Earlier this week a celebratory time for the people at Meta, as its reality-devouring project Horizon Worlds was now available in more countries. The occasion was marked by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself posting a “selfie” of his in-game avatar in front of a digital Eiffel tower. Sounds amazing, right? Problem was, that the graphics were similar to what you’d expect from a children’s game like Roblox, not from a multi-billion dollar company’s efforts to shape our collaborative virtual future. The internet roasted Mark Zuckerberg’s selfie to hell and back. And now, Zuckerberg is here to do some damage control.
Posting over on Instagram is an absolutely new virtual rendition of Zuckerberg. This one, I’m pleased to report, does seem to contain more life essence than the last one, though it’s not sure how many souls had to be sacrificed in order to give Mark a small glint in his eye. For those keeping count, this is the fourth or fifth VR version of Zucc we’ve gotten so far. He suggests as much in the post accompanying the new “selfie” when he says that the VR service is always evolving.
It’s right, screenshots of Horizon Worlds don’t always look as bad as what Zuckerberg shared earlier this week. But that’s also part of what made it so baffling; why is that the company leader revealed? At the same time, Horizon Worlds still doesn’t look nearly as good as what you can find in other VR offerings.
— Neomance【VR Photographer】 (@Neomance) June 7, 2022
Many will say it’s about making sure Meta’s Quest hardware, which is priced for the average consumer, can handle tons of people at once. But there’s performance, and then there’s artistry. The thing everyone was responding to was what appeared to be a bleak lack of soul. We all know it doesn’t take a huge polygon count to make something look good, otherwise, we wouldn’t remember retro games nearly as fondly as we do. The Eiffel Tower is supposed to be a meaningful cultural artifact, but you wouldn’t glean that from the VR version at all. The digital version isn’t moving unless we’re trying to evoke a burp.