On the first day of CES 2022, Samsung opened up the virtual doors to its My House metaverse experience. The company built a customizable digital home accessible through the Zepeto app — a metaverse platform. With the number of COVID-19 infections reaching new highs, many companies pulled out or downsized their physical presence for CES this year — making virtual options like livestreaming a booth from a phone or, in this case, a metaverse booth, alternative ways to share products.
The problem is, no one asked Samsung for this metaverse experience. Especially not the target audience the company’s press release stated this is for — millennials and zoomers. Just take a look at the press release trying to sell the idea; I’m imagining this pitch from an employee word for word in a Zoom call to Samsung executives:
You’ve likely heard of the metaverse before. It’s no longer a fad, but a well-established trend of the future. With online communication continuously evolving, the metaverse has created new industrial, social and cultural values. Millennials and ‘zoomers’ (members of Gen Z) are using this digital space to project identities that are different from reality, and have created a new world of experiences through active interaction.
Samsung began this metaverse partnership with Zepeto developer Naver Z back in August of last year with the platformer game-like Galaxy House experience that features members of BTS. But the CES version opts for more of a Second Life experience: players can walk around a fenced yard and enter a customizable home packed with Samsung products like the Freestyle projector, Bespoke vacuum cleaner, and The Frame TV.
You start off in the front yard of the house, where you can interact with other people and also visit different homes. Different walls, decor, and finishes are available, but the actual layout of the home remains the same for everyone. You enter the front door into the living room, turn right into the kitchen that has colorful Bespoke appliances, then take another right to what seems to be an open-concept laundry room, and finally move down the hall with the office, bedroom, and bathroom. There’s also a whole front and backyard, but you can’t do anything other than sit down in a few places and sit on top of a treehouse (which you annoyingly can’t even enter).
I fully expected this experience to have a lot of product information — like an actual CES booth — but the makers of this Samsung’s experience apparently wanted the products to remain low-key and focus on how Instagram-ready your imaginary home can look. You can pick up the Bespoke Jet vacuum and run around with it, stand in front of an air purifier and enjoy the breeze, and play video games on the unknown model TV in the living room or on a curved Samsung monitor in the office.
I do wish Samsung made its CES experience on Zepeto more like the previous Galaxy House experience from August. That felt more like a product showcase and more CES-like than this My House experience. I visited the old experience as well — where I am challenged to do some Mario Galaxy-style platform jumping to the top of a Space-themed world so I can take a selfie with Jin from BTS. It was much more engaging than walking into a bathroom in the My House experience — where you can brush your teeth but not do anything else.