Meta and other companies have so far put a lot of effort into selling to consumers on Metaverse, for which very little has been shown. It is difficult to study something that does not exist and “metavers” are certainly not in any meaningful form. Whether or not people want to wear headsets all day is also controversial, with video calls making much less contact with 3D avatars than with real people. A preliminary study on the effectiveness of working on Metaverse confirms what the Nessiers have always said: This is not an effective or fun way to spend time waking up.
The study (PDF) was conducted by four organizations: Coburg University of Applied Sciences, Microsoft Research, University of Cambridge and University of Primorska Slovenia. It used 16 participants who worked on a typical desktop PC for one week, then did the same for another week in Virtual Reality (VR). The desktop setup was a Logitech K830 keyboard with a curved monitor and a built-in trackpad. They used the same keyboard for the VR setup, but a Meta Quest 2 headset. They were all working using the Chrome Remote Desktop. The study authors say it was conducted because not much was known about staying in a VR environment for long-term work purposes. For example, the study doubled a five-day work week to eight hours a day. Participants were also given a 45-minute break for lunch. The authors summarize the results as “expected”, saying “VR results give significantly worse ratings across most systems.”
The authors note that the study found that “simulators related to the level of illness, [and] The average usability rating is below. “Also, two participants dropped out on the first day of using VR due to” migraine, nausea, and anxiety. “However, they also reported that participants overcame their initial discomfort at the end of the study.
Once this was done participants were asked to rate their experiences in two environments against each other. According to PCGamer’s summary, VR scores were much worse than the standard desktop in several categories. Those on VR experienced 42 percent more frustration, 11 percent more “negative effects” and 19 percent more anxiety. Overall well-being was reported to be 20 percent lower. Not surprisingly, eye strain also increased by 48 percent. Kicker though participants reported that their productivity decreased by 16 percent. This should attract the attention of any manager considering a full-time VR deployment for their workforce.
Despite this relatively weak search for a VR workplace, there are two caveats we need to add. First, it is only a study. This is not a definite answer to the question surrounding Metaverse. To the credit of the study, it tried to mimic a normal work environment. Some of these include using the Quest 2 headset instead of the more expensive, more comfortable prototype.
Second, one of the current critiques of Metaverse is that the hardware required for its experience is very primitive. No one wants to wear an awkward headset all day for work, play or a combination of both. Generally speaking, it seems that the hardware required for this type of environment must be very light and unobstructed, And Much more powerful. Intel’s graphics guru Raja has talked about this before, actually. According to him, we will need 1,000 times the computing power of today’s sophisticated computer. Anyone can guess what this type of hardware will look like, but it’s probably a decade away, if not more.