PlayStation inventor Ken Kutaragi shuns the metaverse, finds VR headsets "annoying"

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,446   +1,026
Staff member
The big picture: While the metaverse seems to solve some contemporary problems, such as delivering practical presentations with quasi-physical objects in a work-from-home scenario, it does lend to some dystopian connotations. The movie The Matrix and the comic book Peace of Mind both warn that the AIs and corporations controlling the metaverse do not necessarily have humanity's wellbeing at the top of their priority list.

The metaverse seems to be the next in-thing in the tech world. Everybody is talking about it, and seemingly every Big Tech company wants in on the ground floor. Mark Zuckerberg is so enthusiastic about the metaverse he changed Facebook's name to "Meta."

For those unfamiliar with the metaverse idea, the concept is to create a virtual universe within the real universe where people can interact without leaving their homes. Think of work meetings with avatars that can move around a virtual room instead of Zoom meetings (below). Coupled with NFTs, metaverse denizens can even "own" things that do not exist.

However, not everyone is onboard the metaverse train. Ken Kutaragi, the inventor of the PlayStation and former CEO of Sony's gaming division, told Bloomberg that he couldn't see the point of a "quasi-real" world.

"Being in the real world is very important, but the metaverse is about making quasi-real in the virtual world, and I can't see the point of doing it," said Kutaragi in an interview. "You would rather be a polished avatar instead of your real self? That's essentially no different from anonymous messageboard sites."

The "Father of the PlayStation" also finds VR headsets "annoying" because they cut users off from reality.

"Headsets would isolate you from the real world, and I can't agree with that," he said. "Headsets are simply annoying."

Kutaragi is now the CEO of artificial intelligence startup Ascent Robotics, which is actually doing the opposite of Facebook/Meta. Ascent is working on technology that turns real-world objects into machine-readable data. The company just finished a round of funding with a $1 billion investment from Kutaragi's prior employer Sony.

Kutaragi, who is currently waiving his salary at Ascent, says "off-the-shelf" hardware will not cut it for his goals. His team will use the funds raised to build a robotics platform from scratch, including software, sensors, and machines.

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Austinturner

Posts: 351   +452
I agree to the extent of somewhere you spend your working time/ catching up with friends etc.

But vr is amazing for gaming, I’m loving playing Alyx at the moment and playing the flight sim DCS is much better in VR.
 

BigRedPDX

Posts: 248   +175
What about the Playstation VR? Headsets are bulky and are definitely annoying. They are fun to play once in a while though. I was getting down on some Ironman VR the other day.
 
The quality and connectivity of VR/AR headsets will certainly improve as the future unfolds. This would improve the gaming experience. However, other lifestyle altering and business applications projections of metaverse are a pipe dream.
 

Puiu

Posts: 5,461   +4,390
TechSpot Elite
Uh yeah, they've been "coming" for how many years now? This AR/VR garbage will ALWAYS be a niche product. Just because YOU like it doesn't mean every else will too.
There are more people who bought a Quest 2 than Xbox Series X + S consoles (it should around the same level of sales as the PS5). VR isn't "coming", it arrived a long time ago and it is growing at lightning pace. Just because YOU don't like it doesn't mean everybody else won't.

By your own standards, console gaming is "niche".

Maybe the next gen headsets that will launch this year will be more in line with what you expect from VR: lightweight, smaller, more/better sensors, foveated rendering, higher resolution oled/microled screens, pancake lenses, etc.
 
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Nobina

Posts: 3,721   +4,095
I never had the want for one of these devices. Something about is just not appealing. Maybe it's the fact that I need to have all my senses activated while playing VR game or it's just annoying to have around my head...
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 979   +712
Plot twist - we are already in a VR experiment .

The problem is if you take his argument to it's logical end .
No more soaps on TV - living your life vicariously through the characters in the Young and Restless or was The Bold and Beautiful.
No more Harry Potter books - creating an imaginary world in your head of imaginary characters.

