back to article Zuck didn't invent the metaverse, but he's started a fight to control it

The further we get from the sudden and spectacular pivot-and-rename of Facebook, the more it looks like the most spectacularly ill-conceived business decision of the 21st century. Facebook was already not only a radioactive brand but also teetering on the edge. The former because regulators are closing in, the latter because …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "a holographic interface for WebEx"

    Dear me, the sheer number of man-hours that are being tallied for useless dredge like this must be mind-boggling.

    And it's not holographic. You're looking at a screen. We've been pretending 3D for decades now, that's all it is.

    Holographic is like in Star Wars : you're at your seat and the holograph of some other person appears in another seat, but you are not wearing a headset, you're looking at it with your own eyes.

    That kind of conference room ain't for tomorrow.

    1. Porco Rosso

      Re: "a holographic interface for WebEx"

      Amazing - Aerosmith (November 1993)

      Amazing that after 28 it still a niche product .

      Zuckerberg should have had the gallantry to invited Miss A. Silverstone to introduce that Metaverse concept of him with the song of Aerosmith on the background.

    2. sebacoustic

      Re: "a holographic interface for WebEx"

      "holography" is used a lot in wishy-washy terms, there is no such thing as a "moving" hologram, or a colour one for that matter.

  2. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

    "Holographic is like in Star Wars"

    If so, here's hoping someone can retrofit a restraining bolt onto Zuckertwat.

    1. Kane

      "If so, here's hoping someone can retrofit a restraining bolt onto Zuckertwat."

      Carbonite is the only way forward.

    2. Stoneshop


      If so, here's hoping someone can retrofit a restraining bolt onto Zuckertwat.

      The biggest hurdle will be getting access to the twerp, after that it's a matter of having a beefy drill[0] with a long enough titanium carbide drill bit[1], a long enough bolt and associated washers and nuts, and a place to hang the trophy.

      Between the eyes looks to be the best place to drill, front to back, although after that you'll find the bolt being necessary only if you want to display the result.

      [0] preferably cordless, so you don't have to hunt around for a wall socket but can get about the business right away

      [1] lesser materials or blunt tips will just take longer, which may or may not matter to you

      1. Ian 3

        Re: Easy

        I reckon top-of-head through to taint, would be better. stronger structural skull support and you could bolt them to a chair, rather than just walls and floors, and less torso wriggling. I know he's awful, but we should consider his comfort a little bit.

      2. Pseudonymous Clown Art

        Re: Easy

        Somebody needs to talk to his parents to have them sort him out.

        On the strength of that I've written a strongly worded letter to the support team at Boston Dynamics, hopefully it'll reach the software team who can patch him.

      3. Robert D Bank

        Re: Easy

        just send the cnut to outer pace on Bezo's rock and jetison him into the 'verse.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Big Z's Walled Universe?

    What if Zarniwoop had built an entire alternate Universe in his office, but nobody came?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Big Z's Walled Universe?

      I'm afraid you can't do that, Dave, office is already trademarked. And so is the Universe...

  4. Chris G

    I think Zuck should be allowed to have his own prrsonal metaverse where he can create trillions of friends, governments to be rude to and robots to play cards with.

    Then quietly leave him to it and close the door on the way out, so that he can get on with his toxic existence without obstacles or the need to obey laws.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Please can he be locked-up in there with only Boris Johnson to keep him company.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: *'anchorite?

        I can't quite decide to whom that would be more cruel :)

        1. SCP

          Re: *'anchorite?

          The great thing about uncertainty is that unless you look into that universe, you don't have to decide - they would be in a superposition of quantum states in which both outcomes are possible.

          1. Falmari Silver badge

            Re: *'anchorite?

            @SCP So would that be meta Schrödinger's cat or Schrödinger's meta cat ;)

            Edit or maybe meta Schrödinger's meta cat.

            1. SCP

              Re: *'anchorite?

              I think cats are way too self-centred to be found dead or alive in a meta-universe that is not entirely about them.

      2. Roger Kynaston

        Re: *'anchorite?

        Just add the retired businessman from Florida and the "little flu" from Brasilia and you have the perfect quartet.

      3. veti Silver badge

        Re: *'anchorite?

        He can have as much company as he can make. No problem with that.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      He already lives in his own metaverse...that's why he comes off as not being human. He simply wants to grant access to it so we can see the world as coldly and blandly as he sees it.

    3. Julz

      Hum, The meta Fletcher memorial home for incurable tyrants and kings.

