Meta’s Metaverse Is ‘Old Idea’ That’s ‘Never Worked,’ Tech CEO Claims

  • Phil Libin is the previous boss of Evernote and is now CEO of videoconference enterprise Mmhmm.
  • He told Insider he’d attempted out Horizon Workrooms, Meta’s VR-meeting software, and was not impressed.
  • He described Meta’s eyesight of the metaverse as “uncreative.”

When tech founder Phil Libin donned his Oculus VR headset to try out out Meta’s initially metaverse products, he was hoping it would not be awful.

“I experienced a quite, really potent experience that it would suck, but I went into it with as a great deal hope as probable that I would be pleasantly stunned,” Libin reported in an interview with Insider.

He and his employees at videoconference firm Mmhmm, wherever he is CEO, were seeking out Meta’s Horizon Workrooms solution. Horizon Workrooms allows men and women use VR headsets for virtual operate meetings in the so-named metaverse.

Libin claimed his intestine instinct turned out to be suitable. “It was only tolerable for a handful of minutes,” he mentioned.

He thinks that applying VR for meetings is fewer attractive than acquainted technologies this sort of as


, the place persons can however do true-environment matters like drink a cup of espresso. “Are unable to do that with a huge plastic thing on my facial area without having spilling scorching espresso all about myself,” Libin stated.

Facebook horizon workrooms model

Horizon Workrooms, Meta’s VR meetings product.


The phrase “metaverse” is borrowed from science fiction and refers to a potential model of the world wide web accessed via immersive systems such as digital-fact and augmented-actuality headsets. It has been pushed in particular by Mark Zuckerberg, who rebranded Facebook as Meta in Oct.

In its fourth-quarter earnings report Wednesday, Meta mentioned its new metaverse enterprise lost $10 billion and its user base shrank for the first time in its history. Meta stock plummeted 26.4% Thursday, erasing almost $240 billion from the firm’s valuation in the largest one particular-day wipeout in US company historical past.

Libin has formerly been critical of the hoopla bordering the metaverse. In a podcast job interview past month, he as opposed the buzz with communist propaganda he obtained as a kid residing in the previous Soviet Union.

And he continues to be unconvinced.

He suggests the vision of the metaverse offered by Meta — one of an “interconnected 3D globe that we knowledge for many hrs a day, both equally for entertaining and for function mostly as a result of VR” — “that package of factors is godawful.”

“It can be an outdated plan,” Libin told Insider. “It truly is uncreative, it’s been attempted a lot of, many moments in excess of the past four a long time and it truly is under no circumstances labored.”

Proponents of the metaverse imagine we’ll have to wait to see its complete possible, Libin mentioned, but he would not imagine that’s how great engineering is effective.

“I feel fantastic technology begins out becoming primitive, but it starts off out staying good instantly,” he mentioned. More than time, he explained, fantastic technologies will get “extra polished and a lot more mature and more refined.”

He gave the illustration of early movie-sport consoles and his to start with-ever invest in from Amazon in the mid-1990s.

“It was my incredibly 1st ever e-commerce transaction — went to the Amazon web page, and Amazon in the mid-’90 was tremendous primitive. It was like a textual content-based internet site, all you could do is invest in books from it. And it did not have one-click checkout it was really, very basic. But I acquired a couple of books and I bear in mind being familiar with at that position, this is amazing.”

As for Horizon Workrooms, Libin claimed: “It is really not gonna get better due to the fact it commenced lousy. It started off stupid. It can get extra sophisticated, but it will just be more refined — but nevertheless lousy.”