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Reggie Fils-Aime doesn’t think Meta’s idea of the metaverse is set up to be a success. The former Nintendo of America boss thinks that companies like Meta are treating ‘the metaverse’ as little more than a buzzword. He also doubts that Meta is innovative enough to pull off a metaverse success.

Fils-Aime told Bloomberg at SXSW that he has a definition of the metaverse that doesn’t quite mesh with Meta’s business model.

“The Metaverse is a digital space where you interact with your friends in a social and gaming type of environment,” he said. “So it’s social. It’s digital. There’s an ability to really interact with friends and people who have potential to be friends.”

Reggie thinks that the metaverse, or at least elements of it, already exist in games like Fortnite and Roblox. He points to the big, not strictly gaming focused events that happen in Fortnite, like concerts, as one example. He also believes Roblox’s wide range of experiences is another good example.

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Meta’s inability to succeed with the metaverse boils down to two big points, according to Fils-Aime.

“In order to be innovative you really need to be thinking about the consumer first, and I don’t think they do,” he said. “I think they think about advertising revenue first … you have to think about your consumer … about your customer. You need to think about bringing new and different ideas into the marketplace…. These are the things that drive innovation.”

VR just isn’t there, yet

He also doesn’t think that Meta has a good track record with physical product releases. Reggie points out that despite Facebook acquiring Oculus, VR set-ups on the whole haven’t gotten to a place that he considers a success.

“The last number I saw was that in total, not just Oculus, in total about 20 million VR devices have been sold,” he said. “When I was running Nintendo that was a good year — one year — in terms of hardware sell-through.”

That ties into his second big point, which is that he doesn’t think a VR focused approach to the metaverse is ever going to be a success. Fils-Aime says he’s a believer in Augmented Reality over Virtual Reality. Things like Pokemon Go and the Nintendo 3DS are what he sees as successful AR experiences and functionalities.

“I don’t think it’s ready for prime time,” he said, talking about having tried almost every type of VR headset. “Doesn’t mean it’s not going to get there. But I don’t believe it’s going to be an experience that you’re doing 100 percent of your time. Or even 100 percent of your entertainment time.”

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