Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick has expressed his skepticism about the concept of ‘metaverse’ and warns that it could end up wrong for companies trying to exploit the buzzword.
Although there is no universally accepted definition, ‘metaverse’ is broadly defined as a network of virtual 3D spaces where users can socialize, play and work, and some imagine it as a sequel to the mobile internet.
Companies like Sony, Epic, Lego, Meta, Krafton, Bandai Namco and Microsoft are all planning their own bids for the concept.
When asked about the concept in a new video interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Take-Two’s Zelnick said he was skeptical of anyone “investing behind buzzwords” and argued that his company already had its own metavers in games like GTA Online.
“I’m always skeptical of buzzwords because they mean different things to different people, and people who invest behind buzzwords are unlikely to end up with good results,” Zelnick said.
“I’m not at all skeptical of huge, interactive, dynamic, entertaining worlds because our business is responsible for housing, at least three of them,” he replied. “The biggest on earth, Grand Theft Auto Online and Red Dead Redemption Online and then NBA 2K online and others to come.
“So I am a deep 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 skepticism lies is that any company suddenly thinks that by saying the word ‘metaverse’ next to their company’s business strategy, it means that they will be transformed in some way. , and nirvana is around the corner, and of course that is not the case. ”
Zelnick pointed out that he is particularly suspicious of blockchain-based metavers, adding: “Entertaining people is really difficult, building hip properties is incredibly difficult. It costs a lot of money, it takes a lot of time and there is a huge risk. by the.
So when a company that did not exist two years ago launches a white paper, a blockchain-based metaverse, and sells hundreds of millions of dollars in digital real estate over a two-day period, I’m obviously a little skeptical.
“Because I have a healthy respect for how difficult it is to entertain people within that property, and in the absence of giving people a reason to visit, I do not know why the property has any value. And it seems to have been lost in the mix.
“But of course all speculation ends in the end – the question is not about, the question is when, and when a lot of money is thrown at a word, and some of it happens, you can probably guess how it will end for many people and I think the answer is ‘not good’. ”
Zelnick later clarified that he did not say that all metavers will fail, simply that there is no guarantee of success. He likened the situation to the dot-com boom of the late 1990s, pointing out that while it led to a number of big success stories such as Meta, Google and Amazon, “many companies” failed “as well.
“It would be an exaggeration to say that nothing will succeed, focused on building a new, massive digital experience,” he explained. “Of course, I believe there will be many successes, and hopefully we are among a continuing group of companies that will succeed.
“But there will also be failures, and just calling something ‘metavers’ or ‘metavers-adjacent’ is no guarantee that value will be created. In the absence of creating value for the consumer, there is nothing there.”