The news: Meta launched its metaverse platform Horizon Worlds in Spain and France last week. But what would have been a celebratory occasion for Meta instead turned into embarrassment after a commemorative virtual selfie from CEO Mark Zuckerberg was widely mocked for its unappealing visuals.
What happened: The widely mocked photo, which included digital graphics of the Eiffel Tower and Spain’s La Sagrada Familia church, prompted comparisons not just to other metaverse platforms like Fortnite or Roblox, but the broad world of video games.
Why it matters: At the center of the gaffe is a core question that Meta has yet to address about the value proposition of the metaverse. That question: What’s the point?
A side by side with Fortnite: While the fallout from Zuckerberg’s post raged on, Fortnite made headlines yet again thanks to a partnership with the Dragon Ball franchise, tightening its grip on the metaverse and pop culture.
The big takeaway: Meta has spent too long selling the concept of the metaverse instead of a product. Fortnite’s success shows that if Meta can organize Horizon Worlds behind a unified vision and value proposition, players will be more likely to hop on board—and advertisers will be sure to follow.
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