Like an incomplete Chinese theme park or a failing MMORPG, Facebook's Metaverse is a "deserted fantasyland" devoid of meaningful human contact, reports Paul Murray for New York Magazine. His first reflection, same as everyone else's:"Where are their fucking legs?"
It's not just the amateurish, low-tech design; it's not just the sparse attendance and desultory interactions. It's the total absence of mood. It reminds me of when I'd try to get together with friends over Zoom during lockdown — everyone's face appearing in a box in the grid like contestants in some bleak, prizeless game show, the total absence of physicality making us feel more distant from one another than ever.
The overwhelming feeling is of a place that is "decidedly antisocial"–exactly the failure mode you would expect of a social environment conceived, designed and marketed by Mark Zuckerberg and Co.
What gets me is that it's the sort of thing that seems to invite the street to find its own uses for it, but the most Murray finds is a comedy club full of racist children. It's a liminal space hinting at the Internet's dead-worst hidden places. It's limited, crude, bleak. Rarely has a supposed escape looked more like a cell.