Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick on Thursday cast doubt on Meta’s metaverse ambitions, telling CNBC that he believes the Facebook parent company’s vision of a digitally connected universe may not be popular.
In an interview on “Squawk Box,” Zelnick didn’t outright reject the idea of the metaverse, a term used to describe an online digital world where people can interact using avatars in real time across multiple devices. But based on that definition, Zelnick said his video game company already dominates the so-called metaverse.
“I’d argue that we’re probably the largest metaverse company on the planet in terms of revenue and profit, because we’re in [‘Grand Theft Auto Online’], which I think defines the current metaverse, ‘Red Dead Online’ and ‘NBA 2K’s’ online version,” Zenick said, referring to three video game titles published by his company.
“As a digital location where we can go to be entertained, to connect with other people to talk, play, drive cars, engage in criminal activity, be the police stopping that criminal activity and get you on the road have fun “we’re already in that business,” Zelnick claimed.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of the metaverse is a virtual world where people can live, work and play – all within virtual reality. Zuckerberg announced last week that Facebook was changing its name to Meta, a move he said was intended to reflect the company’s growing ambitions beyond social media. In addition to owning Instagram and messaging service WhatsApp, Meta is the parent company of virtual reality headset maker Oculus.
Zuckerberg has said he hopes the metaverse will reach a billion people within a decade. He has also suggested that the metaverse could “host hundreds of billions of dollars in digital commerce and support jobs for millions of creators and developers.”
Take-Two’s Zelnick said he doesn’t think Meta’s vision of the metaverse is what consumers want, claiming they want to focus on entertainment and fun rather than a virtual extension of real life.
“I’m skeptical that we wake up in the morning and intentionally sit at home, put on our headsets, and do all of our daily activities that way,” Zelnick said. “We had to do that during the pandemic, and we don’t really like that.”
Zelnick’s comments came after Take-Two posted better-than-expected gains for the previous quarter. The company also raised its adjusted sales outlook for 2021, citing high demand for its three largest online titles. Take-Two shares rose 4.8% Thursday.