The company Meta, formerly known as Facebook, sparked some criticism after it opened its keynote “Horizon Worlds” virtual-reality (VR) platform to France and Spain last week. According to an article in Slate, new European users were disappointed in the graphics, to say the least. And judging by the screen shots provided in the article, they have a point. Adjectives like “bland,” “cartoonish,” and “slightly weird” come to mind. In common with many VR systems, only the upper bodies of human avatars appear. I’ve never understood the reason for this myself, but one user speculated that it was so that nobody online can have sex.
At any rate, it doesn’t sound like the French are going to start holding meetings of the Académie Française in Horizon Worlds any time soon. But Mark Zuckerberg can live without the Academy’s 40 members if he can get several million mere mortals to join.
Meta has put a huge chunk of its colossal resources into its metaverse venture, some US$13 billion, and you can be sure the firm is not doing that for fun. Its vision is that as internet bandwidth and access increase, you will be able to don a VR headset and basically live life online: working, playing, even exercising (I suppose, but this might present problems unless you’re doing it on some physical treadmill tied to your VR system). As for sex, there’s plenty of that on the internet already, so maybe Meta is staying out of that area purely for business reasons.