This VR Shopping video shows that the Metaverse doesn’t matter

A virtual shopping video purportedly illustrating the future of mass market consumption in the “Metaverse” has been widely viewed and shared. Problem: it actually dates from 2017. So futuristic or absurd?

Who would have thought it? Well, almost all observers who take a step back at Metaverse, one of the most used and least understood words in the world of technology at the start of 2022.

It all started with a tweet from a certain Homo Diditalis, an account that claims to be dedicated to “ information at the heart of the metaverse “. He shares there on January 3, 2022 a 2-minute video: ” Here’s how Walmart envisions your groceries in the Metaverse.”

We dive into a kind of first-person video game, where a customer behind his virtual shopping cart strolls through the shelves of the large American retail chain, helped in his selection by an equally unreal store assistant.

The tweet, which was shared 30,000 times, allowed this clip to get 7 million views. However, the video has nothing to do with Metaverse: it actually dates from 2017 and was invented by a startup called Mutual Mobile to “ shine at the South by Southwest festival “, we can read on the company’s page, marked with a Developer. However, it was Walmart who approached her to ” reinvent the shopping experience “.

At first glance, however, the reinvention seems more than modest. What we observe, on the contrary, has all of the classic trip to a supermarket, depressing wandering and overdose of choice included. We even momentarily see the consumer grab a bottle of milk, but his virtual hand lets it slip away due to the lack of precision of the interface. What to add difficulty in a virtual universe. Is the future here?

The Metaverse exists because they say it does

The discovery of the actual year of music video creation is something to smile about, as it illustrates the excitement that surrounds the development of a concept that exists simply because someone said it existed. This man is not just anyone: it is Mark Zuckerberg, the head of Facebook, finally we have to say Meta now.

On October 28, the 37-year-old billionaire released a long video in which he announced the change of his group (which includes Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus, which is no longer called Oculus, but also Meta) to correspond to its futuristic ambitions: the development of Metaverse, a virtual universe project where humans would evolve in 3D. To create that, Meta plans to hire 10,000 people over 5 years.

It was already pointed out at the time: Metaverse doesn’t exist yet, that it already looks banal, with its fake air of Second Life, its frozen avatars, its virtual personalized outfits, its transparent screens and its cumbersome holograms.

We think back to the videos from MagicLeap, the company that promised in 2015 that its revolutionary “mixed reality” glasses (a mix of virtual and augmented) would allow virtual elements to appear in real life. Where we could already allow ourselves to ask: What do I have to gain by showing my Gmail in augmented reality, virtually in front of me?

A presentation of Magic Leap in 2015 // Source: YT/ Magic Leap

Worse yet, the company’s promises were then debunked, when observers realized that MagicLeap was only making assumptions: the startup had neither the right technology nor the software interface. Just ideas. Does it remind you of anything?

So yes, Mark Zuckerberg is not a young entrepreneur looking for fundraisers to help him build his project. Mark Zuckerberg has all the money he could possibly want: Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are worth hundreds of billions of dollars, and his personal fortune is $129 billion.

If he wanted to, he could build his Metaverse out of his own money. And yet it’s not even his greatest asset. Mark Zuckerberg’s greatest strength is that every other man wants to be Mark Zuckerberg. Experts, investors, companies are so afraid of “missing the boat” that their bosses are already hundreds of thousands who follow Meta with their eyes closed.

It does not matter that the technological progress is still so unconvincing in virtual reality, that the public has not adopted any virtual or augmented reality tool, that all the companies that have started on the subject end up “turning towards B2B”, that 30% to 40% of users suffer from cyber motion sickness or the fact that we now call Metaverse anything and everything (even video games that have been around for years).

Carrefour, first on the metaverse “, we can read here. And why would he deprive himself? ” Tomorrow, the consumer chooses to live a shopping experience with a brand, in the store, online via mobile or via a VR experience. “, assures Guillaume Cavaroc, Commercial Director at Meta France, continuing on this most depressing statement: ” We can imagine it in two ways: by making augmented e-commerce via virtual reality experiences that allow the purchase of physical products in the metaverse; but also by offering dematerialized products and services in this ecosystem (around avatars for example).»

Back to virtual shopping. The joy of recreating a degrading consumer experience, but from the comfort of your couch.

The future is now.

Or apparently in 2017.

Leave a Comment