back to article Chip makers aren't all-in on metaverse hardware yet – we should know, we asked them

Is the Facebook-driven metaverse opportunity for real? Chip makers seemingly have more important things to worry about than a concept that could either take off or emerge as the Myspace of virtual reality. Facebook, as a corporation, last week rebranded itself Meta, and is betting its future around a metaverse, or a large …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "the metaverse opportunity"

    It's not an opportunity yet.

    It's based on VR goggles, and there is no model today that can allow you to wear it for hours without any sort of discomfort. Not to mention that it can make some people physically sick.

    In order for this "metaverse" to actually take off and interest people, the industry is going to have to tackle the primary issue : the goggles are heavy and not comfortable to wear for long periods of time. I wouldn't be surprised if VR goggles put a strain on the eyes, but never having tried any personally, I can't vouch for that.

    VR goggles are going to have to become much lighter, which is going to be impossible to do if rendering is done in the goggles. If rendering is to be done at a central server, then the goggles might become lighter by an appreciable amount, but there will be lag issues that can be more or less annoying.

    Add to that the fact that there will be no privacy around this : if you are to be known for work, it's under your name and, once your equipment has been tagged to your identity, that will probably not go away even you invent another avatar.

    I've never been interested in VR, so I would take a pass on this even if The Zuck was not involved.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: "the metaverse opportunity"

      There are some intermediate options inbetween 'all processing done on headset' and 'all processing done on central server'. Processing could be done on a device carried by the user, or by a machine in the same room or building without appreciable lag (the thing about light is that it's fast. Really fast. Etc)

      I have no interest in this Facebook Meta project. Hopefully Apple's upcoming ARVR project will deprive Facebook of an initial commanding market share in any 'metaverse'. Apple have the reputation, silicon, and the in-depth approach to offer something better Facebook. Even Apple's graphic APIs are currently a good fit for foveated rendering, using defferred tile-based rendering as they do.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "the metaverse opportunity"

      Metaverse Opportunity means more time to burgle your house while you are oblivious to my presence.

    3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: "the metaverse opportunity"

      Q: What do the words 'Zuck" and "Meta" have in common?

      A: They are both 4-letter words.

      Zuck is building a sewer. The sooner he gets flushed away the better.

      Failing that... sent to Sing-sing for life for crimes against humanity.

  2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    It's going to be awfully quiet

    back here in the real world, when all the cool kids have moved the metaverse.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: It's going to be awfully quiet

      Well yeah, VR headsets are a better match for headphones... but the there'll be occasion THUMP arghDAMNthathurt as someone trips over a coffee table or cat.

      Meow! Well you shouldn't have been sitting there should you!!

      Okay, VR goggles for cats. I'm now eliciting round one investment to develop this concept. Please send money. Please don't send cats.

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: when all the cool kids

      have been assimilated into the Borg and are lost to society forever.

      Zuck wants to create an army of zombie warriors so that he can take over the world and become Emperor Zuck the First.

  3. xyz123 Silver badge

    Ever noticed just how many anti-VR people say stuff like the above "but never having tried any personally"....

    Perhaps TRY the technology before announcing its dead / too heavy / damages your eyes etc.

    No-one gets away with saying "this car I've never driven, seen or ever been inside of is horrible to drive"....why should they get away with it just because its VR?

    Just the typical "sheet music / radio / books / TV / Dancing / rock music / computers / Streaming Services / Internet" will make our children into ravenous murderous perverts nonsense all over again

    1. Valeyard

      I've tried it, my office has a set in the breakroom and it's pretty cool... for games and entertainment

      would i fork out for 2x it and all the accompanying hardware and space requirements just so my wife and i can get zoom++ for work? zuck's living in fairy land

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        I can see some good productivity applications for AR/VR, but the current stuff looks like Windows XP Tablet Edition hardware... I only ever saw one XPTE machine in the wild, strapped to the arm of a hard-hatted surveyor in the middle of a city.

        The tech - lower power processers, more suitable OS and UI etc - wasn't quite ready for the masses. Now of course iPads and even touchscreen Windows machines are everywhere.

        Also: fuck Facebook.

        1. J. Cook Silver badge

          XPTE was... not terrible. I used one a few times at [RedactedCo] when I was tracking down printers that were not where they were supposed to be, because some chucklehead decided to swap it for a broken one and put the broken one back on the shelf. :( The units themselves were bought for a marketing project, played with, and returned back to us as "we tried it, we didn't like it."

          I can see applications and uses for augmented reality sets- repair manuals stored on appropriately ruggedized device, and a wearable headset (like one of the hated Google Glass devices) to project the appropriate page of the repair manual or steps for the repair for the machine you are working on in front of you instead of having to rely on a worn, dirt-stained paper manual. Pokemon Go was a pretty slick AR app as well.

          With luck, the tech will get better if it ever really takes off. We just need more than the two companies to really work on developing the hardware for it.

          And yeah, f&*k facebook.

    2. Joe W Silver badge

      The first three paragraphs are good. I can totally get that. Would I try VR (again)? Yeah, sure. Tried it a decade or so ago, times have changed, technology has improved etc. Would I spend a lot of money on the hardware to try it and then decide that I'm good? No way.

      Then there's the last paragraph... good grief!

      It's one thing to call rock music the work of the devil, and there's the other thing of not wanting a company that constantly and blatantly violates privacy laws, nay is even built around the violation of those laws, to have your data.

      Plus we had something like that, it was called "second life" and was hyped quite a bit. And then the flying dongs happened... (I'm not saying the "metaverse" won't work, but precedence shows it to be tricky to keep it sort of civilised[*]).

