Metaverse Pioneers Unimpressed by Facebook Rebrand


Early adopters of the virtual world, known as the Metaverse, criticized Facebook’s rebranding as an attempt to capitalize on the growing discussion on a concept it didn’t create.

word metaverse This year has become a technical buzzword, with companies and investors keen to be part of the next big thing. But users have been spending time in these fast-moving but obscure virtual worlds for years.

Ryan Kappel, an American who has hosted meet-ups at various metaverses for more than two years, said, “They’re essentially trying to make what many of us have been building for years, but don’t make it our own. Rebrand as

Facebook Did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Facebook’s name has changed to Meta Platforms and announced Thursday as details of plans to build its own immersive digital world come as the company draws criticism from lawmakers and regulators over its market power, algorithmic decisions and policing of abuse on its services. struggles with.

In the virtual world, users can move around as avatars, meet friends, and play games. Some that are based on blockchain even allow users to bet on virtual real estate.

“I think Facebook has made this initial name change to protect the new trademark as soon as it is legally possible,” the UK-based one said. cryptocurrency The investor, known as Pranksy, said he first bought virtual world real estate in early 2020.

Artur Sykov, who founded Metaverse Somnium Space in 2017, said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s The rebrand announcement felt “hasty… like trying to insert itself into the Metaverse narrative that’s happening right now.”

Sycove spends up to five hours a day in the somnium space with 1,000 to 2,000 other daily users.

Dave Carr, communications chief for the organization that runs the virtual world Decentraland, said Facebook’s move could face resistance from Metaverse users who are wary of its controls over content.

“Those who want to determine the future of virtual worlds, retain ownership of their creative output and move freely among them will choose the decentralized version,” he said, in Decentraland’s Metaverse environment. To be decentralized and Facebook’s plan is likely to be centralized.

Decentraland, founded in 2017 with approximately 7,000 daily users, sees itself as an alternative to traditional social media platforms that sell user data and control the content that users see.

Many existing metaverse platforms are based on blockchain technology which makes central control impossible. Blockchain is the distributed-ledger architecture that underpins cryptocurrencies. In these virtual worlds, people use cryptocurrencies to buy land and other digital goods in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFT)

However, the reaction from early metaverse adopters was not all negative. Some said Facebook’s entry could increase interest in the concept of virtual worlds in general, attract more users and support the development of multiple virtual worlds.

Tristan Littlefield, co-founder of NFT company nft42 and Metaverse user since 2018, said his first reaction to Facebook’s announcement was negative because he dislikes the sale of user data.

But “a giant like Facebook coming in and just dumping billions of dollars… could be a positive” because of the new people it would bring into the space, he said.

© Thomson Reuters 2021