “Minecraft VR” and “Superhot” can make them experience the charm of virtual reality.