Future of Metaverse should focus on entertainment, gaming executives say

Several prominent technology executives have criticized Meta’s metaverse, claiming that it should be emphasized more for entertainment purposes.

Speaking at the WSJ Tech Live conference, Phil Spencer, the CEO of Microsoft’s Xbox division, called the project “a poorly built video game” in which users would be reticent to invest any time.

Spencer said that, while he was not entirely opposed to the Metaverse’s future, he believed it would look very different from Meta’s current offering. He argued that Meta’s Horizon Worlds’ mediocre visuals and limited freshness, as well as its virtual workspaces, had turned people off.

Video game developers, according to Spencer, have an extraordinary ability to create enticing digital spaces that draw people in, such as those found in Minecraft.

“Video game creators have an amazing ability to build compelling worlds that we want to spend time in,” he said.

And he was perplexed as to why anyone would want to participate in a metaverse that resembles a meeting room. “For me, building a metaverse that looks like a meeting room, I just find that’s not where I want to spend most of my time,” the CEO said.

“There are engagement models where you can really have productive interactions and get things done in 3D virtual spaces, and I think they’re going to look a lot more like video games than some of the models we’re seeing today,” he continued.

Spencer was adamant that significant skill transition would occur between companies developing the metaverse and game developers, saying, “We’re going to learn from what video games have done.”

More criticisms against Metaverse

Spencer wasn’t the only one who questioned the concept of the metaverse during the event. Snap CEO Evan Spiegel described the metaverse as “living inside a computer” and said, “The last thing I want to do when I get home from work at the end of a long day is live inside a computer.”

According to Apple’s SVP of Worldwide Marketing, Greg Joswiak, the metaverse is “a word I’ll never use.” Disney CEO Bob Chapekn also said that the company “doesn’t use” the word metaverse “because that’s a big, broad term for us. It’s next-generation storytelling for us.”

Palmer Freeman Luckey, the current CEO of defense technology firm Anduril Industries, expressed a similar view of Meta’s project. “It’s not fun, it’s not good,” he said.

Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa said that the company had no plans to develop its metaverse strategy in the near future. However, this would change if the company, which is known for its simple, intuitive game designs, discovered a way to put its own spin on a metaverse offering.

“As an entertainment company, our main focus is on ways to deliver fresh surprises and fun to our consumers,” Furukawa said.

Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida said Sony emphasized entertainment as a key driver of development, saying, “While there are metaverses centered around areas such as communication and blockchain/NFT-based transactions, as a creative entertainment company, Sony’s first priority is to create a metaverse around entertainment.”

Yoshida claimed that Sony, due to its diverse technological offerings, was in a unique position to contribute to the growth of the metaverse. He praised the company’s progress in VR/AR and its real-time CG rendering.