Although there is no universally accepted definition, the “metaverse” is broadly defined as a network of 3D virtual spaces where users can socialize, play and work, and some envision it as a successor to mobile Internet.
Asked about the concept in a new video interview with GamesIndustry.bizTake-Two’s Zelnick said he was skeptical of anyone “investing behind buzzwords” and argued that his company already had its own metaverses in games such as GTA Online.
“I’m always skeptical about buzzwords because they mean different things to different people, and people who invest behind buzzwords probably don’t get great results,” Zelnick said.
“I am not at all skeptical of huge, interactive, dynamic, entertaining worlds because our company is responsible for hosting, at least, three of them,” he replied. “The greatest on Earth, grand theft auto onlineand Red Dead Redemption Online then NBA 2K online, and more to come.
“So I’m convinced that people will go to digital worlds to be entertained, and if you provide a super entertaining experience, I think people will flock.
“I think where my skepticism lies is that every company suddenly believes that by saying the word ‘metaverse’ next to their company’s business strategy, it means they will be transformed in some way or other. another and nirvana is around the corner, and naturally it’s not.”
Zelnick pointed out that he is particularly wary of blockchain-based metaverses, adding, “Entertaining people is really hard, building cool properties is incredibly hard. It costs a lot of money, it takes a lot of time and there are a lot of risks.
“So when a company that didn’t exist two years ago launches with a whitepaper, a blockchain-based metaverse, and sells hundreds of millions of dollars worth of digital real estate in two days, of course I’m a bit skeptical.
“Because I have a healthy respect for the difficulty of entertaining people in this real estate, and in the absence of giving people a reason to visit, I don’t know why the real estate has value. And that seems to have been lost in the shuffle.
“But of course, in the end, all speculation ends – the question is not whether, the question is when, and when a lot of money is thrown at a word, and there is a part 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 good”.
Zelnick later clarified that he wasn’t saying every metaverse will fail, just that it’s not a guarantee of success. He likened the situation to the dot-com boom of the late 90s, pointing out that while it led to a number of huge success stories like Meta, Google and Amazon“a lot of businesses have failed” too.
“It would be an overstatement to say that nothing will succeed by focusing on building a massive new digital experience,” he explained. “Of course, I believe there will be many successes and I hope we are part of a continuing group of successful companies.
“But there will also be failures, and simply calling something a ‘metaverse’ or ‘metaverse-adjacent’ is no guarantee that value will be created. In the absence of value creation for the consumer, there is nothing there.
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