  5. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    Oculus was a nice company. Then Facebook bought it, spent loads to make it more sleek, and improve the hardware (to some degree) and sell units relatively cheaply. Then they forced you to link usage to a Facebook account. Then they started to abandon their hardware (even the current model has many unresolved bugs), because, unlike Oculus, they don't really have to care about their grassroots. The end game is to make everyone live with a stupid VR headset on them all day long. I only wanted it for gaming, like most sane people. But Zucker isn't sane.

    1. Boothy

      Yup, I remember when the purchase was announced, myself and many others thought, well that's the end of Oculus as we know it!

      I owned the DK2 at the time, and was planning on getting one of the 'proper' released versions, but once the FB purchase was announced I decided not to bother, eventually getting a Steam/HTC Vive instead, more costly but arguable a more capable device (e.g. full 360, although lenses could have been a little better).

      I also remember Oculus and FB announcing at purchase time they'd run Oculus independently, not interfere, and never integrate it with FB. Many including myself, didn't believe this at all, and we all know where that ended up!

      I remember a while back someone doing a tear down of one of the newer Oculus models that came out after the FB purchase, and working out they were likely being sold at a loss. The assumption at the time seemed to be that they wanted to outsell the arguably better technically, but much more expensive (as in twice the price) Valve devices, especially the Index when that came out, and that FB would make up for the loss later my monetising the Oculus users more directly.

      Such as shame, as the original Oculus company, seemed to be so forward thinking, and interesting.

      1. genghis_uk

        As someone who has ben using a Quest for a couple of years on an Oculus Developer account, I am waiting for it to be turned into a brick when Facebook withdraw support as I do not have a social media account (next year, I think). If they insist on having an account for future hardware (as they do for Q2), they are going to miss out on a lot of technically gifted people as a large number refuse to have anything to do with them.

        As for Meta, I have seen what happens in the current multiplayer apps - from personal experience EchoVR is great fun but can be totally ruined by kids being assholes.

        Then, if you look at the reviews for Venues and the other social apps, they have one thing in common - lots of complaints about people being harassed, kids playing up etc. Rude, shouty youngsters (and I meant sub 14 not just teens) are a problem now - what will this be like when you add the rest of the facebook GenPop? Luckily, VR is still niche enough that most of the idiots are not on there (a bit like mid-90's internet), but that would change with Meta. If we think abuse on FB and Twitter is a problem now, just imagine how much fun it will be to have a racist bigot shouting at you in person while you try to remember the commands for 'mute'

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Mute? Mute?

          What's the point of a metaverse if you can't have "disembowel" on a hotkey?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I agree. Is PornHub technically a gaming site though?

    3. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      Oculus was a nice company.

      Apart from that whole "never actually produced a viable product" thing.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Truly we live in the worst timeline when we can have an article unironically titled "The Metaverse Wars" be about something that's actually happening, and it's about *this*

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A virtual war over a non-existent virtual world.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    O Come All Ye Faithful

    cause my metaverse is better than their metaverse!

  8. Alan Bourke

    As someone said on Twitter:

    Sci-Fi Author: In my book I invented the Torment Nexus as a cautionary tale.

    Tech Company: Finally we have created the Torment Nexus, as imagined in the sci-fi novel Don't Create The Torment Nexus.

  9. IGotOut Silver badge

    Fun fact

    Johnny Mnemonic is set in 2021.

    Its where people almost live in a virtual internet, controlled by mega corps who are after info in the main characters brain.

    Welcome to the Meta verse.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fun fact

      That explains the sheer number of people that quote Wikipedia as the one and only source of factual information. They aren't doing it because they're right, they're doing it because it's stored in their heads.

  10. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    The multiverse

    Where it is closed due to virtue signalling failure.

  11. 502 bad gateway
    Big Brother

    Goody, goody

    One step closer to Sarah Connors nightmare coming true, and skynet ... I mean metaverse taking over

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



    We are writing to notify you that your unlawful use of 'metaverse' (herein after 'The WORK') infringes upon our client's exclusive copyright...

  13. Howard Sway Silver badge

    The Metaverse is giving me Segway vibes

    Remember how this fantastic mysterious thing was going to be more revolutionary than the internet and change the world forever, hyped up beyond all reason, and then when the thing actually appeared it caused mass hysterics and an entire world going "Seriously - that's it?".

    Obviously, not enough people do remember, as I suspect the same reaction is highly probable when metaverse version 1 is finally unveiled.

