Just before Meta’s big annual developer conference was due to begin, the londonbusinessblog.com staff scrambled to see who had a charged Meta Quest headset, which turned out to be none. But since I knew which corner of the closet mine was in (top left), here I am.
After merging my work Facebook account (Taylor Linguini) with Meta’s new universal login system, I pushed a software update, RSVPed to Mark Zuckerberg’s big keynote and jumped on that bad boy. I also put the USB charger on it because this thing doesn’t last that long in the beginning and sometimes Zuckerberg likes to do a lot of words.
It took me a bit of a wild gesture to memorize the controls, but then I was ready to watch the Meta CEO’s keynote, attended by myself and 5.4K of my best friends’ torsos, some that probably accurately reflects how many Meta CEOs employees and quirky tech reporters had to look at this thing in three dimensions instead of two.
Rekindling the old metaverse, I found myself in the middle of a virtual square full of signage and a big brand fountain in the middle (all brands need a fountain) with that floppy blue infinity sign. After navigating to the keynote portal and pushing my virtual torso into a large image of Mark Zuckerberg, I was sucked into a VR time-lapse situation, where I was kicked back to the square and had to do it all over again, but eventually [hacker voice] I was in.
During the keynote Zuckerberg’s revamped avatar was talking onstage, which I watched in one case with maybe 15 other people, who probably all worked for Meta and thought I was completely insane, which is usually not true. As they stood around a small virtual amphitheater and quietly watched the keynote, I did the opposite, frantically sliding between them and taking screenshots squeezing myself as close to Zuck’s avatar as possible, just like any self-respecting press nightmare would on an IRL. -event.
Everything worked pretty well and it was a little more entertaining watching a tech keynote in VR rather than on my computer, but a lot less practical. I couldn’t really record the audio or take notes anymore because my field of view was dominated by virtual reality, which is not yet superior to reality reality as far as writing down my little notes. And it was hard to describe the funny things that happened to my work friends who weren’t with me in VR, which in my opinion drove a wedge between us.
One thing I would say is that the avatars in Horizon Worlds look pretty good now (mine is pretty hot to be honest), but man, people are doing some wild stuff with their arms. Presumably like me, everyone in my little pocket world watched as they sat at their desks, intensely gripping their little spherical joystick deathstars, the only remaining link to tactile reality.
The effect of that is that everyone sticks their arms straight out like zombies or worse, twisting them up in horrible twists because, like me, at some point they got tired of holding the controllers and putting them down haphazardly. I even found a poor bastard floating in space by the great floppy infinity fountain, his body hopelessly folded in on itself, three feet off the ground. I’m only bringing this up because we’re adding feet now, but maybe we should undo adding arms, you know?
In the end, everything went pretty smoothly, except for the scary stuff with the poor. There should probably be a “desk mode” that puts up a standard animation of arms crossed or whatever so we don’t all look like horror shows in Horizon Worlds. Meta, if you want to hire me, I’m a genius, but I think that would be a conflict of interest.
I also have to say my dog licked me out of the blue while I was there and that was totally shocking and I said “woah!” out loud, and that really pulled me out of the experience.