      [*] ah, my bad, in the article they mention it to "be a collaborative effort like the internet", like the intelligence of crowds (Zappa had to say something about that, specifically about "movements"). So it is doomed.

      1. ibmalone

        Indeed, the whole idea sounds very one-size-fits-all. Rock concert? Maybe, they've done it in fortnite, but once you've done a few bobbing around alongside other avatars it's all going to get samey, and you're still listening on the same tinny speakers. Cinema? You go to a cinema for completely different reasons, we've been able to watch movies at home for decades, we can now watch pretty much whatever we want, cinemas are still open. Doctor's appointment? Remote consultations are more common now, sure, but they need to look at your actual rash or whatever, your cartoon avatar is pretty useless for diagnosis.

        What a lot of this favours is companies with the clout to employ the big teams needed to create 'experiences'. From nvidia's point of view it sells chips.

    3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: why should they get away with it just because its VR?

      Wrong argument.

      Nobody says any such thing about a car they've never been in.

      VR has two things that you do not need to have tried to know about : it has a bulky headset and it requires a lot of power. There's also the fact that the visuals are a far cry from what I can see on my PC screen (from published screengrabs on the Web).

      Here's a list of other things I know about and have no intention of trying :

      giving a blowjob

      getting sodomized

      being thrown in jail

      I don't need to TRY them before having an opinion on these things. I know enough about them already.

      Also, I note that you are not contradicting anything I said.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: Try it first?

      Just because you can walk out into the road and get run down by a hundred cars does not mean you should.

      Like many here, I have zero desire to touch (with an 80ft barge pole) anything from Zuck Inc.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rebranding yourself Meta

    Self-referential twaddle.

    1. gotes

      Re: Rebranding yourself Meta

      The whole thing stinks of marketing BS.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Omniverse is a technology layer focused on connecting and building physically accurate virtual worlds or “digital twins” to help solve the world's hardest engineering and science problems,"

    So they're going to be building FTL engines, curing disease, and cleaning-up the trash in the ocean? All with their VR headsets? Yeah, they better stay in VR land then, the real world is going to continue exactly as planned, and will ignore what their fancy goggles are showing them.

    1. Naselus

      tbh, if Facebook is running it then any 'Virtual World' tey create will end up looking like The Purge within about 3 weeks

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On Thursday Nvidia Market Value increased by equivalent of half Intels market value

    Intel has big problems but it does have most of its (second rate) fabs more than a stones throw away from Chinese Military unlike its competitors.

    Nvidia is Brand + CUDA plus not much else. AMD presentation on Monday of rival non gaming products could be interesting.

  7. BloggsyMaloan

    A few years back, when that weird Aussie Wikileaks bloke was hiding in an embassy with all the stuff about sex trials, extradition, etc., it seemed to some people that the propoganda master plan had worked: instead of all the shady government sneakery being the big international story that it was becoming attention had been diverted to stories about the weird bloke.

    I wonder how Zuck-head's attempt to apply a similar strategy will play out. Until a month ago there were new stories every month about how Zuckbook was deliberately doing dastardly deeds that were even starting to piss off politicians of all parties. Now the press has been lured into stories about some VR omnishablesverse instead. Will people remember all the bad stuff that Zuck-head bases his business on? Or will they just think of the insignificant VR non-stories when his name is mentioned?

  8. DS999 Silver badge

    Whatever it ends up being

    Safe to say that Facebook will not be part of it. Zuck doesn't understand how much the under 25 set hates Facebook. Renaming them "Meta" isn't going to fool anyone.

    Zuck is so out of touch he ordered Instagram and Whatsapp to add Facebook branding a couple years ago, which clued in some of the younger people who were using those not realizing who owned them. He actually thought that would HELP, even though everyone under him was telling him it was a terrible idea. Presumably he was forced to admit Facebook is a toxic brand, hence the Meta rebrand, but that's like Google trying to hide behind Alphabet. No one will be fooled when Instagram suddenly replaces "Instagram by Facebook" with "Instagram by Meta" lol!

  9. Slx

    Why do I feel like this is like 2004 all over again ?

    I appreciate the technology has moved on a lot, but the demonstrations of the Metaverse I’m seeing are very, very reminiscent of Second Life - a platform with a diehard niche audience that was supposed to be the next big thing.

    The demonstration of someone using avatars at a virtual meeting has been done before and nobody really bought into it after the initial hype and it faded to niche use.

    When you add headsets, it’s just unnatural and uncomfortable and seems to just be far too intrusive.

    Good technology tends to disappear into the background, so useful things and work almost like magic. To me, VR is still extremely clunky and far more suited to game play than real world uses.

    When I’ve expressed scepticism about VR, I have found I’m dismissed as “old” or “not getting it”. I remain very underwhelmed by it and I won’t be holding my breath for a revolution, certainly based on current technology.

    Even simple immersive tech like 3D TV remains a bit of a gimmick, despite decades of promise.

    My view of it is that we are going to need practical holography before VR gets integrated into real life.

  10. ShadowSystems

    It's not "mixed", it's "Augmented".

    Augmented Reality is just that, Reality augmented with artificial/virtual items. There is no need to call it mixed when there's already a word that's accepted to describe it. Especially on a site for techies.

    Oh who the hell am I kidding? I'm obviously not the target market & too old to matter.

    Fuck Zuck. With a set of Meta VR goggles. Sideways. With a spin.

  11. RichardBarrell

    I kinda suspect it's immaterial to hardware vendors. All they need to do is put GPUs in phones and those are already in-demand anyway for applications like Candy Birds Angrily Crushing Clans.

    (Facebook delenda est.)

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