If you follow tech news, you may have been wondering to yourself — what the hell is a metaverse? That’s fair. But if you are wondering what the metaverse is, please, do not go to Jim Cramer for answers.
You probably know Jim Cramer as the Chipotle-loving man on CNBC who yells about stocks and enthusiastically slams a BUY BUY BUY button. Well, after last week’s Facebook earnings call, Cramer sat with his fellow “Squawk on the Street” cohosts to try and parse what the metaverse actually is and what it means for Facebook. I have watched this roughly four-minute video, and friends, I do not think Jim Cramer knows what the metaverse is.
“You have to go to the Unity conference call first quarter, which really explains what the metaverse is,” Cramer says at the beginning of the video. “Which is the idea that you’re looking at basically, it could be Oculus, whatever, and you say, ‘I like the way that person looks in that shirt, I want to order that shirt,’ ultimately, it’s Nvidia, it’s based on Nvidia. I was at Nvidia with Jensen Wong, what happens… it’s conceivable, OK David, listen to me.”
This is what we call a word salad, but it’s only the beginning of a bizarre journey into what the metaverse is, according to Jim Cramer. It should be noted that immediately after this unintelligible explanation, 38 seconds into this video, cohost David Faber actually reads aloud what Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the metaverse was. For the record, that definition was “a persistent, synchronous environment where we can be together, which I think is probably going to resemble some kind of a hybrid between the social platforms that we see today, but an environment where you’re embodied in it.”
To which a flustered Cramer says, “He didn’t tell you enough!”
“That tells me what it is,” Faber says in response. “It’s a holodeck. It’s like Star Trek.” To be clear, this is a decent metaphor for what the metaverse is, as described by Zuckerberg. But no. Cramer is not satisfied.
Cramer goes on to describe a scenario where a lonely person goes into a room, sees another person, and asks, “Do you think… do you like the Mozart? Have you listened to Haffner?” Which then somehow involves a second person recommending listening to Beethoven’s 9th symphony before Mozart or Haffner, but that neither of these two people exists and that is the metaverse. Somehow Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring also works its way into this bonkers metaphor. I can’t tell you why or how, even though I have watched this segment multiple times.
The hosts then liken the metaverse to the “tenth iteration of Zoom,” the Terminator, self-driving mobility, AI, and Minority Report. Cramer then again mentions Unity, Facebook’s SDK for building cross-platform games, as a smaller metaverse. For a second, you think Cramer’s back on track and getting somewhere.
And then he says, “It’s like you walk in, and you really like Shakespeare. King Henry IV, part I. You like the speech about the…” At this point, it devolves into gibberish. “I’m just saying that you can have a discussion about Shakespeare with several people. The person to the left does the comedies, the person to the right does the histories, in front of you does the tragedies, and you kick it around.” Somehow, this too, is the metaverse.
At this point, everyone’s realised this whole endeavour is a wash. No one knows what the metaverse is, though Faber got pretty close with his Holodeck comparison. Instead, to save their asses and segue to a new discussion, they start spouting that Mark Zuckerberg is a genius. And then Cramer says, “When you meet Zuckerberg… he’s actually… quite regular!…” To be clear, not when he’s riding a hoverboard with a flag. He’s regular “when you say, ‘How you doin’? I need a LaCroix.”
Before watching this video, I had a pretty good understanding of what a metaverse was. It was, after all, a term first coined in Neal Stephensen’s seminal classic Snow Crash to refer to a collectively shared virtual space. A VR or mixed reality-based version of the internet. You know, something Facebook’s been pitching and gradually working towards with its VR efforts for years now. It’s also a goofy buzzword to describe what we intuitively understand as the ideal use case for these next-gen technologies. But now that I’ve watched this video on loop, I don’t know man. I just don’t know.