    1. Blank Reg

      Re: The Metaverse is giving me Segway vibes

      There is little chance of this being revolutionary, except perhaps when shareholders revolt over the excessive costs and low uptake.

      We had Second Life almost 20 years ago, Playstation Home about a dozen years ago, and others less well known. This will be better, but revolutionary? Not likely.

      And having worked on VR/AR for about 5 years I can tell you it's easy to impress people with it, much harder to get them to buy and use it on a regular basis.

      1. Denarius

        Re: The Metaverse is giving me Segway vibes

        Blank Reg: Indeed. What problem does it solve is still a useful assessment tool for any tech. With the Great Job Quitting phenomena is USA, Tree Changing on Oz , Lying Flat and other culturally equivalent behaviours elsewhere I get the impression that technoUtopia visions are losing their allure. More people just want a quiet life unhassled by thieving companies, lying kleptomaniac pollies and thousands of feral rules makers at all levels of government

    2. Steve K

      Re: The Metaverse is giving me Segway vibes

      I remember - people seriously posted about it being an antigravity device….

      1. Blank Reg

        Re: The Metaverse is giving me Segway vibes

        last week we had people in Texas waiting for a dead guy to come back to life. anti gravity seems far more likely

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Metaverse is giving me Segway vibes

      Segway did change the world forever...before Segway there were no videos of people falling off Segways.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: The Metaverse is giving me Segway vibes

        The Segway scooters are/were a neat idea that needed a lower price and more space to park. I see them as a great last mile bit of transportation to get from the train station to the office. What it would take is secure storage at the train station so you didn't need to take it on the train each day and secure storage at work/shops.

        I have friends with them and after 5 minutes I was zipping around like I was born to it. Very intuitive. There are other applications where they work great and replace more cumbersome electric work carts/golf carts. As I get older, the less riding a bike or walking a long distance is an option. I would like to get an eBike at some point especially with petrol going through the roof again.

  14. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    Wel written article

    Pretty excoriating for Zuck, but I can't say he doesn't deserve it, richly so.

  15. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    But do we get flying dildo like Second Life?

    1. a pressbutton

      coming soon

      ... Apple Iprod

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        New and improved! The iLdo! :P

    2. .stu

      I think Jeff Bezo's got that covered.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The last thing this world needs is Zuk's Crackbook laying out the standards for how this is all going to work. The one thing you can guarantee about anything THEY come up with is it will be designed to inject ads into every scene you render...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Because you mentioned metaverse...

    1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge

      Re: Because you mentioned metaverse...

      I raise you

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Because you mentioned metaverse...

        "I raise you"

        What next, minecraft?

  18. heyrick Silver badge

    If we're going to another 'verse

    Please allow me to be the first to say:

    Bossmang kaka felota!

  19. fuzzie

    Low hanging fruit first

    Zuck is not totally oblivious to the objections he might face from the other incumbent Big Techs. That's why he's been winding his way in through the back door. Everyone's been scrambling for the next billion users, hence the stampede and continual love-ins in India (and to a lesser extent Africa). Things like zero-rated facebooks/whatsapp access gets the unconnected online. And with heavily-subsided phones, for many of these, facebooks/whatsapp become "The Internet" much like AOL and CompuServe used to be in the dial-up world. They've already integrated with India's national payment platform. You can do c2c and c2b (and probably b2b) through it. No need for pesky EMV or Libra/Diem. And facebook Pay is happening. More recently they've been carpet bombing businesses to get them onto WhatsApp business. They'd host the entire customer support, etc infrastructure for free and charge only per message. That's a very compelling proposition. I've seen many business now, even the large established corporates, lead with WhatsApp contact details. Sure, they promises end-to-end encryption of messages, but WhatsApp doesn't care about that. They score boat loads of meta data about who's talking/shopping with/etc who. Frankly, they might have/get a better view of the economy and its networks than the tax authorities.

    tl;dr: The magic bullet here is the network effect. And building that network is always easier from the large "wild west" markets were they have little competition and relatively weak legislation and regulators.

    1. Denarius

      Re: Low hanging fruit first

      fuzzie: most interesting and worrying. I hope India is less forgiving than Merks when Zucks mob misrepresent themselves.

  20. SodiumChloride

    It will look like this

    Futurama said so.

  21. TheGriz

    The artist formerly known as Facebook, would have gotten a lot more PR bang for their buck, if they HAD NAMED themselves. . . SKYNET. LOL can you imagine?

