Just before Meta’s big annual developer conference was due to begin, the staff at TechCrunch tried to figure out who had a charged Meta Quest headset, and it turned out it wasn’t anyone. But because I knew which corner of the closet mine was in (top left), here I am.
After merging my work Facebook account (Taylor Linguini) with Meta’s new universal login system, I released a software update, accepted at Mark Zuckerberg’s big keynote, and ran into this bad boy. I also plugged in his USB charger because that thing doesn’t last that long initially and Zuckerberg likes to use a lot of words at times.
I had to gesture a bit wildly to remember the controls, but then I was ready to watch the Meta CEO’s keynote, which I and 5.4k upper bodies of my closest friends attended, a number that probably accurately reflects , like many Meta employees and wayward tech reporters, had to look at this thing in three dimensions instead of two.
Cheering on the old metaverse, I landed straight into a virtual plaza full of signage and a big branded fountain in the middle (all brands need a fountain) with that limp blue infinity sign. After navigating to the Keynote portal and poking my virtual torso into a large rendering of Mark Zuckerberg, I was sucked into a VR timeloop situation for about five minutes, where I was thrown back into the seat and doing it all over again had to, but ultimately [hacker voice] I was in.
Once inside, I saw Zuckerberg’s freshly revamped avatar chat with various staff on stage in a small instance with maybe 15 other people who probably all worked for Meta and thought I was completely insane, which most of the time isn’t true. As they stood around a small virtual amphitheater and watched the keynote at leisure, I did the opposite, frantically scooting between them and taking screenshots while huddled as close as possible to Zuck’s instantiated avatar, just like any press would -Self-respecting nightmare would do an IRL event.
Everything worked pretty well and watching a tech keynote in VR was a little more entertaining than on my computer, but a lot less practical. I couldn’t really pick up sound or take notes anymore as my field of vision was dominated by virtual reality, which isn’t superior yet reality Reality as far as writing down my little notes. And it was hard to describe the fun things that happened to my co-workers who weren’t in VR with me, which I felt drove a wedge between us.
One thing I want to say is that the avatars in Horizon Worlds are looking pretty good now (mine’s pretty hot, to be honest with you), but man, people are doing some wild things with their arms. Probably like me, everyone else in my little pocket world watched while sitting at their desks, intensely clutching their little joystick Death Stars as the only connection to normal old tactile reality.
The upshot of this is that everyone stretches their zombie arms out straight, or worse, twists them in horrific contortions because, like me, they eventually got tired of holding controllers and putting them down haphazardly. I even found a poor bastard floating in space by the big limp infinity well, his body hopelessly folded in on himself three feet off the ground. I’m only mentioning this because we’re going to add feet now, but maybe we should remove the arms, you know?
Everything went pretty smoothly in the end, except for the scary arm stuff. There should probably be a “desk mode” that shows a default animation with arms crossed or whatever so we don’t all look like horror shows in Horizon Worlds. Meta if you want to hire me I’m a genius but I feel that would be a conflict of interest.
Also, I have to say that while I was in there, my dog licked me out of nowhere and it was totally shocking and I went “woah!”. loud, and that really pulled me out of the experience.