I like gadgets, technology and stuff.
I also use “investment research” as an excuse to buy said stuff, and, as a result of examining the case for Facebook’s metaverse, I am pleased to report that I now own a HP Reverb G2 virtual reality headset and a Steamdeck gaming platform (actually a mini gaming linux laptop). 🎮😀
In fact, the only investment advice I have been giving for the last two years, when asked, is “buy stuff” (preferably of the useful variety).
Facebook has its own VR headset, the wireless Oculus Quest, and, its parent company Meta, has invested (imo gambled) hugely in people adopting this tech and it driving them towards Zuckerberg’s vision of the metaverse.
But this vision has been faltering if the share price of meta is anything to go by.
This could be because of the parlous trajectory of stock markets at the moment or because investors have been doing their research😉 like me.
In a nutshell the Quest is a standalone (untethered) headset and whilst no one would argue that it’s not a great bit of tech it lacks the processing power of its tethered brethren and with power comes sophistication. This is why tethered headsets are popular with pc gamers as the pc does all the heavy lifting required
So, currently the experience is neither sufficiently mobile (tethered) nor sufficiently sophisticated (untethered) for cleverly disguised adults like me to widely adopt.
But now the technology may be available to build an untethered headset with the processing power of a pc, as I’ll explain below.
On the “social” aspect, whilst I have not yet “visited” the meta equivalent social network/chat room, Horizon Worlds, because the Quest and the Reverb are mutually exclusive competing platforms, I have been unimpressed by the Steam equivalents like VRChat.
So, what might work?
Well, as stated above, the Quest is not as sophisticated as the Reverb simply by dint of computer processing power. Whereas my Reverb is attached by umbilical chord to my PC, which was originally purchased to explore AI and Deep Learning (ie., it has a lot of processing power – see my foldingathome team) the Quest has to rely on it’s own processing power as it is properly portable.
Which means that currently “sophistication” and “portability” are mutually exclusive terms in the virtual reality world.
Which leads me on nicely to the Steamdeck and truly portable sophistication (and if Meta aren’t working on similar hardware as described below then they deserve to lose this race).
Child of Steamdeck and Index/Reverb.
What excited me about the Steamdeck (apart from gaming) is that it is actually a powerful mini computer running a version of the linux operating system (it can run windows too) and it effectively provides a useable alternative to my 2kg gaming laptop, both for business and gaming purposes.
The phenomenal power to size coefficient (I just made that up) is demonstrated by the fact that it can play “full size” PC games like God of War (size=64Gb) and Cyberpunk 2077 (size=67Gb) despite being fully portable like the Quest.
If it can do this it can probably also mine bitcoin🤔 nevermind process a spreadsheet macro or a database stored procedure!
The natural conclusion of this is the marriage of the Steamdeck to the Reverb (or Index); the progeny of which ought to be a truly portable AND sophisticated VR headset that will get developers so excited that the metaverse will become a mainstream reality in quick time.
I should add here, that Valve, the owners of Steam, already have excellent form in the VR headset world having introduced us to the highly lauded and very expensive Valve Index, so the said child of the Index/Reverb and Steamdeck is a very real possibility.
My investment analysis concludes that I should buy shares in Valve Corporation, owner of Steam, (except I cannot because it is privately owned) over those of Meta any day!
But I’d certainly be more interested in Meta if they acquired Valve ….