Skepticism, Confusion, Frustration: Inside Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse Struggles
Last Updated on: 11th October 2022, 04:20 pm
Meta, formally known as Facebook, has bet big on virtual reality spaces being the next big thing. Unfortunately, it’s having a hard time convincing its own employees to be equally enthused, with few spending much time in Horizon Worlds, according to leaked internal memos seen by The Verge.
“For many of us, we don’t spend that much time in Horizon and our dogfooding dashboards show this pretty clearly,” wrote Meta’s VP of Metaverse, Vishal Shah, in a memo to the team on September 15. “Dogfooding” means using your own products or services to ensure quality.
Given the VR space’s potential, it’s not surprising that Meta wants employees to spend more time in its virtual worlds. However, according to Shah’s memo, few are actually engaging in this activity.
“For us, it’s clear that we need to do more to get people engaged and spending more time in Horizon Worlds,” Shah wrote. “We think that building a more engaged and active community is ultimately the key to our success.”
Meta is hoping to change this by increasing the amount of time employees spend in the VR world and by encouraging them to share their experiences with others. However, it’s unclear if this strategy will be successful.
It’s been a little over two months since Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg penned a memo pleading for his employees to spend more time in VR. But despite his best efforts, it seems as though the magic of VR is lost on many of his employees.
In a recent memo, Facebook CTO Shahrzad Sharifi explains that the company’s efforts to get employees to use VR have not been successful. “The aggregate weight of papercuts, stability issues, and bugs is making it too hard for our community to experience the magic of Horizon,” Sharifi writes.
Zuckerberg’s plea for employees to spend more time in VR evidently fell on deaf ears, as another memo dated September 30 promises to “hold managers accountable” for making their teams use Horizon at least once a week.
Everyone in this organization should make it their mission to fall in love with Horizon Worlds.
You can’t do that without using it. Get in there. Organize times to do it with your colleagues or friends, in both internal builds and also the public build so you can interact with our community.
Horizon Worlds is an amazing platform that has the potential to change the way we work and play. But right now, it falls short in a lot of ways.
Our onboarding experience is confusing and frustrating for users. Employees should be keen to introduce new users to top-notch worlds that will ensure their first visit is a success.
It’s not surprising that the person whose job it is to make the metaverse the future is evangelical in pushing for more people to use it internally. After all, this is the man who believes that the metaverse is the future and that it will be a massive money spinner.
However, it does speak to a wider problem with betting the house on the Metaverse as the next big moneyspinner after Facebook. If the company really was on to the next big thing in computing, then it shouldn’t have to “hold managers accountable” for usage – it would be natural.
I’ve been skeptical of the metaverse ever since I first heard of it. Back when my former employers made the switch to Slack, I was one of the few who resisted. I loved the email system, and I didn’t want to give it up.
But eventually, we all embraced Slack. It was easy, intuitive, and actually quite fun. It doesn’t sound like the same is true for the metaverse at this point.
Will it ever be the future of communication? I’m a touch skeptical. I bought a Meta Quest 2 and absolutely love it for how quick and easy it is to launch fun VR experiences. Despite that, it took me well over a year to get through the brilliant Half-Life: Alyx because of the hassle of making sure everything was charged, clearing a space, and putting on the headset for an extended session.
And that was for something fun! For meetings… well, can’t we just book a room? I’d need a pretty compelling reason to don a VR headset for work and, bluntly, it doesn’t sound like the company has much other than vague promises that it might be the future if only employees would try a bit harder to love it.