In late 1990s and early 2000, I tried out "Active Worlds" and more. They let me register an account and then walk around in a vast 3D world and chat with people/avatars. It was surreal and frankly felt more scary and unsettling than exciting, in spite of the bright and colorful visuals.
Fast-forward to ~2007, there was a brief mainstream "Second Life" craze. I tried it out for about 15 minutes then and was forced to conclude that it looked even worse than what I remember from those many years earlier.
Now there's yet again this "Metaverse" being constantly mentioned/pushed. This time, I didn't even bother downloading anything (I bet I couldn't even join it now anyway, as it seems to require a Facebook account or something), but rather just watched gameplay footage on YouTube.
It looks exactly like it did 22+ years ago. No joke.
It's still the same worse-than-cartoony, deadly dull, sterile look. I expected it to be literally photo-realistic at this point, but they seem to not even be trying.
Can somebody please explain to me how it's possible that so much happened up until the late 1990s, but since then, apparently, nothing has improved whatsoever? I know for a fact that they are able to make extremely realistic simulations, so why can't I launch an EXE on my desktop right now which lets me walk around in first person in an extremely realistic virtual city and own my own virtual apartment and go down to the store and buy items and have all kinds of exciting adventures which I would never dare or be able to do in real life?
Not only are we "not quite there yet" -- they don't even seem to be trying, or even using existing technology. I don't get it.