By Webb Wright, NY Reporter

June 15, 2022 | 4 min read

Many people are confused about what the metaverse will look and feel like, and how it will impact their lives. Two new ads from Meta seek to dispel some of that confusion while generating excitement for the future.

There’s been a lot of hype recently about the metaverse, and how it could theoretically change pretty much everything about our day-to-day lives – the way we work, the way we play, the way we date, and so on. But those grand claims don’t tell us much about what future experiences in the metaverse will actually look and feel like. And it isn’t clear to many people today why they should care about the dawning of a new, virtual reality (VR)-based age. (One recent survey from software company QAD found that “over 80% of respondents are at least ‘somewhat’ confused by the metaverse.”)

Meta, the company that’s arguably been pushing the metaverse the hardest, seems to understand this. In two new marketing campaigns, the company aims to provide a clearer, more concrete representation of how the metaverse is positively affecting lives in the present, and how it might continue to do so in the future.

The first new ad – titled ‘The impact will be real’ – casts an eye on the (vaguely distant) future. Set to a sweeping orchestral soundtrack, the narrator walks us through a number of potential scenarios in which the metaverse could have real, pragmatic social benefits, such as a surgeon practicing an operation on a virtual body “before laying her hands on a real patient.” (The surgeon in question appears to be wearing some kind of futuristic haptic finger gloves.)

Though the ad is apparently aiming for an air of practical realism, it also has a touch of fantasy. This is not unlike Meta’s recent Super Bowl ad, which starred a retired animatronic dog who, after a series of heartbreaking misadventures, accidentally dons a VR headset and is transported back to a virtual world in which he relives his glory days performing in an all-robot band.

Some of the new ad portrayals of the VR experience have a slightly over-the-top, sci-fi flair to them.

In one scene, for example, a group of schoolkids materializes, Star Trek-like, into a lifelike rendering of ancient Rome. In another scene, a student dons a pair of VR goggles and is transported to a very real-looking lecture hall, whereupon he begins toying with a giant, floating hologram of a cell, demonstrating the process of mitosis for his classmates – who, notably, appear to be every inch the flesh-and-blood human beings and not the cartoonish avatars that presently inhabit the metaverse.

It’s possible that VR might eventually evolve to the point of being able to generate such photorealistic experiences, but we’re a long way away.

The company’s second new ad, titled ‘Fishing with Dad,’ is going – as you might be able to guess from the title – straight for a dose of sentimentality. We see a charming father and daughter, separated by thousands of miles, reconnecting behind Oculus headsets for a little virtual fishing expedition and friendly banter. The music is chipper, like the soundtrack from a Pixar movie. “It’s nice that we’re actually doing something together so far apart from each other,” the daughter tells us toward the end of the spot.

The core theme behind both of the new ads seems to be that the metaverse will be about far more than games and virtual clothing – it will be about improving the quality of lives in a direct, appreciable way; through enhanced learning opportunities, for example, and deeper social connections across vast distances. Whether or not Meta’s vision for the future of the metaverse becomes a reality remains to be seen.

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