Microsoft CEO admits the Metaverse is actually just games

Daniel Sims

Posts: 447   +18
Staff
Why it matters: Ever since tech companies like Facebook (when it renamed itself Meta) started describing the metaverse as a virtual 3D world where people will meet using avatars, people immediately started comparing it to video games. The CEO of Microsoft this week seems to have leaned into the association, suggesting Microsoft’s history in gaming will help its metaverse ambitions.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently held an interview with Financial Times (reprinted by Ars Technica), wherein he laid out the potential for the metaverse and its similarities with games. He went so far as to say the two are essentially the same thing.

“You and I will be sitting on a conference room table soon with either our avatars or our holograms or even 2D surfaces with surround audio,” Nadella said, reflecting on 20 years of the Xbox and the varied game franchises Microsoft produces, like Forza and Flight Simulator. “Guess what? The place where we have been doing that forever … is gaming.”

Nadella then suggested Microsoft’s plans involve making game-building tools more widely available to those who want to build in the metaverse. One example he put forward might be a digital simulation of a factory. Nadella also thinks younger generations, already accustomed to using avatars in games, will more easily acclimate to using avatars for other purposes.

In the rest of the lengthy interview, Nadella touched on other subjects like what the future could bring for remote work and an internet one can navigate with a single consistent identity.

According to recent reports, Microsoft’s metaverse ambitions might be in trouble. The company canceled a newer version of the HoloLens, a mixed-reality deal with Samsung crumbled, and some employees in that division left to join Meta.

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Faelan

Posts: 144   +154
Please tell me it’s going to be a little more interesting than that picture. Can’t see why I would want to spend time in a metaverse that is just a boring soulless cartoonish representation of real life, when I can fire up my favorite MMO, and be a cat girl with a 9ft sword while running around smashing dragons.
 

BSim500

Posts: 901   +2,119
"Ever since tech companies like Facebook (when it renamed itself Meta) started describing the metaverse as a virtual 3D world where people will meet using avatars, people immediately started comparing it to video games."
OK, let's clear up this crap. Facebook didn't invent the phrase Metaverse, it's been around since at least 1992:-

"The term metaverse coined in Neal Stephenson's 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash, where humans, as programmable avatars, interact with each other and software agents, in a three-dimensional virtual space that uses the metaphor of the real world. Stephenson used the term to describe a virtual reality-based successor to the internet." (link)

What next, "let's thank Mark Zuckerberg for personally eliminating Smallpox and inventing the transistor"?....
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 1,025   +768
Please tell me it’s going to be a little more interesting than that picture. Can’t see why I would want to spend time in a metaverse that is just a boring soulless cartoonish representation of real life, when I can fire up my favorite MMO, and be a cat girl with a 9ft sword while running around smashing dragons.

Is that what Sims look like x years ago . Seems like chairs get weird foots - humans get truncated .
Woman with 60s or 70s flower dress - plaid shirt man wearing his baseball cap back to front .

I find Plaid shirts hilarious when they became fashionable - at my University in the 80s - Engineering students wore them - and they knew nothing about fashion or even pretended to care.
Also didn't lumberjacks wear them - what lumberjack wears a baseball cap backwards ?- they have safety helmets
 

NightAntilli

Posts: 900   +1,175
The best representation of the Metaverse is the movie called "Ready Player One". It's not just a game. It has a lot of elements of games, but, it goes beyond that.
 

waclark

Posts: 347   +236
OK, let's clear up this crap. Facebook didn't invent the phrase Metaverse, it's been around since at least 1992:-

"The term metaverse coined in Neal Stephenson's 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash, where humans, as programmable avatars, interact with each other and software agents, in a three-dimensional virtual space that uses the metaphor of the real world. Stephenson used the term to describe a virtual reality-based successor to the internet." (

link)

What next, "let's thank Mark Zuckerberg for personally eliminating Smallpox and inventing the transistor"?....
Great book.
 

waclark

Posts: 347   +236
Is that what Sims look like x years ago . Seems like chairs get weird foots - humans get truncated .
Woman with 60s or 70s flower dress - plaid shirt man wearing his baseball cap back to front .

I find Plaid shirts hilarious when they became fashionable - at my University in the 80s - Engineering students wore them - and they knew nothing about fashion or even pretended to care.
Also didn't lumberjacks wear them - what lumberjack wears a baseball cap backwards ?- they have safety helmets

The truncated bodies are usually a function of compute power. Frankly, why not just have floating heads? All that body stuff is sure to result in avatar body-shaming down the road. Oh, your avatar has small boobs. Or what kind of haircut is that? Etc etc

As for plaid. Plaid has come and gone for years. It seems popular in colder climates where the shirts are often flannel for warmth. Personally, I like flannel plaid shirts, but yeah, no self-respecting lumberjack is wearing his hat backwards.

In this case, this is a hipster, of which there are many at MS. He's not being a pseudo lumberjack, he's being hip and hipsters don't have to follow logic. They're hip!
 

Michael7

Posts: 95   +91
Whatever metaverse is going to look like (and there will be at least few versions of it), I am not going to buy Zuck's version of it. Facebook has shown consistently that it places ad-revenue, selling of user data and promoting addictive and often toxic behavior while trying to cover it on its platforms above anything else so partaking in its metaverse where they will have much greater control of its users than on Facebook and Instagram is just nuts.
In all likelihood it will fail just as its crypto project and its latest massive stock price drop is the best indicator of it.
 
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Sausagemeat

Posts: 1,597   +1,421
Unsure why the headline is “MS admits”. It should be “MS believes” that the metaverse is just a game. I think that’s why they paid a stupendous amount of money for Activision blizzard. If they didn’t buy them then Facebook or someone might have instead.

What we have coming is basically a second life like experience from the social media companies. It will be extremely addictive, divisive and monetised. I personally struggle to see it as being very successful but I’m a person who values real experiences over virtual ones. Which makes me old fashioned I guess.
 

hwertz

Posts: 140   +78
Fair enough, and it shows good sense on Nadella's part to say this I think.

Three points:
1) Whether the "metaverse" has uses other than gaming or not, there are 3D-graphics massively multiplayer online RPGs, so it totally makes sense to use the experience and some of the code from that for 3D-graphics massively multiuser online .. collaboration space or whatever.

2) SecondLife did this 15+ years ago, with MUCH better graphics than Microsoft and Facebook are demoing now. Since the users supply the content (including textures and meshes), there are some historical areas that are intentionally kept like they were 15+ years ago (which already look better than these demos) but most areas have quite modern-looking graphics. I'm a tad appalled at the frankly crap graphics quality Facebook and Microsoft are demoing given SL did this better then, and are still in business doing this now.

3) SecondLife had a massive hype cycle, it was going to have university courses, maybe international diplomatic meetings, news bureaus and magazines (a few tech magazines did briefly open up offices in there), lots of commerce, gaming, and on and on, oh yeah it was going to change the world. All with users supplying the content and being able to sell, buy, and trade it with each other. Type hype died off. Most of the land is still turned on (since it costs little to cram a bunch of sims onto a virtual server, and they don't fire up and start using CPU time or RAM until someone goes into the area...) so there's still museums, art exibits, cities, sci-fi stuff, games, and on and on to see, and there are people seeing them still. But the bulk of the human usage is 1) gambling. 2) Porn. 3) People standing around to chat -- there are aftermarket "text only" clients so they are not even using anything like a "metaverse", they are sticking their avatar somewhere and just using SL to chat instead of Whatsapp, Telegram, etc. SL is making more money than ever now, but it's just from taking a few percent cut from the gambling revenues.