The metaverse is a concept that seems to be gaining ground with each passing day. With multiple companies betting big on the idea of a persistent and evolving metaverse, along with the likes of Reggie Fils-Aimé stating that the concept is something “we’re all marching to”, it seems almost inevitable that it will eventually become a dominant force within the gaming space before too long.
Having said that, Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick has expressed his scepticism on companies betting big on the ‘metaverse’ buzzword, stating that it will end “not well” for many companies and that “there will be failures”.
Speaking with GameIndustry.biz (thanks, VGC), Zelnick argues that Take-Two already has its own successful metaverses with the likes of Grand Theft Auto Online and NBA 2K Online, but stresses that companies investing behind the buzzword specifically don’t always end up seeing success:
“I’m always sceptical about buzzwords because they mean different things to different people, and people investing behind buzzwords probably don’t end up having great results. I’m not sceptical at all about huge, interactive, dynamic, entertaining worlds because our company is responsible for housing, minimally, three of them, the biggest on Earth: Grand Theft Auto Online, Red Dead Redemption Online and then NBA 2K online, and others to come.
“So I’m a dyed-in-the-wool believer that people will go to digital worlds to be entertained, and if you offer a super entertaining experience I think people will flock to it. I think where my scepticism lives is every company suddenly believing that by saying the word ‘metaverse’ adjacent to their company’s business strategy, that means that somehow they’ll be transformed and nirvana is around the corner, and naturally that’s not the case.
“Entertaining people is really hard, building hip properties is incredibly hard. It costs a lot of money, it takes a lot of time and there’s a massive amount of risk to it. So when a company that didn’t exist two years ago launches with a white paper, a blockchain-based metaverse and sells hundreds of millions of dollars of digital real estate in a two-day period, sure, I’m a little sceptical. Because I have a healthy respect for how hard it is to entertain people within that real estate, and in the absence of giving people a reason to visit, I don’t know why the real estate has any value. And that seems to have been lost in the shuffle.
“But of course, ultimately, all speculations end – the question is not whether, the question is when, and when lots of money is being thrown at a word, and there is some of that happening, you can probably guess how it’s going to end for a lot of people, and I think the answer is ‘not well’.”
It’s clear that many companies are starting to jump on the metaverse bandwagon, and we can certainly see where Zelnick is coming from; simply investing in whatever seems to be popular at any given time certainly won’t guarantee success.
Nevertheless, this hasn’t stopped the likes of LEGO and Epic Games going forces to create a metaverse, and we’ve also seen Bandai Namco betting on the metaverse with its Gundam franchise.
Nintendo, meanwhile, has expressed interest in the metaverse, but wonders how it can implement the “Nintendo approach” to the idea.