I think the metaverse is crap, but my opinion hasn’t stopped Facebook from spending billions on research and development or startup investors throwing millions of dollars at any company that says the words “blockchain” and “metaverse” in a sentence. prayer. While speaking with Valve president Gabe Newell last week about the Steam Deck (opens in a new tab), cryptocurrency and more, I was relieved to learn that he hasn’t heard either.
“There are a lot of get-rich-quick schemes around the metaverse,” Newell said when I asked him if he thinks metaverse trends are helping drive technology forward.
“Most people who talk about the metaverse have no idea what they are talking about. And apparently they’ve never played an MMO. They’re like, ‘Oh, you’ll have this customizable avatar.’ And it’s like, well… go to La Noscea in Final Fantasy 14 and tell me this isn’t a problem solved from a decade ago, it’s not some fabulous thing that you’re, you know, making up.”
Cyberpunk novels like William Gibson’s Neuromancer and Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash are often cited as inspirations for the metaverse, but tech moguls have been trying to recreate those books’ visions of cyberspace for years while conveniently ignoring their dystopian themes. . It’s capital M capital P Missing the Point, and Newell gave me some reassurance on that front from an unexpected source: one of the actual authors.
“I’m friends with Neal Stephenson, and every time we get together, he just puts his hands over his face. So it’s like, ‘Okay, what metaverse story is driving you crazy today?'”
Newell is a bit more optimistic than I am, adding that he’s sure it will “work itself out” over time. But we definitely have a similar take on the current wave of superficial metaverse get-rich-quick schemes.
“Obviously, the gaming industry has been exploring these technologies for a long time,” he said. “It will be interesting to see if someone who is late to the party has a lot to add, instead of wanting a bunch of people to give them a bunch of money for magical reasons. But you know, in the end, customers and useful technology they win, so I’m not too worried about that.”