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Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse Pitch Is Falling Flat

The Facebook founder’s alpha-male appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast—UFC! tired hands! “wrestling around with friends”!—will do little to turn that around. 

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Illustration: Konrad Adam Modrzejewski for Bloomberg Businessweek

Forget about the devastating reviews from the video game press, the cringe-worthy digital “selfie,” and the notable lack of legs— Mark Zuckerberg wants you to focus on the promise of the metaverse. The founder of Facebook, now Meta Platforms Inc., appeared on Joe Rogan’s podcast on Aug. 25, undaunted by the recent mockery aimed at Horizon Worlds, his company’s Second Life knockoff, and determined to pitch the benefits of spending the hours with the equivalent of a smartphone strapped to your face.

In addition to giving Rogan an early version of the company’s forthcoming headset, known as Project Cambria, Zuckerberg also used the interview to attempt a sort of personal rebranding designed, one assumes, to align with his decision to focus his attention on virtual and augmented reality. During his nearly three-hour interview with the comedian and mixed martial arts commentator, Zuckerberg—the classics geek and coding prodigy—presented himself, improbably, as a combat sports-obsessed gym rat. He referred to himself as a three-sport varsity athlete, proclaimed a newfound love of jujitsu (he’d hired one of Rogan’s friends as his coach), and, sounding not at all like a billionaire who’d adopted a hobby to impress a talk radio host, said that among his favorite pastimes was “just wrestling around with friends. It’s awesome.”