Xbox’s Phil Spencer says the Metaverse is a “poorly built video game”

And I agree with him

Some version of a real life, widespread virtual reality world has been an aspiration of sci-fi enthusiasts for decades, and as technology has improved in recent years, that dream has become closer than ever before. Meta (formerly Facebook) and Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse project have been the closest mainstream attempt we’ve seen, but if that’s the best we have, it’ll be a while until we see a VR world akin to something out of Ready Player One. The internet has taken the opportunity to roast pretty much everything the Metaverse has shown because, well, it looks ridiculous. Take their most recent announcement about adding legs, for example, which apparently don’t even work how they said they do.

One of gaming’s most influential voices, head of Xbox Phil Spencer, recently shared his opinion during WSJ Live, as reported by Tom Warren of The Verge. When asked about his thoughts on the Metaverse as we know it right now, Spencer said that “today it’s a poorly built video game. Building a metaverse that’s like a living room is not how I want to spend my time.” He did add, however, that the concept is still in its infancy and that it will “evolve.”

An evolution is inevitable considering how unpopular the Metaverse has been with both users and actual Meta employees who are paid to use it. The reality is that it looks terrible, and so far, pretty much all we’ve seen it used for is companies trying to either shill whatever they’re selling or make their employees work virtually. Workers are already fed up as it is — no one wants to make their job even harder by wearing a hot, uncomfortable headset to be in a crappy-looking digital office. The whole idea isn’t even novel in the first place. Platforms like VRChat have been around for years, and players actually have fun in that game, so we at least know it’s possible.

In my opinion, a few things will have to happen before any form of metaverse will really take off: the hardware will need to be compressed down into light, easy-to-wear glasses, the look and infrastructure of the metaverse itself will have to improve tenfold, and those developing it need to focus more on making it feel good rather than how much more money they can squeeze out of consumers. I’m completely with Phil Spencer on this — if they want to make something that lasts, Meta needs to get some people who actually know how to make great games on the team, because at the end of the day, all a metaverse really is is a glorified MMO.

Noelle Warner