Nintendo: Ex-president does not trust Meta with the Metaverse
Former Nintendo US President (2006 to 2019) Reggie Fils-Aime sees the Metaverse in the making – but doesn’t trust Meta to hit the big time. He says the company lacks the power to innovate.
He is “bullish” on the Metaverse concept, Fils-Aime notes on Twitter, just as it is evolving with Roblox or Fortnite. Still, the longtime Nintendo president compares the current metaverse hype to the cloud and Internet hype of five and 20 years ago, respectively, as currently every company is trying to fit into the context of technology.
A digital space for socializing and gaming
To the myriad Metaverse definitions, Fils-Aime adds his own: he sees the Metaverse as a digital space to meet friends, especially for gaming, and people who could become friends.
In the context of Fortnite and Roblox, Fils-Aime says the Metaverse already exists: “Big, cultural events, artists interacting with their fans,” Fils-Aime says. “Many different digital experiences brought together through a currency. That’s already happening today.”
Can meta innovate?
By contrast, Fils-Aime doesn’t like Meta’s rather fuzzy definition of Metaverse. This apparently has less to do with the concept than with the company behind it: “Facebook is not an innovative company,” says Fils-Aime.
Meta either bought out other companies or quickly copied others’ ideas. Fils-Aime acknowledges that the original Facebook platform is an innovation. It’s just that nothing came after that, he says.
To be innovative, Fils-Aime says, you have to think about customers first. From his perspective, however, Meta thinks about advertising revenue first. Innovative companies also have a culture of innovation where new ideas are rewarded – again, Fils-Aimes has reservations about Meta.
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VR is still not mature enough, according to Fils-Aimes
Meta’s hardware efforts and current VR hardware are equally unimpressive to Nintendo’s former president. The – according to his information – total of around 20 million VR headsets sold would have meant a “good year” for Nintendo.
He has tested just about every VR headset on the market, none of which have convinced him that virtual reality is ready for the mass market. He is more convinced by augmented reality and cites Pokémon Go as a successful example. But he doesn’t mention that Niantic’s megahit is a flash in the pan for AR gaming so far, and that AR headsets have many more technical challenges than VR headsets.
Fils-Aime’s assessment fits with Nintendo’s stance in recent years that AR is the more attractive technology for gaming than VR. Aside from experiments like the Labo VR children’s toy and a Super Mario Kart VR machine, the gaming giant hasn’t shown any major ambitions when it comes to VR.
The same goes for AR, where so far there’s only been some Mario Kart gimmicks at home and the Super Nintendo World amusement park. More Pokémon Go-style AR games are probably in the works at Nintendo.