On October 28, 2021, Facebook announced that it would change its name to “Meta”. This name change announced Zuckerberg’s determination to enter the Metaverse, followed by Meta’s announcement on December 9, 2021 that its Metaverse product “Horizon Worlds“. “Officially open to adults 18 and older in the United States and Canada. However, on November 26, shortly after the announcement of the virtual community, a female player was harassed by other users in Horizon Worlds, and the female player later posted on social platforms to disclose the incident. The “Metaverse Sexual Harassment Incident” then fermented, causing a lot of controversy.
What will happen to Horizon Worlds after sexual harassment? Or take advantage of the trend of public opinion to become hot? Would this game be the perfect place for the Metaverse?
What is Horizon Worlds?
Horizon Worlds is a metaverse social platform developed by Meta. The beta version was launched in September 2019. When it was just launched, users were restricted by similar invitation codes when entering the virtual community, until the official launch date on December 9, 2021. After the opening, the access restrictions for relevant users were lifted.
Meta has been laying out the “metaverse” in the early years, acquiring Oculus VR for $2 billion in 2014. Oculus VR provides hardware facilities and software programs for the current game Horizon Worlds launched by Meta. For example, Oculus Quest2 is currently a relatively excellent VR all-in-one machine, which enables players to have a better experience in Horizon Worlds, and Oculus The APP (Meta’s APP for controlling VR headsets) even topped the list of user software downloads on Christmas Day.
Horizon Worlds is a virtual world designed and built by the entire community and constantly expanding. When users enter the community, they can create a cartoon avatar with only the upper body. This “Avatar” allows us to explore, Play and creation are consistent with the product’s theme of “create, explore and collaborate”.
The three most popular communities in Horizon Worlds are Pixel Plummet, Wand & Broom, and Mark’s Riverboat.
- Pixel Plummet: Players can explore this vaporwave-themed, retro arcade-style battle royale game on a multiplayer platform
- Wand & Broom: Players can use a magic broom to soar over the town, or use a wand to hang out with friends and explore the city
- Mark’s Riverboat: Players can enjoy a relaxing ride on the river with friends in a three-decker boat
Since the official launch of Horizon Worlds, users have often compared it to VRChat, a free massively multiplayer online game on Steam. Founded in 2014, VRChat is a social role-playing game. With its excellent picture quality, high participation, and good internal ecology, with the “metaverse fever” sweeping, most users call VRChat “” According to foreign media UploadVR, as of the end of June 2021, the total financing amount of VRChat reached 95.2 million US dollars. VRChat has a good momentum of development. Its internal ecological structure, such as degree of freedom and expressiveness, is better than most metaverse products. The official launch time is obviously earlier than Horizon Worlds, so how can Horizon Worlds do it under the existing conditions? better? Where should it go?
According to Meta’s official press release, Meta’s vision for the Horizon Worlds product is to develop a VR space with best-in-class tools for creators to co-build and explore the metaverse. In order to support creators to develop new worlds, Meta announced in October 2021 the establishment of a $10 million creator fund.
It can be seen that Zuckerberg not only expressed his determination to enter the metaverse in the form of changing his name, but also expressed his attitude on a material basis. As Marx said: “Material satisfaction is the foundation of ideological emancipation.” Users who enter Horizon Worlds, stimulated by these huge cash rewards, will develop the community in a more open, diverse, and unpredictable direction.
Should the rules of the real world extend to the virtual world?
Following that, netizens ridiculed female players: “This is just a virtual game, and there is no sexual harassment.”
“The Internet is not a place outside the law” is always vigilant that users should pay attention to their own behavior even in cyberspace, but can the metaverse as an extension of the real world be able to obtain illegal freedom such as “sexual harassment” as an exception?
The answer is obviously no.
Katherine Cross, a researcher at the University of Washington, said, “When virtual reality feels real, the harmful behavior that occurs in it can also be real.”
The virtual human is the embodiment of our real body in the virtual space, so even in virtual reality games, behaviors like this kind of “touching” chasing after users, and verbal harassment of other users, etc., are also in virtual reality. The experience constitutes sexual harassment, even if the user who performs the behavior does not actually touch the real body.
After this incident fermented, Meta took relevant emergency measures, such as launching the “safe zone” function in Horizon Worlds to minimize negative effects. Vivek Sharma, Horizon’s vice president, described the “sexual harassment” incident as “absolutely unfortunate”.
