PlayStation’s Father Doesn’t Buy Into The Metaverse Hype
The mastermind behind the original Playstation console, Ken Kutaragi, says the VR headsets that serve as an entry point to the Metaverse are boring.
Add PlayStation inventor Ken Kutaragi to the list of tech industry heavyweights who aren’t quite sold on the idea of a metaverse, while the former CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment recently compared the existence of a virtual metaverse to anonymous chat rooms and called VR headsets boring. Despite all the hype generated by Facebook overlord Mark Zuckerberg and ambitious stakeholders like Microsoft and Nvidia, the metaverse remains a divisive topic among experts, as well as early adopters. The idea of an immersive internet powered by AR and VR experiences certainly sounds appealing and futuristic, but there are too many obstacles in its way.
Existing problems of the Internet, such as harassment and misinformation, have not yet been solved, and technical leaders are already looking for a more immersive version. The IT and internet infrastructure needs a massive, massive upgrade to realize those lofty dreams of “metaverse living”. Additionally, accessibility to material that provides entry into the metaverse remains a major concern. Not everyone can afford a $500 VR headset or expensive data, which is why many influencers seem skeptical of the Metaverse hype. Kutaragi, who is nothing short of a legendary figure in the industry, is one of them.
Speaking to Bloomberg, Kutaragi pointed out that the metaverse would only drive a wedge between the real and virtual worlds, instead of serving as a unifying bridge. “Being in the real world is very important, but the metaverse is about making it almost real in the virtual world, and I don’t see the point in doing that.” Kutaragi isn’t the only one who seems skeptical about the metaverse’s conflicted face with reality. Louis Rosenberg – the mastermind behind the world’s first working augmented reality system – recently claimed that the metaverse could alter the very meaning of reality for people and will change many aspects of society in ways not necessarily good.
Helmets are boring
“Would you rather be a polite avatar than your true self?” Kutaragi asked, clarifying his stance on the metaverse hype. He further likened the idea of metaverses and virtual avatars to anonymous messaging sites, where an individual can create an entirely different personality for themselves, alienating them from the real world. The PlayStation creator also shared his thoughts on the gateway to the metaverse – XR headsets. Kutaragi felt that helmets isolate a person from the real world and are boring. There’s a practical truth to Kutaragi’s opinion, and even Apple seems to have similar ideas. According to Bloomberg’s PowerOn newsletter written by Mark Gurman, Apple sees VR/AR headsets as something people won’t wear all day and only put them on for short bursts of entertainment.
As for Kuturagi’s view that headsets will isolate people from the real world, it goes along with what Microsoft president Brad Smith said recently about the whole idea of the metaverse and his idea underlying. Smith noted that people will continue to live in the real world and that entering a metaverse “It’s not like dying and going to heaven.” More importantly, he pointed out that before everyone gets busy building their own metaverses, the existing problems of the Internet must be resolved before users are pushed into the more immersive Internet 2.0 phase. The concerns are legitimate, and even in their early stages, sexual harassment issues have already been documented in the Metaverse.
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