    No one would have scoffed as badly as we all did when they introduced the name META, FFS, I could have given them a more imaginative name, and for a lot less than they paid some PR firm a HUGE amount of wasted cash to do for them.

    1. Systems Analyst

      Interestingly, Skynet was a real UK military communication satellite system in the past.

      On the other hand, Intel was a fictional rogue electronics corporation, which stole the design for a computer, built by a UK government establishment, to a design received by Jodrell Bank radio telescope from the Andromeda nebula. See Fred Hoyle's "A for Andromeda".

      The names of other rogue corporations come to mind, but you have to go a long way to beat the Honourable East India Company, which took over India, using its own private army.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Skynet is still going

        Skynet 5 isn't scheduled to be retired until 2022 according to:

        Skynet 6 is still supposed to get built too apparently.

  22. Tree

    MetaWorld Peace

    Wasn't there a slightly demented basketball player with that name who snuggled up to the Little Potbellied Nork dictator? Zuck needs to change his name, too.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thus began the land grab on anything and everything with the prefix "meta"...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re. meta-prefix

      and the word does carry a couple of extra meanings. In Hebrew, something along the lines of 'death', in Polish... well, two meanings at least, one fairly gentle on facebook, i.e., 'finish line', second, slang, for a run down apartment where local bums pop in for ad hoc drinking sessions, and the upper end of 'bar selection' there is based around the cheapest booze, while the main one is more... experimental (and deadly). One short word, so much fun!

    2. Anonymous South African Coward Bronze badge

      Thus began the land grab on anything and everything with the prefix "meta"...

      Expropriation without compensation...

  24. Mr Dogshit

    Obligatory Commitstrip

    1. Anonymous South African Coward Bronze badge

      Re: Obligatory Commitstrip

      I'm getting CommitStrip withdrawal symptoms...

  25. BrownishMonstr

    Do we need passports? What's the rules on immigration, and asylum seekers from other metaverse?

    More importantly, will our passports be blue and produced in France?

  26. Anonymous South African Coward Bronze badge

    Space Invaders remake

    now Metaverse Invaders

    Plot still remains the same, except the aliens have been replaced by icons for fartbook, m$, cisco et al.

  27. MachDiamond Silver badge

    It ain't got that swing

    When the technology is in place to mimic Snowcrash or Ready Player One, that's when the Metaverse can be made real. Until then, it's just marketing to keep "growth" in double digits or the stock will crash (again).

    Microsoft has a long tradition of announcing products they never bring to market. It's a tactical thing with them if they think there may be a large amount of cash burning holes in people's pockets. Until they release something and it's competent enough to be useful, don't believe anything they say.

    1. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

      Re: It ain't got that swing

      "When the technology is in place to mimic Snowcrash or Ready Player One, that's when the Metaverse can be made real."

      That was what shocked me about this "Meta" stuff, the low quality of the graphics.

      Second Life already has areas with Ready Player One-quality graphics (it varies of course, since everything is user-supplied you have areas that were designed in 2005 or earlier, and it shows.) This has not helped their user figures really.

      The technology to do that is here now, it's just a matter of finding any practical use to get people to want to use it, and I don't see what that use case is. For example, people already do video chats with multiple users in their little boxes, and if they want it to look whimsical they have trick backgrounds and filters; I have heard no desire from actual people (as opposed to Zuckerberg et al. trying to drum up interest) saying they'd rather be wearing VR goggles to pretend they're in a meeting room or some other shared space instead.

  28. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge


    Just want to mention, again, that Sadville ("Second Life") has been around for something like 15 years. If one wants to see where an open-ended VR type system can end up, take a look there. FYI, their main income is porn & online gambiling; but also anything else you'd expect.... there's like 1000s of square clicks of space in there, with a mix of still-active areas, abandoned areas that have been turned back into a natural-looking environment (forest, plains or prairie, snow prairie, desert), other abandoned areas where they buldings and such were left up. There's a wide variety of stuff in there, a nice space museum, car racing, tours,

    skiing areas, some areas that are built just to be scenice; I saw a full-scale deathstar just floating above some areas, and on and on.

    Originally when subscribership declined, they began turning off mainland sims... but realized 1) It'd look pretty screwy to have a "continent" with all these holes in it... and 2) Originally every sim was on a dedicated machine, shutting down abandoned sims would be a direct cost saving. But by the time their population peaked and began to decline, they were running multiple sims on a single machine, and realized they could simply shut down sims with nobody in them... they fire up if anyone goes in or near the sim and I suppose shut down after some minutes with nobody in it.

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