Not only does this bring to mind the cliché: “What will we be able to invent tomorrow? This question often blinds us to the real problem, which is what responsibility we should take for yesterday’s inventions?” “
As the development trend of the Metaverse intensifies, relevant domestic legal departments closely follow the changes in the trend of the times, and on January 28, 2022, promulgated the relevant laws and regulations of the Metaverse – “Internet Information Services Deep Synthesis Management Regulations (Draft for Comment)”. The promulgation of this opinion draft is the response of the regulatory authorities to the risks in new technologies such as the Metaverse, which will make the operation of the Metaverse in China more in line with the rule of law and effectively safeguard the rights and interests of citizens.
A knowledgeable netizen said: “The rules in another world seem to be often described as games in another space, but as long as everything in the other world is controlled by real people, this human moral standard should be the same, and it should be extended to the virtual world. world.”
Therefore, even in a metaverse virtual space like Horizon Worlds, it should also be bound by the moral standards of the human real world, rather than a space with absolute power and will.
Is Meta’s Metaverse Path Just Obscure?
In 2018, the data privacy of tens of millions of Facebook users was leaked. The direct impact of this incident was that Facebook faced a huge fine of 5 billion US dollars and was under huge public opinion pressure. At the same time, the incident had a negative impact on the company’s internal cultural identity. Many executives expressed disdain for the privacy incident in public. Therefore, in 2021, Facebook’s “wave of departures” broke out. At least 15 senior executives Tube resigns.
With the gradual decline of the dividend tide of the Internet, coupled with the “Privacy is Dead” case, etc., these have caused an unprecedented crisis for Facebook, so whether Zuckerberg’s purpose this time is to launch a “metaverse” to divert everyone’s attention What about vision?
There are many problems with the inner ecology of the current metaverse. The Metaverse is supported by encrypted currency NFT and blockchain technology. Many technology companies want to take a share of the Metaverse, but there are uncertain risks in investing in the Metaverse, because the Metaverse is currently at a high level. In the stage of cost and low income, for example, singer Lin Junjie spent about US$123,000 to buy three “lots of land” in the Metaverse, far exceeding the real price, and Jay Chou’s NFT project “Phantom Bear” was initially sold for 0.26 ether Fang, it didn’t take long for the lowest price to rise more than 25 times. Such speculation shows that the current economic order of the Metaverse is unstable and will pose a financial risk problem. Therefore, there is huge uncertainty in investing, and the NFT of the Metaverse There is also a lot of money laundering in the market. In addition, the virtual characters in Horizon Worlds are only half a body, and they are still in the stage of exploration and creation.
Despite the current problems with the metaverse, Meta’s path to the metaverse isn’t just about diverting the public eye.
First of all, as mentioned above, Meta has actually launched its metaverse software products, such as Horizon Worlds and the Oculus App, with excellent hardware, which shows that Meta’s entry into the metaverse is not just word of mouth. above.
Secondly, Meta invested $10 million in Horizon Worlds as a cash reward for game developers. The purpose of this material stimulus is to make this metaverse product develop better and become an ideal community in the eyes of users, so it proves that Meta’s determination to keep forging ahead on the path to the Metaverse.
Finally, citing the Planet Daily report, Meta released its fourth quarter 2021 financial report on Wednesday (February 2), local time, in which it disclosed for the first time the financial situation of its Reality Labs division. Meta’s original profit in 2021 will exceed 56 billion US dollars , but has lost $10 billion since entering the Metaverse. Therefore, at least Meta is not making money from the “metaverse” gimmick, but doing real things to actively deploy the metaverse.
How to truly create an “ideal country”?
Zuckerberg mentioned in an interview with tech website The Verge that he had the idea of a “metaverse” since middle school. It can be seen that leading to the “metaverse” has always been Zuckerberg’s ideal, and he wants to build a kingdom of his own in this virtual reality interactive world.
Distance produces beauty, and users should be given more “personal space”. According to the latest news, Horizon World and Horizon Venues are introducing the Personal Boundary feature. This feature allows Metaverse avatars to maintain a distance of 4 feet from each other in Horizon Worlds and Horizon Venues, creating more personal space for users and making it easier to avoid unnecessary interactions.
Talent is an indispensable factor in building an “ideal country”. Meta announced that it will recruit 10,000 people in Europe to build the Metaverse platform in the next five years. The announcement is a long-term investment in European talents to help build the Metaverse. With the continuous influx of the main scientific research force into the Metaverse platform , the virtual reality space will become more and more perfect, and truly develop into the fifth-dimensional space in human ideals.