Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s CEO for Games, is the latest CTO to address Meta’s vision for the Metaverse. When asked for his definition of the Metaverse, Spencer described it as “a poorly constructed video game” during the WSJ Tech Live conference today, as seen at approximately 1:12 of this video (embedded here). -above).
Meta rebranded from Facebook last year to reflect its focus on the Metaverse, which it says will become a place where you can not only socialize with friends, but also do serious work with colleagues. It seems Spencer doesn’t necessarily agree with the work aspect of the Metaverse, at least in some form. “Video game creators have an incredible ability to create compelling worlds that we want to spend time in,” he told the conference. “For me, building a metaverse that feels like a meeting room…I just find that’s not where I want to spend most of my time.”
Snap and Apple executives also pushed back on the Metaverse
Spencer wasn’t the only person to push back against the idea of the metaverse during WSJ Tech Live. Snap CEO Evan Spiegel defined the metaverse as “living inside a computer” and went on to say, “The last thing I want to do when I get home from work at the end of a long day is to live inside a computer”. Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Greg Joswiak, said metaverse is “a word I will never use.” Disney CEO Bob Chapek said the company tends to “not use ‘the word metaverse’ because to us it’s a broad, broad term. To us it’s next-gen storytelling. .
Despite Spencer’s comments, however, he believes the concept of the metaverse will change. “I tease a bit in [saying it’s] a bad video game. I just think we are ahead,” he said. But he thinks that over time, the Metaverse “is going to end up looking a lot more like video games than some of the patterns I see for the Metaverse today.”
And it’s no surprise that he’s open to the term – whatever it actually means – given that Microsoft has already started discussing the metaverse for its own purposes. The company said its impending acquisition of Activision Blizzard will provide “building blocks for the metaverse,” and CEO Satya Nadella spoke during Meta’s Connect keynote to explain how the two companies are working together to bring things like Teams, Windows, and Xbox to virtual reality.
I’m personally skeptical that everyone will be wearing a headset, or even AR glasses, for the vast majority of their day. But if I had to guess, Meta will probably take some hints from video game companies like Microsoft to make its metaverse ideas more appealing.
Updated October 26, 5:20 p.m. ET: Video added.