Journalists attended, virtually, a presentation of Horizon Workrooms, Facebook’s virtual reality app, on August 17th. FACEBOOK REALITY LABS
I have always had a relatively distant fascination for virtual reality. Like many science fiction fans, I have already seen Ready Player One (2018), Steven Spielberg’s film, telling me that it would be really great if there was such an experience one day. In recent years, by the way, I have not missed anything of the breathtaking virtual concerts of Travis Scott and Ariana Grande in Fortnite where tens of millions of players have connected around the world.
Like other Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, Mark Zuckerberg is fascinated by the “metavers”, a concept inspired by a fictional virtual world described in Neal Stephenson’s novel, The Virtual Samurai (1992). “Think of it as an embodied Internet, explained, in July, the boss of the tech giant, in a long interview in The Verge. Instead of just seeing content, you are inside “the content.
Although I have never worn a virtual headset in my life, I have always found this project quite attractive. So, when I was offered to attend the presentation of a new virtual reality tool developed by Facebook, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to learn a little more about this emerging world.
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What was not my disappointment when I learned that the tool in question was not a new game or an unusual experience of discovering space, but … a virtual meeting room. An application called Horizon Workplace, which is released Thursday, August 19 in Beta version on the online stores of Oculus Quest 2, the VR headset from Facebook. I, who already saw myself in Ready Player One, am entitled to a 2.0 version of zoom meetings.
A fake Breton in Silicon Valley
A few minutes before the start of the presentation, here I am with a ridiculous helmet on my head, ready to choose my avatar for the presentation meeting. After having hesitated for a long time to adorn myself with a magnificent fuchsia pink hair and an emerald look, I finally decide to stay sober. For a first meeting with executives of the American company, it is better to make a good impression. Dressed in a sailor shirt and a yellow sweater inspired by Breton waxes, I am ready to discover this new stage of the Mark Zuckerberg version multiverse.
Once the technical adjustments have been completed, I then arrive in a large meeting room with gigantic glass windows. Around me, a dozen people hidden under their avatar are waiting for the start of the presentation, sitting well in their places around a large circular wooden desk.
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