On the quiz show Jeopardy, contestants had to guess the word “metaverse”. They got it wrong and lost a lot of money.
The Metaverse is a science fiction concept that has yet to become reality, and is therefore difficult to understand. Even experts can’t agree on a single definition.
Coined by science fiction author Neal Stephenson in his novel Snowcrash, the term refers to a parallel digital world that humanity can enter through futuristic VR glasses. The book, published in 1992, has been a major influence on Silicon Valley visionaries, including Mark Zuckerberg. In late 2021, he renamed Facebook Meta, a shortened version of the word Metaverse.
All of this was apparently lost on the Jeopardy contestant. The contestants bet a total of nearly $25,000 on their answers – and they were all wrong.
Many people know about Oculus, but few know about the Metaverse
What does this story tell us about the Metaverse? That the M-word and the idea behind it are nowhere near as widespread as Zuckerberg would like.
Oculus founder Palmer Luckey pointed out that Jeopardy contestants had no trouble guessing the word “Oculus” on a previous show. A brand that is much more common in the US and is often used exclusively with virtual reality.
Nobody had that problem back when the answer was Oculus! If trivia masters like Jeapordy contestants aren’t familiar with a brand…. pic.twitter.com/PYLUuqpJAf
— Palmer Luckey (@PalmerLuckey) April 22, 2023
Facebook has largely dropped the Oculus name in the rebranding process, but recently named its third-party publishing arm “Oculus Publishing”.
The company is using the term Metaverse less and less, probably for the reasons mentioned above and because it hurts Meta more than it helps. Some investors doubt the future potential of VR and AR and would rather see Meta spend on something other than far-fetched sci-fi visions.
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