Earlier this July, the American magazine “The Nation” published a column entitled “Lessons from the catastrophic failure of the metaverse”. Also given the prestige of the publication, the oldest in the USA, the article was widely taken up by all online and offline media as the de profundis of the metaverse.
Too bad that the content of the piece largely belied its own title (ah … the clickbiting).
First of all, the article focuses on the failure in the metaverse of the great architectural firms, the author Kate Wagner is in fact an architecture critic. Then she reported the absolutely negligable numbers relating to Decentraland users and the business developed by Horizon Worlds, which would then be the metaverse of Meta (I’ll come back to it in a moment).
Already in the next paragraph, however, Wagner underlined the great utility of the application of virtual reality in architecture and how Zuckerberg is basically right to think that people want to spend time in virtual spaces, only that they are not interested in doing it in his metaverse.
Then she pointed out the public and business successes of video game-based metaverses such as Roblox, Minecraft and Fornite.
Curiously, in speaking of the failure of the metaverse, Wagner, like almost everyone else, mentioned the supposed disappearance of Second Life, while today, twenty years after its creation, Second Life has around 200,000 daily users and generates a turnover of about 600 million dollars a year.
Meta: a peculiar strategy.
There is no doubt that much of the interest in the metaverse in the last two years is due to Facebook’s decision to target it as the “next big thing of the web”, so much so that it changed the company name from “Facebook” to “Meta”.
And, personally speacking, this already seemed to me a weak choice in terms of branding because it was very straightforward, therefore not very original and neither evocative and engaging.
The other surprising communication choice was to call Meta metaverse “Horizon Worlds”. You do believe in the metaverse so much that you change your company name to “Meta” and then your metaverse name is Horizon Worlds? Honestly, I don’t understand it.
Question: how many of you knew how the metaverse of Meta is called? I imagine a few, because the peculiarity of Meta’s communication strategy on the metaverse has foreseen that in the massive advertising communication campaign only the generic concept “metaverse” is spoken of and never, ever, “Horizon Worlds” is mentioned. Least of all there were explanations and/or call- to-action to visit it and how.
Meta’s advertising campaign to date has been a large generic advertising campaign that aimed to remove the “Frankenstein complex” (which perhaps isn’t even there, or in any case it may be weaker than imagined).
Then there are the operational limits: Horizon Worlds can only be accessed using the Oculus viewer, a device that still has limited diffusion both due to its relatively high cost and because prolonged use causes many people to feel seasick because the eyes transmit movement information to the brain while all the other senses tell it that the body is still.
Furthermore Horizon Worlds, as many of the currently most known metaverses, is NOT accessible from the smartphone, which today is the main device used to navigate the web.
Last but not least, “content is king”. All the metaverses with poor results mentioned in the article are generalist, or, as I define them, horizontal. They don’t have a specific function, a goal and therefore they struggle to create or have content created that brings people together.
After that, the fact remains that Meta confirmed investments in the metaverse for 2023 for 19.2 billion dollars, the same figure as in 2022, and maintains a time horizon of 5-10 years for the full implementation of the project.
And what about Vinophila?
It seems bad to express assessments on other, much bigger, brands and not talk about us.
In our small way:
– We were born as a “vertical” metaverse, with a specific purpose: to provide a new meeting place between wineries and the market as a broad
– We have chosen to make Vinophila usable from the screen, without needing to use a 3D viewer so everyone can access.
– Above all, from the beginning, we have created apps that allow you to enter our metaverse from Apple and Android smartphones. A cutting hedge, excellent technological solution that puts Vinophila literally in the hands of users for maximum ease and convenience of use
– We produce content with articles on our portal and events within the metaverse, and we actually noticed how visits multiply on these occasions.
Undoubtedly we are in a pioneering phase in which the concept of the metaverse takes shape as we do it, in a trial-and-error process. But every day we take a step forward in the number of visitors to the Vinophila.com portal and in conversions into the Vinophila metaverse.
We of course always believed in the metaverse. Thanks to The Nation, today we believe in it even more.