Xbox’s Phil Spencer asks “why is it better for players?” of the metaverse

"I think it's easy for a lot of tech companies to describe why the metaverse might be better for their company"

Xbox chief Phil Spencer has talked about what the future of the metaverse could hold, and how it needs to be player-focused over company-focused.

This comes from a recent interview Spencer did at protocol, where he talked about how developers need to put players first when thinking about the shape of a potential metaverse.

“We’re spending a lot of time as leaders coming together talking about the learnings that we’ve had and how the technical underpinnings might come together. But more fundamental to me is why Microsoft?” said the Xbox head. “Like, why is this metaverse that a lot of people are focusing on, why is it better for players? Why is it better for creators?”

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“I think it’s easy for a lot of tech companies to describe why the metaverse might be better for their company. But we’ve just learned that if we put the player at the centre, to use my gaming vocabulary again, and try to build an ecosystem that works around their needs and creator needs, that the platform dynamic will take off,” Spencer added.

Spencer seems acutely aware then that the metaverse is still an infantile project, or at least in the form that companies want it to take now. He also talked about how the metaverse as it’s looking now would seemingly be controlled by multiple companies, instead of being a truly open platform.

Minecraft
Minecraft. Credit: Mojang

“I draw some analogies to the web. We felt like we had this really open platform for creation and consumption. But frankly, there were some companies that really created and captured some of the control of that web, whether it’s the control of the discovery or the monetization or the social, which meant some of what happens on the web today doesn’t necessarily feel as open as I think we would all like it to be.”

The concept of the metaverse was aligned to games like Roblox and Minecraft by Spencer, in how they have player driven tools that are powered by being social and open to creators.

Minecraft is really an open creation tool,” explained Spencer. “Where people can go and create things, share them through our community marketplace and sell them to other members of the community. And I think that openness inside of Minecraft is such a critical part in terms of what it’s become.”

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It needs to be noted then that Minecraft is owned by Microsoft, who also own Xbox, so Spencer’s alignment between Minecraft and the metaverse isn’t something he’s just saying to be kind. Although considering Minecraft alone crossed one trillion views on YouTube recently, the staying power of it as a player creation tool cannot be denied.

In other news, so many staff are leaving developer Ubisoft that it’s been dubbed “the great exodus,” as employees at all levels are leaving the company.

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