The metaverse is bad. That’s according to several high-profile industry figures, and the founder of VR headset startup Oculus is the latest to bluntly put it down.
“I don’t think it’s a good product,” Palmer Luckey said of Meta’s core metaverse offering, Horizon Worlds, at the Wall Street Journal’s Tech Live conference.
Oculus was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $2 billion as part of the company’s hugely expensive and near decade-long pursuit of its virtual reality universe. Luckey, who was fired from Facebook in 2016, now runs the security and defense product startup Anduril Industries.
“It’s not good, it’s not fun…Most people on the team would agree it’s not a good product,” he said, alluding to leaked internal memos revealing that staff are barely interested, and that it’s suffering from glitches.
Zuckerberg’s ‘project car’
But it’s not just the quality that has drawn criticism from all angles; Meta is so far losing a lot of money on Mark Zuckerberg’s push into the technology.
“Mark Zuckerberg is the number one virtual reality fan in the world,” Luckey said. “He’s put in more money and time to it than anyone ever in history.”
In 2021 alone, Meta invested $10 billion in the metaverse, and is expected to lose another $10 billion this year.
As a result, profits and faith in the company are dropping significantly. Since the company changed its name to Meta in 2021, Zuckerberg’s personal net worth has dropped by more than $70 billion, while as of Monday, Meta’s shares are down over 60% year to date.
Luckey lamented Zuckerberg’s intense push toward VR, likening the metaverse to the CEO’s “project car”—an incredibly expensive hobby that you ultimately lose money on.
“You hack at it, and maybe no one else sees the value…Will they stumble? Yeah, sure. Will they waste money? Will they add things to their project car that they later hack off? Yes.”
Despite the criticism, Luckey believes the metaverse could still succeed since there’s enough money involved to streamline the current issues.
“It is terrible today, but it could be amazing in the future,” he said. “Zuckerberg will put the money in to do it. They’re in the best position of anyone to win in the long run.”