Valve’s Gabe Newell says most people talking about the metaverse right now “have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about.”
Newell made the comments to PC Gamer in an interview surrounding the release of the Steam Deck last month. “There’s a bunch of get rich quick schemes around metaverse,” he said.
“Most of the people who are talking about metaverse have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about. And they’ve apparently never played an MMO. They’re like, ‘Oh, you’ll have this customizable avatar.’ And it’s like, well… go into La Noscea in Final Fantasy 14 and tell me that this isn’t a solved problem from a decade ago, not some fabulous thing that you’re, you know, inventing.”
There’s been a massive increase in companies claiming some connection to the so-called metaverse since Facebook renamed itself as Meta in late 2021, making clear its intent to build a virtual ecosystem for productivity and socializing inside VR and AR. But, despite the buzz, VR technology is still a long way away from persistent, online worlds that instantly let you hop between a variety of apps and experiences.
Despite his current reservations, though, Newell seems confident that the noise around the metaverse could one day materialize into something worthwhile. “It will be interesting to see if anybody who’s sort of coming to the party late has much to add, rather than a desire to have a whole bunch of people give them a bunch of money for magic reasons,” he said. “But you know, in the end, customers and useful technology win out, so I’m not super worried about that.”
Steam Deck is shipping out to its first customers now, but Valve has made several hints that its work on the portable PC could one day lead to a new standalone VR headset from the company, too.
What do you make of Newell’s comments on the metaverse? Let us know in the comments below!