YouTuber Jarvis Johnson spent a week testing Meta’s Horizon Worlds, describing the experience as “so lonely.”
Challenges faced by Johnson included trying to find adults to interact with as the environment is regularly crowded out with younger users, contributing to a feeling of isolation for Johnson, who was frequently the only adult in the room.
It never existed
A metaverse obituary inspired YouTube creator Jarvis Johnson to investigate Meta’s Horizon Worlds. The obituary, posted to X by Ryan T. Brown, said, “The metaverse is not just dead; it never existed.”
The statement piqued Johnson’s curiosity. Johnson determined to investigate whether Brown’s (sort of) eulogy was premature, spending the next seven days exploring Meta’s Horizon Worlds for himself.
As with most metaverse expeditions, the story doesn’t immediately begin in the metaverse. First, Johnson had to download and update the software that runs on his Meta Quest 2 headset. Then he had to fill out multiple sign-up forms.
Johnson then had a further and final download in the form of Horizon Worlds itself.
In fairness, the rigmarole of Johnson’s Horizon Worlds experience is not unique to Meta. MetaNews readers know that getting started in any new metaverse is often time-consuming and puzzlingly complex.
A bad start
Worse was to come inside the metaverse, which Johnson did not take to with ease.
Almost immediately, Johnson discovered that lengthy use of the VR headset made him nauseous, contributing to his general feeling of unhappiness when inside “the ‘verse” as he took to calling it. With the aid of medication, Johnson vowed to carry on.
Johnson also had a number of complaints specific to Horizon Worlds and its presentation, especially its graphical presentation, which left him incredulous.
“Look, I’m not a graphics guy; I’m usually not gonna be the person complaining about the graphics of a game, but what on earth is this?” said Johnson.
The graphics may have caused Johnson considerable consternation, but the atmosphere of Horizon Worlds left him empty and cold. As Johnson explored further, he described the vibe as something akin to “an abandoned carnival.”
When Johnson finally encountered fellow verse users, many of them were minors.
Children, children everywhere
The biggest ‘con’ Johnson experienced during his week in Horizon Worlds came down to the average age of its userbase.
According to Johnson, the environment was regularly overrun with teens. Some users were even younger. None of the avatars available were age-appropriate for youngsters, so child voices possessed adult bodies.
The integrity of many of the experiences was compromised by young people. A comedy club had teens and preteens shouting over the performers. The jury in a metaverse ‘trial’ got bored halfway through the evidence and started causing havoc in the courtroom.
The age gap led Johnson to complain, “I’m so lonely. So far, it’s been hard to find anyone my age to talk to in the ‘verse.”
Eventually, Johnson found some fellow adults at Gatsby’s bar. Speaking to the patrons of Gatsby’s, Johnson encountered friendly adults to spend time with and even shoot some basketball.
He even discovered that some Horizon World participants were enjoying the time they spent in Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse vision.
Johnson did not share their sentiments and exited Horizon Worlds for good. His final verdict is damning.
“I’m never going back in there. This was not fun. What a strange, strange place,” said Johnson.
“There’s absolutely no shot this version of the metaverse takes off. I feel like Meta has spent so much money to acquire users that the ones that are there are there by brute force. Ninety-nine percent of the worlds are empty at all times, and the ones with people are being overrun by infants,” he concluded.