Hoopla Over the Metaverse Deflates

May 2023
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Two years ago, the virtual world of the metaverse was touted as the next big thing, but the hype surrounding the technology is now fading, The Wall Street Journal reports. Slow user adoption, expensive hardware, glitchy tech and deteriorating economic conditions have put a damper on the metaverse.

Walt Disney has closed its metaverse division. Microsoft recently shut down a virtual-reality platform it had acquired in 2017. Mark Zuckerberg, who renamed Facebook as Meta Platforms in October 2021 and spent billions of dollars trying to build out the metaverse, focused more on artificial intelligence in a recent earnings call. 

The price of virtual real estate in Decentraland — where users wearing headsets or viewing screens appear as avatars in simulated online environments — has declined almost 90% from a year ago, according to WeMeta, a site that tracks “land sales” in the metaverse. 

Microsoft bet big on the idea of digital worlds, but the company’s work on augmented-reality headsets was plagued by problems. Microsoft said it “remains committed to the metaverse” in both hardware and software. Zuckerberg said Meta would still pursue the metaverse in the long term.

Even at the height of the metaverse craze, some tech executives were not enamored with digital realms. David Limp, senior vice president of devices and services at Amazon.com, said last year that he wants “to try and work on technologies that bring people’s heads up [and] get them to enjoy the real world.” 

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