The metaverse, or the very idea of it, is leaving a bad taste in some people’s mouths — literally (i.e., the “pixel-flavored” Coca Cola Byte) and figuratively. Now, Naoki Yoshida, the director of Final Fantasy XIV, has distanced the popular MMORPG from the inevitable metaverse.
In a recent interview with Weekly Bunshun (translated by Siliconera), Yoshida spoke about the comments he and his team received from fans comparing Final Fantasy XIV to the metaverse. Those comments stem from the fact that PC gamers have been able to create their own avatars and play and communicate with their friends in games like Phantasy Star Online and World of Warcraft for over 20 years, therefore they’ve been living in the metaverse before it became a buzzword. Yoshida, however, said he doesn’t see Final Fantasy XIV as a metaverse because he doesn’t associate the concept with entertainment.
“I see the metaverse as a system that replaces reality with a virtual world. So I don’t think the metaverse has anything in common with entertainment,” Yoshida says. “In the metaverse I’m thinking of, people will be able to use an avatar in real life, and take a stroll in Shinjuku or do shopping, just like in real life. Though it might be fun, there’s no entertainment there. ‘What’s so interesting about the systems of our real world?’ is how I feel.”
Several gaming companies have been investing in the all-encompassing virtual reality for the last several months, including his employer, Square Enix. In a New Year’s letter, President Yosuke Matsuda expressed interest in developing games that involve the metaverse and its elements, including NFTs and blockchain technology, which caused controversy for fans who don’t want to “play to contribute.”
Yoshida said he would rather create something entertaining within a virtual reality that’s not exactly the metaverse. However, he mentioned no plans about such a project.