Microsoft’s gaming CEO has poured water on Meta’s metaverse project, describing it as “a poorly built video game.”

Phil Spencer, speaking at the WSJ Tech Live conference, had a less than enthusiastic take on the quality of the project in comparison to modern video games. 

He said that “video game creators have an amazing ability to build compelling worlds that we want to spend time in,” referencing game environments such as those of Minecraft. "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 exec was not entirely dismissive of the future of the Metaverse but feels it will look much different from Meta’s current offering. 


“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 added, referring to how work in the metaverse could be conducted.

Spencer feels there will be significant skills transfer between companies creating the metaverse and the gaming industry: “We’re going to learn from what video games have done.”

Palmer Luckey, who currently leads the defense technology firm Anduril Industries, had even stronger words about Meta’s project while speaking at the same event, saying: “It’s not fun, it is not good.” 

Luckey is no stranger to virtual worlds himself, having founded Occulus Rift at the age of 19.


Meta’s metaverse ambitions

Unfortunately for Meta, Luckey’s allegation may have some substance behind it.

Meta’s Horizon Worlds team was reportedly reprimanded for barely using the platform, despite being encouraged to do so, according to reporting by The Verge. 

One leaked internal memo from Meta’s VP of Metaverse Vishal Shah reportedly read “Why don’t we love the product we’ve built so much that we use it all the time?”

Apple’s SVP of worldwide marketing Greg Joswiak joined critics, saying the metaverse is “a word I’ll never use” while also speaking at WSJ Tech Live.

Meta’s passion project may have more to worry about than just harsh words. It looks like profitability may be a long way off for the firm’s titular project. 

The firm revealed yesterday that its Reality Labs metaverse division lost over $3.6 billion in the third quarter of 2022, a steep jump compared to $2.63 billion at the same time last year.

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