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Xbox Head Phil Spencer Skeptical About Metaverse, Criticizes Play-to-Earn Models

31-Aug-2022 By: Simran Mishra
Xbox Head Phil Spenc

Phil Spencer, head of the Xbox brand, believes that the metaverse 

Has been with us since digital gaming was widely introduced 30 years ago. 

However, Spencer criticized play-to-earn (P2E) models, claiming that they make a workforce out of gamers who need to monetize the time spent playing.

The metaverse and its existing notions have sparked controversy and criticism. Phil Spencer, Microsoft's current head of the Xbox brand and CEO of gaming, expressed his skepticism about how the metaverse, or parallel universe, is currently being presented. 

Spencer stated in an interview with Bloomberg that the metaverse is nothing new and is tied to what players have been doing for some time. He explained:

“In my opinion, gamers have been in the metaverse for 30 years. When you're playing games, these 3D shared worlds that people have been playing in for years and years, I think we've discovered that there's more connection because we all have a common goal.”

Furthermore, Spencer noted that gamers may be perplexed by the concept of the metaverse because having an avatar in a game and being a part of a virtual world with voice communication is considered inhabiting it.

While Spencer may be skeptical of the metaverse, Microsoft and the Xbox brand have utilized the term on several occasions. In January, Microsoft announced that the acquisition of Activision Blizzard for over $69 billion will accelerate the expansion of Microsoft's gaming business across mobile, PC, console, and cloud, as well as provide building blocks for the metaverse.

While other companies in the sector have been more receptive to play-to-earn (P2E) models and the mechanisms underlying them, Spencer has proven himself to be wary of this new trend.

In the interview, the Xbox head questioned the aim of play-to-earn games, saying, "Play-to-earn especially is something I'm concerned about.  It creates a workforce of gamers for certain players to monetize. When these technologies emerge,  I believe it's like a hammer hunting for a nail.”

However, Spencer believes that such technology will be used in "interesting ways" in the future. The technology, which has gained some traction with blockchain games such as Axie Infinity, has yet to reach consoles like the Xbox or the Sony Playstation 5.

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