Video games companies believe the metaverse should be a place people go to have fun, not to do work.
Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer said as much when asked about the metaverse at the WSJ Tech Live conference.
While loosely understood as a shared, immersive, virtual environment, the metaverse as projected by Meta Platforms has come to dominate the current discourse surrounding it.
So far, people have not been impressed by the sub-par graphics and limited novelty of Meta’s Horizon Worlds, not to mention its virtual workspaces.
Spencer equates this offering as “a poorly-built video game,” where users would naturally hesitate to spend any time.
He said that video game developers have the remarkable ability to build enticing, digital spaces that draw people in. Consequently, he asks why consumers would want to participate in “a metaverse that looks like a meeting room.”
Metaverse Emphasis Should be on Entertainment
In spite of Meta’s initial vision for the metaverse, the concept is still in its early stages and remains intriguing. The President of Japanese gaming giant Nintendo Shuntaro Furukawa said so in an interview earlier this year.
The company’s popular release Animal Crossing: New Horizons has been touted as already incorporating elements of the metaverse. In the latest release of the series, players can collaborate to complete a series of domestics tasks in a shared, simulated environment.
Beyond this aspect, however, Furukawa said Nintendo had no immediate plans to develop its metaverse strategy. This would change, he said, if the company, known for its simple, intuitive game designs, finds a way to put its own spin on a metaverse offering. “As a company that provides entertainment, our main emphasis is on ways to deliver fresh surprises and fun to our consumers,” he said.
The CEO of Sony, behind the rival PlayStation gaming platforms, also emphasized entertainment as the focal point for development. “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,” said Chief Executive Kenichiro Yoshida.
Yoshida also acknowledged that the business conglomerate, with its diverse technological offerings, was in a unique position to contribute to the development of the metaverse. In addition to its real-time CG rendering, he also referred to advancements it was making in VR/AR.
Getting Better All the Time
One platform has already started to take a gaming-oriented approach to the metaverse. Blockchain platform Zilliqa said it would be releasing a Web3-focused gaming console and hub next year. The console would integrate Web3 elements, such as crypto wallets and mining. It also intends to enable gamers to earn cryptocurrency for completing in-game quests.
In light of these approaches, it’s unlikely that Meta’s vision will remain the popular perspective for long. Even Microsoft’s Spencer believes that video games will play a leading role in how the metaverse unfolds. It’s “going to end up looking a lot more like video games than some of the models that I see for the metaverse today,” he said.
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