Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg believes the metaverse will be the future, and he is willing to bet big on his vision. Not satisfied with just a rebrand, the social-media-turned-metaverse CEO also expects to spend more than $10 billion on augmented reality, virtual reality and hardware to develop metaverse apps, services and technologies in the next two months.
Too bad then, as metaverse insiders think Zuckerberg and Meta’s investment may be in vain.
Nearly three out of five technologists (57 percent) do not believe Facebook will successfully build the metaverse, according to a new survey of 11,673 professionals from the professional social network Blind.
Industry insiders most involved in creating the metaverse are the most skeptical, Blind found.
When asked by Blind if they believe Facebook will successfully build the metaverse, insiders at metaverse and metaverse-adjacent companies overwhelmingly answered “no:”
- 91% of Roblox professionals
- 67% of Google professionals
- 63% of NVIDIA professionals
- 61% of Intel Corporation and VMware professionals
- 60% of Microsoft professionals
- 58% of IBM and Coinbase professionals
But one critic notably absent from that list is Meta’s own employees.
More than three out of four Facebook professionals (77 percent) believe their company will be successful, according to Blind’s survey, which included 1,120 verified Facebook employees. Blind counts 75 percent of Meta’s more than 48,000 employees as users.
What is the Facebook metaverse?
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg believes the metaverse will be the successor of today’s internet. Like the science-fiction novel that coined the term in 1992, he imagines a three-dimensional virtual and immersive universe where people can interact with another as avatars and live significant portions of their lives.
“We hope that, by the end of the decade, we can help a billion people use the metaverse and support a digital economy worth hundreds of billions of dollars,” Zuckerberg said on Oct. 28, 2021, as he unveiled the company’s rebrand as Meta and new focus.
The vision resonated with Meta employees. Two-thirds of Facebook professionals surveyed by Blind said they believed the metaverse would reach 1 billion people within the next decade. In contrast, less than half (44 percent) of the broader universe of professionals surveyed by Blind agreed.
Is the Meta rebrand a public relations tactic?
The decision to rebrand Facebook as a metaverse company has earned Zuckerberg skepticism and even ridicule. Critics of the social-media giant have alleged that its recent interest in the metaverse is an intended distraction from its broader public image, which has suffered from data misuse.
Some in the technology industry have gone so far as to call Facebook’s metaverse a “scam.”
“Scam is a naive word to use,” said a verified Facebook professional on Blind. “The biggest companies in the world don’t spend billions [of dollars] to kickstart a project and vision at a loss to ‘scam’ people.”
More than four out of five Facebook employees that Blind surveyed (84 percent) believe the company’s rebrand as Meta is a good business decision.
Other technologists and professionals polled were evenly split 50-50 on whether Facebook’s rebranding and the new metaverse business strategy was a good decision.
“Large companies trying to get a facelift by slapping ‘metaverse’ at the front door, before having done any of the work, smells like a scam though,” a verified Roblox professional said on Blind. The video game developer Roblox has spent the last 17 years building a platform where users can create and play original games in an immersive virtual world, a metaverse, in short.
The Bottom Line
The metaverse will be here before we know it, if not for the sheer will of Meta. Facebook professionals are overwhelmingly on board with Mark Zuckerberg’s vision and plan to build a metaverse, according to Blind. Yet, Meta may face an uphill and expensive battle if metaverse insiders are any indication.
Rick Chen is the director, head of public relations at the anonymous professional social network Blind. He has been featured as a spokesperson and industry expert in national media and industry trade publications, including CNBC, Forbes, Reuters and more. Follow him on Twitter at @seriouslyrick.