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Facebook's metaverse is the solution to a non-existent problem

Horizon Worlds.jpeg

Facebook is going all-in on the metaverse, even changing their company name to Meta. And their first major entry into the space is called Horizon Worlds. I spent some time in the metaverse this week to see if I could figure it out.

You can enter Horizon Worlds on an Oculus Quest VR headset. Maybe I’m just getting too old to ‘get’ it, but Horizon seems like the worst way to accomplish just about everything it sets out to accomplish. The coolest thing you can do is build and populate your own spaces, but the tools to do this seem basic compared to Horizon’s main competitors, Rec Room and VR Chat. One of the first things I tried was a “VR Experience” narrated by David Attenborough, but this ended up basically being a big-screen movie, except with other people there to scream and ruin the experience. There are communal rooms that remind me of AOL chat rooms of the 90s, except with poorer moderation. The few moderators I did see online were women that were constantly getting sexually harassed by young boys using language that made me blush.

Speaking of kids, I ran into a lot of them in Horizon. And despite the fact that the user agreement says you must be at least 18 to use the service, I ran into several kids openly announcing their age, the youngest only 10 years old. There is a way to report bad behavior, but it is so transient that the offender can be gone by the time you pull up the tool to do so.

The metaverse seems to be the solution for a problem nobody has. I didn’t see anything there that made me want to stay in the metaverse, and I’m in no hurry to make a return trip.

Samuel McConnell is a games enthusiast who has been playing games in one form or another since 1991. He was born in northern Maine but quickly transplanted to Wichita.