No more minecraft - using digital tools , like in VR .
No more making things unnecessary for survival- a tool is only a tool in your head- a hammer is nothing without your brain and not a hammer .

What's the difference between head in VR/AR or eyes locked on phone for hours ?.

If we all turned up at the VR Techspot bar - to chat - what is that ?
If I drink 2 litres of Vodka per day - and I here .
If I work 16 hours a day is that life or escaping myself .

Basically does your sense of self disappear while donning VR or a Furry costume ?
 

Puiu

Posts: 5,461   +4,390
TechSpot Elite
I never had the want for one of these devices. Something about is just not appealing. Maybe it's the fact that I need to have all my senses activated while playing VR game or it's just annoying to have around my head...
It's definitely more energy intensive than regular gaming. While there are games that you can play by just sitting on a couch, I can understand why people just want to chill sometimes. I do that too, especially after a long day at work, I just play normal games in bed on my laptop.

Having said that, playing poker in VR with random people does help with me relax sometimes in the evening.
 

Kosmoz

Posts: 574   +1,050
Whenever I hear about VR, I'm reminded about the VR headsets and people wearing them and all I can think is how ***** stupid they look. Not to mention how uncomfortable and the dizziness they give you and all sorts of other issues...

I would not use one even for free. No thanks.
 

Geralt

Posts: 1,062   +1,633
Whenever I hear about VR, I'm reminded about the VR headsets and people wearing them and all I can think is how ***** stupid they look. Not to mention how uncomfortable and the dizziness they give you and all sorts of other issues...

I would not use one even for free. No thanks.
Me too. I am particularly cautious about my eyes.
 

Puiu

Posts: 5,461   +4,390
TechSpot Elite
Me too. I am particularly cautious about my eyes.
Other than eye strain from staring at the screen and not blinking you should be fine.

The whole "uncomfortable and the dizziness" is the same as getting in the back seat of a car. Some people are just more susceptible to motion sickness. Only time can help you with it, and most people can get used to wearing them without any issues.

I for one am fine with most games as long as they don't involve weird fast movements.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 2,077   +3,981
I still stand by my theory is that a couple of office workers really wanted to play either The Sims or Second Life during office hours and decided to go "What if we present it with a bunch of meaningless buzzwords as an excuse for companies to waste money on VR? Maybe that way we can play Second Life for 6 hour and use the other 2 hours of the work day for VR 'meetings' and such"
 

Puiu

Posts: 5,461   +4,390
TechSpot Elite
I still stand by my theory is that a couple of office workers really wanted to play either The Sims or Second Life during office hours and decided to go "What if we present it with a bunch of meaningless buzzwords as an excuse for companies to waste money on VR? Maybe that way we can play Second Life for 6 hour and use the other 2 hours of the work day for VR 'meetings' and such"
That would be funny :)
 

waclark

Posts: 312   +200
"Headsets are simply annoying."

Today, this is true to some extent. But technology marches on. One day headsets will be no different than a pair of eyeglasses people wear every day. Given enough time, they may even be like contact lenses.

As for isolating yourself from the world, that's already happening due to anonymity on the Internet. People sit behind computer screens every day, not having real interactions with other people. They lurk, drop some troll-bombs in a discussion forum or troll people in online games. And PlayStation has as many of those trolls as any gaming system.
 

3volv3d

Posts: 424   +220
I got far as virtual world zoom meetings at home , with stuff that don't exist but you still paid for like an *****.

So the metaverse is just PS Home.

Good to know.

I can't wait for the rise in burglaries. Excuse me sir, could you tell me what the perp looked like?

No.

But you said you were home.

I was in a work meeting... I'm... I'm a nerd.

We found some NFTs in the back of a truck on a USB, so you can have your virtual loser crap back.

 

Gezzer

Posts: 245   +123
Is the metaverse inevitable? Yeah, I think so. Will that mean it'll be a net positive? As history has shown us, more than likely no. How many social media sites can you list that are a net positive? Not all that many I'd suggest, and certainly not anything associated with Meta. So a more immersive experience simply means a more addictive one IMHO...