Facebook’s Horizon world is a broken supermarket filled with utopian games

Mark Zuckerberg has a lofty vision of the metaverse: a persistent and constantly connected online digital space where people can hang out and play games together, and he considers it “the successor to mobile internet”, including an “internet embodiment”. virtual social presence. In fact, overwhelming virtual sexual harassment was an issue in Meta’s (formerly known as Facebook) first stab at the metaverse: Horizon Worlds. About that, Vivek Sharma, vice president of Horizon Worlds, said The Verge that the beta tester who reported the incident may not have used the metaverse’s authorized safety feature called the “Safe Zone”, which will prevent her from being touched, talked to, or interacted with. work.

Contrary to his ambitions, it’s a remarkable sign — and a dismal first impression — of what Zuckerberg’s metaverse really will be now and in the foreseeable future. When it comes to Facebook itself, Meta is notoriously secretive about its moderation efforts — and this seems like a feature the company will be entering into this virtual universe. Starting in September 2019 as an invite-only beta, Horizon Worlds is Meta’s free-to-play virtual reality playground where users can relax in their own Horizon Home, explore multiple user-generated virtual worlds and play games with friends, with themselves represented by animated VR avatars. The platform was finally released in the US and Canada last year on December 9. What about the game? Currently, you can play a number of user-generated games such as Arena Clash (laser tag), Retro Zombies (zombie themed shooter), and Pixel Plummet (battle royale), as well as shooters and slideshows. acting differently — just mimicking existing video games in our physical world.

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But according to early impressions of the universe, Horizon Worlds is not a utopia, and more of a cluster of incomplete, malfunctioning experiences. The games aren’t particularly groundbreaking and, in fact, pretty rough and rough around the edges. There aren’t many worlds or places to visit, which is to be expected since Horizon Worlds is newly launched, but this also makes the virtual world feel rather small. More worrisome is the potential for harassment and a host of other social media ills — the very issues that are being propagated on Facebook, and which Zuckerberg has ignored in order to focus on his sublime dreams. me. Regarding the incident of sexual harassment by a beta tester, a Bloomberg journalist also mentioned that Horizon Worlds was a difficult experience for her as a woman; An avatar approached her, their loud voices ringing in her ears as if they were whispering. While some safety measures were in place, the lack of space etiquette made her uncomfortable. Apparently there are children who have not been discriminated against by shouting obscenities. It seems likely that disinformation and hate speech, issues where Facebook has been involved in disseminating and then quickly washing hands, may well become a hallmark of Horizon Worlds.

Horizon Worlds voodoo

With all that is being shared about Horizon Worlds, it’s hard to imagine other users, other than hardcore VR enthusiasts, would want to explore the social media giant’s new digital world like how. Although extremely early — and possibly premature — claims that 2022 will be year of the metaverse, it’s hard to see this far-fetched dream come true. For gamers, there’s already an array of VR and online games that are more tantalizing than the meager fare Horizon Worlds is offering. At the same time, Facebook has a less well-known history with games; I’m not sure who’s still playing games on Facebook, and I can’t imagine how better games will end up being hosted on Horizon Worlds. And for others who are tired of the rampant misinformation and harassment that has taken place on social media across our devices and desktops, it makes no sense to wanted to escape from a fractured online universe where the same problems would most likely continue to occur.

So who was Zuckerberg’s metaverse created for? Like Square Enix, which is probably a corporate reality that only investors and venture capitalists are looking for. And for himself, of course – it’s another realm for him to escape from, until he finds a new, imagined frontier to break into.

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