Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg may be enamored with the metaverse, but people who have to work in it have a decidedly different view.
Meta has been heavily investing in the metaverse, the next generation of immersive virtual and augmented reality. Zuckerberg has a vision of what he wants the metaverse to be, one that’s reminiscent of something straight out of Ready Player One.
Individuals actually trying to work in the metaverse are not so thrilled, citing issues and irritations that constantly get in the way.
“I am totally immersed in the metaverse, have a big headset on, and then I need to take off the Oculus, look on my phone for the two-factor authentication code that’s been sent to my phone, then memorize the number, put my headset back on, and try to key it in,” a junior manager at Accenture told Slate.
“But when you take off the Oculus it automatically goes to sleep mode, and I was trying to navigate the back-and-forth.”
Similarly, an Accenture manager told Slate that “over the past year, when our company rolled out a bunch of Oculus headsets to a large population to see how we might self-adopt the technology. I feel like we were guinea pigs in how the metaverse might be applied to more of a workplace social setting.”
In addition to the logistic issues involved in integrating the metaverse into a corporate workflow, there are also the physical limitations of the tech, with some users struggling to deal with debilitating side effects.
For example, Congress recently refused additional funds to secure more Microsoft HoloLens combat goggles for the US Army. Despite the Army’s desire to integrate the AR goggles, tests showed 80% of soldiers experienced “mission-affecting physical impairments” after less than three hours of use.
Accenture evidently experienced similar issues, with some individuals struggling with motion sickness. Still others struggled with learning new VR social customs, such as how close to stand to other individuals. There were also issues with the VR models not offering enough options to properly represent users.
“The body shapes that were available in the [AltspaceVR app] didn’t have characters that had breasts,” the Accenture manager told Slate.
Only time will tell if Meta’s vision ultimately achieves success, although many are unconvinced. One major meta investor has already urged the company to scale back the $10 to $15 billion a year it is investing in the metaverse.
“The company has announced investments of $10–15B per year into a metaverse project that largely includes AR / VR / immersive 3D / Horizon World and that it may take 10 years to yield results,” the investor wrote. “An estimated $100B+ investment in an unknown future is super-sized and terrifying, even by Silicon Valley standards.”