Metaverse Stocks: What If Mark Zuckerberg Is Wrong About the Metaverse? – TheStreet

Predicting the next big thing has been notoriously hard.

Remember when 3D printers were the future? How about the upcoming dominance of 3D television or people fleeing New York City never to return? How about when Napster seemed like the future of the music industry or MySpace seemed like an unstoppable social media powerhouse.

A lot of next-big-things become either not a thing or a much smaller thing than people expected. 3D printing, for example, has not become a major part of life for the average American but it may prove very valuable for use in space travel largely because you may not pack absolutely everything you need for your decades-long trip to live on Mars.

In some cases, the next big thing ends up being important, but not quite as important as we expected. The internet has not killed brick-and-mortar retail or even taken 20% of its sales. Digital books have done a lot better, topping out at around half of the market, but printed books remain a thing.

Nobody doubts that the Metaverse has its uses, but Mark Zuckerberg believes in it so much he has bet Facebook’s future on it to the point of renaming his company Meta (FB) – Get Meta Platforms Inc. Class A Report. That would be like if Amazon (AMZN) – Get, Inc. Report, which filed for a number of 3D printing patents, had ditched its name and become 3DP.

Zuckerberg might be wrong — and one prominent CEO thinks he is — putting the brakes on the metaverse enthusiasm during a recent television appearance.

Facebook Metaverse Lead

Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

What if People Want Reality and Not Virtual Reality?

The internet has been flooded with stories about people plunking down seemingly absurd sums of money for pieces of metaverse real estate. That might mean virtual land for your real pet (which will struggle to appreciate the purchase) or some other not-real purchase that seems like a good idea that may actually prove as valuable as buying someone a star for Christmas from a cable commercial.

Expedia (EXPE) – Get Expedia Group, Inc. Report CEO Peter Kern thinks that people will actually remain more interested in the real world and he said as much Friday on CNBC.

“I don’t see [the metaverse] as a competitive threat. We’re certainly, like everyone else in the world, sort of intrigued by it … but we’re pretty much about the ‘real-verse,’” Kern said in a “Squawk on the Street” interview.

The CEO drove that point home and said that he did not expect virtual experiences to replace real experiences.

“And I don’t think the metaverse, in my lifetime, will ever make up for being in Paris, being in Rome, being in a National Park,” he said. “There is just no replacement for that, and those experiences are what changes our lives. And I don’t think that’s the same with a headset on, on your couch.”

Mark Zuckerberg Thinks He Is Wrong

Zuckerberg believes that we’re “at the next chapter for the internet and he laid out what he thinks will happen next in a letter that was released at the time Facebook took on the Meta name.

The next platform will be even more immersive — an embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it. We call this the metaverse, and it will touch every product we build.

The defining quality of the metaverse will be a feeling of presence — like you are right there with another person or in another place. Feeling truly present with another person is the ultimate dream of social technology. That is why we are focused on building this.

In the metaverse, you’ll be able to do almost anything you can imagine — get together with friends and family, work, learn, play, shop, create — as well as completely new experiences that don’t really fit how we think about computers or phones today.

Or, people will still “get together with friends and family, work, learn, play, shop, create,” and more the same way they do today. Yes, the metaverse will exist — just like Zoom calls exist for when getting together isn’t convenient, but maybe most people don’t want to give up reality for virtual reality?

Kern did admit, albeit fairly tongue in cheek, that the Facebook founder/Meta CEO may be proven right.

“Maybe I’ll be wrong,” he said. “Maybe in 100 years we will all be batteries, and sitting around with headsets on, but for the foreseeable future we feel pretty good about people wanting to be out in the world.”


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