Reports of the metaverse’s death have been greatly exaggerated, jokes Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney. The gaming titan took to Twitter recently to respond to a Business Insider story about the supposed failure of the metaverse. Why does Tim Sweeney think the metaverse isn’t dead?
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney laughed at FUD leveled against the metaverse Image Credit: Esports Why did the Epic Games CEO laugh about the death of the metaverse?
Business Insider tweeted a story titled, “RIP metaverse, we hardly knew yet.” The sub-title then states that Mark Zuckerberg’s attempt to rebrand Facebook into the metaverse-focused Meta has been a failure. To emphasize the point, they described the company’s metaverse initiative as being sent “to the graveyard” in favor of AI.
Sweeney then quote retweeted it, writing, “The metaverse is dead! Let’s organize an online wake so that we 600,000,000 monthly active users in Fortnite, Minecraft, Roblox, PUBG Mobile, Sandbox, and VRChat can mourn its passing together in real-time 3D.”
Clearly, the tech CEO did not agree with Business Insiders’ opinion. This isn’t surprising given that Epic Game’s most popular game Fortnite averages over 25m daily players. While the game doesn’t require VR googles to play, Sweeney still believes people going online daily to interact as digital communities qualifies as an early form of the metaverse. Furthermore, Sweeney believes games like Roblox, Minecraft, and Fortnite have already built successful metaverses. They are digital worlds in which millions of people spend hours of their days, after all. Just because people don’t wear VR goggles to play them, Sweeney reasons doesn’t make them any less of a shared digital metaverse experience. One day, perhaps through the usage of blockchain technology, these games will be interoperable. As it stands now, each game exists in its own silo and players cannot jump from game to game using the same avatar. Soon, many believe, players from different games will be able to interact with each in a shared digital space. The metaverse is dead? Tell that to Roblox’s 67m daily users Image Credit: Roblox What happened with Facebook’s rebrand to Meta? Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta and founder of Facebook, made a stunning announcement in 2021. The company would be rebranding itself to a metaverse company. Zuckerberg believes that the metaverse would be the next evolution in social media usage, taking people from Web 2.0 platforms and throwing them together in virtual reality digital spaces. To hammer this point home, he even renamed Facebook to Meta. The move backfired horribly. Meta’s metaverse division Reality Labs lost $22b in 2022 and has already lost $4b in 2023. As a result, Meta’s stock price is down 44% from its all-time high in 2021. The company was also forced to lay off tens of thousands of employees after aggressively hiring in 2021. Since then, Zuckerberg pivoted away from the disastrous decision to focus on the metaverse. He stopped emphasizing it on stockholder calls, instead focusing more on the hot technology of the day– AI. Meta is still developing their metaverse plans, however. This time, Zuckerberg refers to it as a “long-term” play and admits it will continue to lose money into the near future. Whether or not Meta’s vision of the metaverse is ever successful remains in doubt. The idea that the metaverse itself is dead, people like Tim Sweeney believe, is more of a joke than a reality.
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