I don’t want to begin this piece by disparaging Mark Zuckerberg personally because his eyes have been called “two odd little black marbles” and “empty, black shark eyes” in the past. Who wouldn’t appear completely soulless after attempting to explain the internet to the US Senate? I also don’t need to say that Mark Zuckerberg might actually be a robot because the joke already has its own meme community. I’m holding off on these simple, blatant dunks on Zuckerberg since his most recent “metaverse” selfie is so embarrassing, he’s already owned himself more forcefully than I could.
Zuckerberg said he’s “looking forward to seeing people explore and develop immersive worlds” in the VR “metaverse” in a post on Facebook earlier this week that included a screenshot from Meta’s Horizon Worlds (opens in new tab). The screenshot is egregiously terrible, not simply bad. Ironic clipart is terrible. It is so awful that anyone who wasn’t a wealthy CEO would be dismissed right away. The only thing Meta has to show for its $10 billion investment in building whatever the hell it’s doing with the metaverse last year is a baby-doll-faced Zuckerberg hovering in front of a little Eiffel Tower.
Technollama, a writer, pointed out on Twitter that a side-by-side comparison of Second Life in 2007 and Horizon Worlds in 2022 does not do Zuck any favors.
The unflattering comparison to the PlayStation vehicle combat game Twisted Metal from 1996 also fails to convince.
I personally wouldn’t promote my ground-breaking new software with a photo next to something that was invented 15 years earlier if I were the millionaire founder of one of the richest firms in the world. Who the hell would skip all that to look at a 10-foot-tall Eiffel Tower in Second Life when it already includes furries, early-aughts goth haircuts, and the 2007 Scion xB?
Perhaps the goal is to lower expectations with dead-eyed virtual selfies so that when Meta does reveal something significant as a result of that $10 billion investment, mediocrity will appear to be a significant advancement. This plan does not seem to be a good one to me. Fortnite is over here just casually being the pop culture metaverse people genuinely want, while virtual Zuckerberg is stuck trying to communicate a single human emotion. You didn’t have to spend so much money, Zuck.