“Let’s meet in the Metaverse.” –A tale of a 1-1 meeting in VR

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

I was passionate about VR in the mid-’90s while collaborating with SGI to build VRML demos to showcase their Indigo and Onyx machines at conferences.

Then it passed me for a while; I barely created a Second Life account, mainly by a lack of proper hardware.

Following the launch of Workrooms, I decided to buy an Oculus Quest 2: after all, I work for Automattic, a fully distributed company, and we haven’t been able to travel for a while now; maybe VR could help?

The onboarding phase

A good friend, and colleague, also owns the same headset, so we decided to try together using Workrooms for our weekly meeting.

Getting on the app was hard enough to delay our experiment by several months. It primarily happened because I had no Facebook account. So I had first to create one and then convince them it wasn’t fake.

That was a ridiculous amount of friction, but I guess that when you have four billion users, you don’t care that much anymore…

The day of the meeting

We overcame those obstacles. We are motivated nerds, and no user experience is terrible enough to keep us out!

We are also of the cautious kind, so we both logged in 15 minutes in advance, just in case. We were glad to have done that; the inevitable headset update was looming around the corner.

An ultra-realistic experience

We then spent ten more minutes visiting different wrong rooms before finally entering the same together. That was the most realistic part of the experience. Who has never been late to a meeting because they couldn’t locate the right room?

Too realistic for my taste

So there we were, in a cartoonish office straight out of the Incredibles.

That felt so wrong. Total freedom to create any environment, and we were sitting in a random office building.

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