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Opinion
Parmy Olson

Facebook, Beware: The Metaverse Is Flat

Most people are visiting virtual worlds through plain old screens. Mark Zuckerberg needs to plan accordingly.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg adjusts an avatar of himself during the virtual Facebook Connect event in October 2021.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg adjusts an avatar of himself during the virtual Facebook Connect event in October 2021.

Source: Bloomberg

Corrected

In a few weeks’ time, Mark Zuckerberg will announce a new virtual reality headset from Meta Platforms Inc. Embarrassingly, we already know what it will look like. A video of the purported device has been doing the rounds online after someone found one in a hotel room. Yet none of that should matter because whizzy VR headsets are becoming too much of a distraction, and aren’t that integral to the early growth of the so-called metaverse, a 3D version of the internet that many see as its next chapter. It turns out flat screens are doing the job just fine. 

While Facebook has sold about 14 million VR headsets to date, millions more have visited the metaverse through regular 2D screens like the one you’re looking at right now, via apps like Roblox and Epic Games Inc.’s Fortnite. The trend is likely to continue for several years yet as VR headsets take time to slim down in size and price.