In its new series Are We There Yet?, Meta is banking on the infinite charms of Keke Palmer to make their Metaverse more appealing. But the show’s first episode, out today, proves that even entertainers of Palmer’s caliber can only do so much with a bad script.
Are We There Yet? purports to be a crash course in “metaverse 101” that “showcas[es] the ways the metaverse will help us feel closer, be more collaborative, and be built by not just a few, but by all of us.”
Given that mission, the series should start with the basics: How a consumer can access the metaverse through a virtual reality headset, what kind of impressive entry-level experiences they can have there, and how those experiences might fit into their daily lives. Basically, how can the metaverse enrich your life, enhance your happiness, bring you closer to friends, and help you learn new things?
I am sorry to report that the first episode of the series does none of those things.
Palmer is (as always) a delight, as is the company’s metaverse VP Vishal Shah, who breezily jokes with her while hitting talking points. But as the duo “drives” down a virtual road, passing a floating skateboard the length of a city block and two massive paddles playing ping pong in mid-air, it becomes clear that Meta still has absolutely no idea how to explain its products to norms.
“How would you describe, in simple terms, the metaverse to someone who has no clue what it’s about?” asks Palmer.
“I think the simplest way of thinking about it is that the metaverse is the next phase of the internet,” replies Shah, in terms that mean absolutely nothing to an average consumer.
Shah goes on to plug the ability to create dream-like experiences in Horizon Worlds, noting that he’s seen users “building comedy clubs, speakeasies, haunted houses, [and] meditation spaces” and that “the tools to build things are available now.” What tools? You’ll never find out, because they are never named. He also never explains how to access Horizon Worlds or how to build in it — just that you can.
Meta has a sweet vision for VR, but it’s a long way from reality for the rest of us
Like Meta’s recent presentation about its virtual reality technology, which is more like a glimmer in its eye than a tangible near-term reality, this series feels more ostentatious than practical.
“Everyone’s got questions about the metaverse,” Meta said in a press materials about the show. Unfortunately, it still doesn’t know how to answer any of them.