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PlayStation Creator Kutaragi Snubs Metaverse and VR Headsets



PlayStation inventor Ken Kutaragi shrugged off the metaverse as the tech industry’s next big undertaking and head-mounted displays as the portal to that destination, describing them as dividing rather than unifying the real and virtual realms.

“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,” the 71-year-old entrepreneur told Bloomberg News in an interview. “You would rather be a polished avatar instead of your real self? That’s essentially no different from anonymous messageboard sites.”

Kutaragi, who created Sony Group Corp.’s video game business in 1993, now serves as the chief executive officer of Ascent Robotics Inc., a Tokyo-based artificial intelligence startup that just raised 1 billion yen ($8.7 million) from Sony and SBI Holdings Inc.

The goal of Ascent, which Kutaragi describes as his life’s mission, is to blend the real world with cyberspace in a seamless, gadget-less fashion akin to Star Wars holograms. Tech companies including Apple Inc., Meta Platforms Inc. and Sony’s PlayStation unit are stepping up development of virtual-reality headsets amid a race for what they anticipate will be a metaverse bonanza. But Kutaragi is not a fan.

“Headsets would isolate you from the real world, and I can’t agree with that,” he said. “Headsets are simply annoying.”

 

HTK

Member
Metaverse for a healthy human being provides absolutely no value whatsoever.

Now if you're a bum in the real world and take virtual worlds seriously or as an avenue to live out fantasy life through your avatar you may be lost in the matrix.

Choose the Red Pill folks.
 

Dr Bass

Member
Fuck the real world. In the real world, I can't do a a spin attack with a sword and kill someone and battle mages

Do you .... want to be killing people with spin sword attacks in the real world?

Anyway ...

Kutaragi is right IMO, and that's why all of these VR/AR headsets are doomed to niche uses IMO. Tech companies notoriously have ridiculously bad taste, which is why so many "next big things" fail, and usually you can call it right out of the gate. It's really, really simple to do.

Ask yourself ... Does the general public want to deal with this and does it make their life better?

I'll use an obvious example. The iPhone. It was clearly a massive leap in consumer technology when announced, and was easy to use. It made previously difficult things, easy and accessible. It was a massive revelation. Having messaging, email, internet, map utilities, and all the apps that came after it, including banking, social media, blah blah ... in your pocket. And all you have to do is touch it. Yeah. That's amazing, useful, and an improvement for your life (generally speaking, social media can eat :messenger_poop: and die).

Now let's look at AR.

First off, aside from hipsters I don't think people like to wear glasses. That's why we have contacts. That's why people are willing to slice open their corneas with a knife and zap their exposed eyes with lasers. Just so they don't have to wear glasses! Why? It generally makes you look a lot less attractive to have these things on your face. As Jerry Seinfeld said in the optometrist store, "I think these ladies would be pretty good lookin' if they weren't wearing glasses."

So that's strike 1.

Next, AR is a fun "computer science" problem to solve. You have a video feed where you are doing object detection, so this basically involves AI/ML at "the edge" with computer vision, then you can retrieve data from large servers in the backend and feed them to the glasses via your APIs and all that standard stuff. Yeah it can make a REALLY cool demo, and it sounds fun to build. But ... how does this help the public? How is projecting CG images into reality, or just having a constant overlay of data about what you're seeing really making your life better? It's exciting to computer nerds, but the vast majority of the public is not going to care at all about this. That's where the disconnect is, because most computer people have no taste. The difference in utility between this and the iPhone is obvious.

Strike 2.

The tech world is abuzz right now with "the metaverse" and all the BS that seems to come along with it. It's so rampant Facebook changed their name to "Meta." Stupid. It just seems like a way to leverage funds from VCs to me at the moment, via FOMO. I have yet to hear or see a decent practical application of the ideas that don't seem to involve massive already mega-rich corporations wanting more centralized control. "Metaverse" to me just means "everything lives on our servers."

Strike 3? I dunno. Not cool though.
 

mortal

Member
Dude is from a different era. Not too surprised by his stance.

Can't say I agree with him about VR though. I believe many innovative experiences will be in VR, especially with regards to shooters and RPGs.
 
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Do you .... want to be killing people with spin sword attacks in the real world?

Anyway ...

Kutaragi is right IMO, and that's why all of these VR/AR headsets are doomed to niche uses IMO. Tech companies notoriously have ridiculously bad taste, which is why so many "next big things" fail, and usually you can call it right out of the gate. It's really, really simple to do.

