Xbox's Phil Spencer slams the metaverse, calling it 'a poorly built video game'
Microsoft's CEO of Gaming didn't pull any punches when sharing his thoughts about Meta's vision of the metaverse
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny: metaverse musings
🙈 Xbox’s Phil Spencer isn’t convinced by the metaverse in its current form
😅 Spencer likened it to “a poorly built video game” and echoed the concerns of other CEOs
😮 Meta has invested heavily in the metaverse, spending over $9bn so far
🥽 More virtual reality headsets are on the way next year, including the Meta Quest 3 and PSVR 2
Xbox head honcho Phil Spencer has candidly shared how he feels about the metaverse – and Mark Zuckerberg might want to look away now.
Speaking at the WSJ Tech Live conference, Spencer likened the metaverse to “a poorly built video game”, and suggested that he can’t see it taking off as a social space, at least not in its current form.
Spencer said the metaverse feels “like a meeting room” and went on to say, “that’s not where I want to spend most of my time.”
Microsoft’s CEO of Gaming wasn’t the only dissenting voice when it comes to the metaverse. Apple’s SVP of worldwide marketing Greg Joswiak said that the metaverse is “a word I’ll never use” while Snap CEO Evan Spiegel described the metaverse as “living inside a computer” and said, “it’s the last thing I want to do at the end of the day when I get home from work, is live inside a computer.”
Disney CEO Bob Chapek was less dismissive of the virtual reality technology, saying it’s a word the company tends “not to use because for us that’s a big, broad term. For us, it’s next-generation storytelling.”
Despite the reluctance from some business execs and consumers, Meta, which rebranded from Facebook last year, is all in. The company has invested heavily in bringing its vision of the metaverse to life, but the results have been decidedly mixed.
That hasn’t deterred Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, though. Speaking at Meta’s Q3 2022 financial results, Zuckerberg was bullish about the company’s investment into the metaverse.
“Look, I get that a lot of people might disagree with this investment, but from what I can tell, I think this is going to be a very important thing,” he said. “People will look back a decade from now and talk about the importance of the work being done here.” (Thanks, The Verge.)
Meta’s Reality Labs division lost a staggering $3.7 billion during the last quarter, and a total of $9.4 billion this year so far. Meta’s Q3 net income fell by 52%, though its active users and employed staff rose by 4% and 28%, respectively.
Meta announced its Quest Pro headset, which costs the princely sum of $1,499. It’s aimed at “high-end professionals”, according to Zuckerberg, and uses a combination of augmented reality and mixed reality.
Meta recently raised the price of its Quest 2 headset by $100 in August, which could make Sony’s upcoming PSVR 2 more competitive. To combat that somewhat, Meta may launch the Quest 3 in time to challenge Sony’s next-gen VR headset.
Sony is yet to share a PSVR 2 pre-order date other than “early 2023”, and the list of PSVR 2 games continues to trickle through. The Japanese company will be be hoping it can make a splash in the virtual reality space, and attract the 25 million+ PS5 owners to pick up the peripheral.
Of course, you’ll need to find a PS5 restock before you pick up a PSVR 2, which still isn’t as easy as it should be. Sony has promised more PS5 stock for the holidays, but demand continues to outstrip supply almost two years after the console launched.
Personally, the idea of jumping into a virtual world and blocking myself from the outside world for hours at a time has never appealed to me. Meta’s Horizon Worlds does look like a badly made video game and seems about as fun as watching paint dry, in my humble opinion. Check out this super awkward clip of Nope director Jordan Peele reacting to the wonders of the metaverse below…
If this is the future, count me out.
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