Facebook parent company Meta believes that a locked-in VR Metaverse is the next step for human tech. However, Snap — the company behind Snapchat — believes that the idea of VR is far weaker than that of Augmented Reality.
Instead of creating a hypothetical virtual living space, Snap believes that technology should enhance everyday life. This means that instead of humanity giving into a new, the tech should upgrade our current reality.
Why Snap is betting on Augmented Reality
Via The Verge, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel explained that companies and startups are constantly pitching Metaverse projects. However, there’s one constant trend between them: none of them actually have a purpose.
On the other hand, the Snapchat app as well as platforms like TikTok prove that modern audiences love Augmented Reality. While only basic, the use of AR filters and games are prominent on video-based social medias as well as mobile games.
“[Metaverse pitches] are really talking about something that doesn’t exist yet,” the CEO said. [However,] there are 250 million people engaging with AR every day in just the Snapchat application.”
Speigel explained that tech must serve to enhance our world because that’s where people want to be.
“ Our fundamental thesis and our big bet is on the real world, and that people really enjoy spending time together in reality. And that computing can really enhance that, [and] make that more fun and contribute to shared experiences.”
“But, ultimately, people are going to spend the vast majority of their time in the world because it’s really a wonderful place...And that’s why we talk with a lot of specificity about the products we have today, about the solutions that exist today, and about the way that people are using our products, rather than talking in hypotheticals.”
AR vs VR
The idea of locking humans into an all-VR experience is one that has always been dredged in dystopian connotations. However, the creation of AR has always been seen as the lesser evil.
While AR does have issues — like attaching targeted ads onto real objects — it’s still seen as an enhancement. More can be done with AR and humanity has more freedom with it in comparison.
Of course, Meta’s Metaverse pitch does bridge over to Augmented Reality as well. However, its version of AR appears hyper-targeted towards making you engage fully with its Metaverse at all times.
AR will undoubtedly have issues, especially as its incoming popularity is already concerning its creators. However, it will likely be safer — and more comfortable — than locking into a lame version of The Matrix.