Odds are you may not fully know or understand what the "metaverse," is but you're definitely sick of hearing about it at this point. Along with "crypto" and "NFTs," metaverse was easily one of the most popular buzzwords of 2021 with Facebook being one of the major industry leaders to make the pivot towards a virtual business model. And while there certainly is a great deal of hype from Silicon Valley behind the metaverse, it seems like no one has asked if this is anything the public wants.
A proof of concept video presented in 2017 at SXSW recently resurfaced, imagining what shopping at Walmart in virtual reality would look like. Created by Mutual Mobile, the VR experience imagines what the future of shopping at Walmart might look like with users navigating a virtual supermarket, grabbing products off digital shelves that instantly show things like nutrition facts, price comparisons or recipe recommendations, and having their order shipped off to them via drone.
While not originally intended as a vision of what a Walmart metaverse might look like, it also isn't far off from what others have presented in the virtual space either. Given the new wave of omicron cases prolonging any return to pre-pandemic life, it's not hard to imagine a world where retailers rolled out some sort of VR substitute in an attempt to make online shopping more immersive — but it begs the question: do we really need a Walmart metaverse?
As any one who's tested out their friend's Oculus headset can attest, trying to do anything in VR can be a chore. From finicky controls to a lack of depth perception, the platform doesn't lend itself particularly well to simple object manipulation, which would no doubt make trying to grocery shop a long and drawn out process.
As many Twitter users point out, there really is no point in reinventing the wheel when eCommerce is perfectly fine the way it is now. From serious cynical critiques to satirical dystopian visions about what a Walmart metaverse might look like, check out the best reactions and memes, below.
Looks like they've got rid of all the good things about going to the shops and kept all the bad things. It also looks painfully slow.\n\nHowever, they'll probably win, and at some point I'll have to be taught how to do this by my kids. While they're wearing clothes made out of NFTs— Gareth A Hopkins (@Gareth A Hopkins) 1641378198
This is the same mistake over and over again when new technologies come along we try and shoehorn the status quo into it. A good ecommerce UI is way faster and more user freindly than this nonsense.— Dean Leigh (@Dean Leigh) 1641379422
You can't tell shareholders that you've already made eCommerce as good as it's going to get - you have to pretend that there's new possibilities for growth out there on the metaverse crypto blockchain. Think of how twitter introduces new features nobody wants every year.— waterboard apes (@waterboard apes) 1641378447
Photo via YouTube