Meta (formerly Facebook) had a rough time in 2022 trying to convince everyone the metaverse is the hot new thing in town. While Web3 could well be the future of how we work and play online, why is Meta struggling to get the basics right?
A new update to its social VR space, Meta Horizon Worlds, has removed the configured jump button from pushing in the right thumbstick to the A button. It's taken Meta a year to realise Nintendo got this right back in 1985 when it released the NES and we all tapped A to make Mario jump. Turn back time and try it for yourself by getting one of the best retro consoles, that prove if it's not broken don't change it.
This update comes as new rumours around the forthcoming Apple VR headset circulate, suggesting Meta's biggest rival could deliver a virtual reality tech designed for collaboration and controller-free use that imitates Apple's Mac iOS. And, of course, Sony has PSVR 2 launched next month.
The Meta Horizon Worlds v94 update makes a great boast about this switch, with Meta acknowledging not every liked the original control scheme: "… for many [this] was uncomfortable or inconvenient and resulted in unwanted rotation while jumping," states the update.
As a gamer of 40 years, and previous editor of many games magazines including Official PlayStation, I find it comical that Meta is spending billions of dollars on its metaverse and VR platform but is still getting the basics wrong – 'pressing A to jump' sounds glib but it's a fundamental game design that works.
Meta has struggled to convince people its approach to the metaverse is the right one, with Meta virtual designer clothing causing outrage, talk of turning Instagram into an NFT marketplace was poorly received and its AI video generator for Facebook was controversial.
Of course we're on the first step of the ladder when it comes to the metaverse, and Meta is in early and making the mistakes others will learn from. Meta's Quest Pro and Meta Quest 2 headsets are excellent and represent good value, and make it onto our guide to the best VR headsets, so it's not all bad. But seriously, Meta needs to start getting the basics right, or else 'press A to jump' could be written on its virtual tombstone.