Facebook’s metaverse vision questioned by gaming veteran

(Bloomberg) – Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta Platforms Inc. is one of the most vocal proponents of the future of the Metaverse, but one gaming industry veteran is particularly skeptical of his vision.

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Like the cloud five years ago and even the internet 20 years ago, every company is now trying to cling to the metaverse, said former Nintendo of America Inc. president and COO Reggie Fils- Love. Instead of Facebook’s parent company, the digital future will be driven by smaller companies that are really innovating, while companies like Epic Games Inc. are doing “really compelling” things, he said.

“Facebook itself is not an innovative company,” Fils-Aime told Emily Chang at the South by Southwest event in Austin, Texas on Saturday. “Either they acquired cool things like Oculus and Instagram, or they quickly followed people’s ideas. I don’t think their current definition will succeed.

A representative for Meta did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The rise of small, innovative companies that are currently in the seed or funding stages also suggests that more consolidation is in store for the industry. Fils-Aime pointed to successful acquisitions like Take-Two Interactive Software Inc.’s purchase of Zynga Inc. and called Microsoft Corp’s recent bid. from Activision Blizzard Inc. “fantastic buy”.

‘Regginator’

Fils-Aime is a longtime gaming executive whose Haitian parents fled the Duvalier regime in Haiti and settled in New York. His new book “From the Bronx to the Top of Nintendo” is about his upbringing, his path to Nintendo and why he got the nickname “Regginator”.

As a black executive who rose through the ranks of a legendary Japanese company, he criticized the gaming industry for not moving fast enough to meet its diversity challenges.

“This is a global industry that affects 3 billion people around the world; it’s a $200 billion business,” Fils-Aime said. “Representation in the game and in leadership is not at all where it should be.”

Fils-Aime, who joined GameStop Corp. in 2020 and served on the board for a year, the company criticized, saying current management, led by former Chewy CEO Ryan Cohen, pushed back against his ideas. He had, at the time, believed that the company could succeed and, with the right action and pivot to e-commerce, could better satisfy its customer base.

“There was no articulated strategy. Leaders say we don’t want to articulate our strategy because they don’t want it to be stolen,” he said. “For me, that was not acceptable.”

Fils-Aime is no longer a GameStop shareholder, although he did not reveal when he sold his shares.

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