Ken Kutaragi already has plenty of experience with the metaverse (pic: Bloomberg)
Metaverse is the big new buzzword of the year, even though nobody knows what it means, but the Father of the PlayStation is not a fan.
Although he’s rarely in the news nowadays, Ken Kutaragi long ago guaranteed himself a place as one of the most influential people in video game history, having overseen the development of the original PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PSP, and PlayStation 3 (and designing the sound chip for the SNES).
Since his retirement, he rarely comments on the modern video games industry but in a new interview with Bloomberg he offered his opinion on the metaverse and VR, and it turns out he’s not a fan.
‘Being in the real world is very important, but the metaverse is about making quasi-real in the virtual world, and I can’t see the point of doing it,’ he said. ‘You would rather be a polished avatar instead of your real self? That’s essentially no different from anonymous messageboard sites.’
Kutaragi was similarly dismissive of VR headsets, suggesting that, ‘Headsets would isolate you from the real world, and I can’t agree with that. Headsets are simply annoying’.
Although the need to wear a clunky headset has certainly limited VR adoption in the past, Meta has had great successes recently with the wireless, and relatively inexpensive, Quest 2.
Since it needs to be connected to the PlayStation 5 though the upcoming PlayStation VR2 headset still has to have a physical connection to the console.
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Kutaragi’s scepticism of the metaverse is easy to understand given how nebulous the term is and how it’s already being thrown around by investors and executives who clearly have no idea what it is.
However, his stance may also be influenced by the fact that the metaverse, at least as described by Meta, is very similar to a VR version of PlayStation Home – a 3D social platform for the PlayStation 3 that never really took off.
Although he still has the, largely honorary, position of senior technology advisor at Sony, Kutaragi is also president and CEO of artificial intelligence company Ascent Robotics Inc. He’s also on the board of FromSoftware owner Kadokawa Corporation and several other companies.