Mark Zuckerberg's soulless Metaverse avatar worries me about our digital future

Mark Zuckerberg’s soulless Metaverse avatar worries me about our digital future

A creepy image shows a large close-up of the head from a Zuckerberg cartoon.

Image: Meta / Kotaku

Metaverse” is a buzzword that has become quite popular in the past two years. Fortnite is a metaverse. Web3 and blockchain help power the metaverse. Could be cows will even be part of it? However, no one seems more invested in shaping our collective idea of ​​what the metaverse is than Meta and Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg. Unfortunately for anyone eager to experience our glorious virtual future, what Zuckerberg has shown of his vision of that future looks dull, boring, generic and really crappy. It also serves as a nice reminder that rich tech bros shouldn’t be in charge of the future.

Earlier this week, the alien-wearing-human-skin suit, known to us as Mark Zuckerberg posted a VR selfie from the metaverse project of his company, Horizon Worlds. The selfie showed the Eiffel Tower and was meant to announce that its metaverse is expanding to more countries. Instead, however, people immediately started dipping into the horrible picture, the ugly avatar, and how it all looked like it came out of a 2005 edutainment game.

And oddly enough, this isn’t the first time Zuck has shown off hideous avatars of himself in an attempt to lure people into his virtual reality-powered nightmare world.

A strange looking avatar with curly hair pumps the air in front of ruined houses.

Screenshot: Meta / Kotaku

Back in 2017Zuckerberg Demonstrated the VR App Facebook Rooms using an ugly avatar that vaguely resembled him, if the goal was to recreate the billionaire CEO as a slick, cartoonish avatar you might see in a fever dream. Oh and for some reason he decided the best way to show off this app and its horrible avatar was to visit Puerto Rico through a video after it was struck down by a powerful hurricane, thousands dead and destroying many of the island’s homes and businesses.

in 2021, ol’ Zuckie returned with an avatar that looked better than before. However, this avatar, which appeared in a video showing Facebook and Meta’s big metaverse plans, is not real. It was instead created as part of a larger concept video showing what Meta was working towards. Yet even this avatar looks like someone who fell off the Pool Express.

A digital Mark Zuckerberg stands next to other avatars in a beige-colored room.

Screenshot: Meta / Kotaku

And that brings us to 2022, where Zuckerberg’s avatar is a legless knock-off of a Nintendo Mii with some really weird buttons and the eyes of a corpse. And that’s not just how Zuckerberg looks, that’s how all avatars appear in Horizon Worlds. I’ve played enough Horizon Worlds to tell you that the missing legs will soon no longer matter. But the lack of style and the chilly, dead aesthetic never goes away.

Of course, part of the reason why these avatars and worlds look simple and ugly compared to modern video games is because of the limited VR hardware in Quest 2 and Facebook’s desire to create VR content that can run on as many devices as possible.

On the other hand, I can find Nintendo DS and Sony PS Vita games with better, nicer art and models than what we’ve seen in the Facebook metaverse so far. I also don’t think you can blame the people who make this stuff because I assume they are more than capable of doing better and more vibrant things. But it seems more and more that Meta and Zucklehead don’t want that. Instead, they are focused on creating a product that can be consumed by the masses and that has no defining characteristics in an effort to get more people to dive in.

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This is the exact opposite approach we see in more community-driven VR metaverses Like it VR chat, what looks better and feels warmer and more inviting. In comparison, Horizon Worlds looks like an animated video I would walk by in a fancy hospital while looking for the bathroom.

And if this boring and ugly metaverse is the future that Mark Zuckerberg wants and invests billions of dollars inI’m afraid it will eventually win over other better alternatives simply because it has the money and resources to crush or buy up competitors. Well, if it wins, at least I can skip it and not buy a new VR headset.

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