Ask yourself ... Does the general public want to deal with this and does it make their life better?

I'll use an obvious example. The iPhone. It was clearly a massive leap in consumer technology when announced, and was easy to use. It made previously difficult things, easy and accessible. It was a massive revelation. Having messaging, email, internet, map utilities, and all the apps that came after it, including banking, social media, blah blah ... in your pocket. And all you have to do is touch it. Yeah. That's amazing, useful, and an improvement for your life (generally speaking, social media can eat :messenger_poop: and die).

Now let's look at AR.

First off, aside from hipsters I don't think people like to wear glasses. That's why we have contacts. That's why people are willing to slice open their corneas with a knife and zap their exposed eyes with lasers. Just so they don't have to wear glasses! Why? It generally makes you look a lot less attractive to have these things on your face. As Jerry Seinfeld said in the optometrist store, "I think these ladies would be pretty good lookin' if they weren't wearing glasses."

So that's strike 1.

Next, AR is a fun "computer science" problem to solve. You have a video feed where you are doing object detection, so this basically involves AI/ML at "the edge" with computer vision, then you can retrieve data from large servers in the backend and feed them to the glasses via your APIs and all that standard stuff. Yeah it can make a REALLY cool demo, and it sounds fun to build. But ... how does this help the public? How is projecting CG images into reality, or just having a constant overlay of data about what you're seeing really making your life better? It's exciting to computer nerds, but the vast majority of the public is not going to care at all about this. That's where the disconnect is, because most computer people have no taste. The difference in utility between this and the iPhone is obvious.

Strike 2.

The tech world is abuzz right now with "the metaverse" and all the BS that seems to come along with it. It's so rampant Facebook changed their name to "Meta." Stupid. It just seems like a way to leverage funds from VCs to me at the moment, via FOMO. I have yet to hear or see a decent practical application of the ideas that don't seem to involve massive already mega-rich corporations wanting more centralized control. "Metaverse" to me just means "everything lives on our servers."

Strike 3? I dunno. Not cool though.
You don't get it to be honest.

The IPhone is unique for two reasons.

1. Smartphones were an iterative platform after cellphones making them relatively easy to market and engineer.
2. The iPhone was when the smartphone industry hit a turning point, a product that nailed the design. It was a point where smartphones entered the maturity stage.

VR/AR does not have the luxury of being iterative. It is like the beginning of PCs, something entirely new that is incredibly difficult to engineer and market. This means the tech will mature slower than smartphones and be a harder sell on consumers because it requires more education when it's a completely new concept.

VR/AR are not nearly mature today, which means pointing at these devices we have and saying "Yeah, that's destined to be forever niche" misses how they will evolve to solve all their barriers. The XR industry will radically shift into being nigh unrecognizable over the next 10-15 years.
 
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CrustyBritches

Gold Member
It sounds like he’s specifically talking about the Metaverse, and given that AR/VR headsets are his competition and surely to beat out his solution, I can understand why he doesn’t like it.
 

WitchHunter

Member
KK, who said he wanted eight cores in PS3 because that number was so beautiful, or smth like that... when IBM engineers asked him, why. strange fella
 

WitchHunter

Member
Kutaragi is right IMO, and that's why all of these VR/AR headsets are doomed to niche uses IMO. Tech companies notoriously have ridiculously bad taste, which is why so many "next big things" fail, and usually you can call it right out of the gate. It's really, really simple to do.

Ask yourself ... Does the general public want to deal with this and does it make their life better?
Make their life better, are you on drugs? : DDD How will VR/AR make your life better if your body evolved thru millions of years all of a sudden forced into an environment that has nothing common with real life? This metaverse, AR/VR at the moment, is like when xml (a fucking bloated info exchance format) was tuoted as a next big thing in data exchange between systems. Every fucking computer magazine was talking about it, even the public, but the only people who knew it was a trumped up bs were the ones who actually worked with these systems.

First off, aside from hipsters I don't think people like to wear glasses.
Bullshit, glasses are part of fashion.

It generally makes you look a lot less attractive to have these things on your face. As Jerry Seinfeld said in the optometrist store, "I think these ladies would be pretty good lookin' if they weren't wearing glasses."
: DDDD Oh jesus...

That's where the disconnect is, because most computer people have no taste.
Wow, such assumptions.

There are no proper human-computer interfaces that could revolutionize the way we live our lives. It's very far away. Reading, speaking, information processing and doing things by hand is slow. Also the brain's processing power is limited. Most people could only concentrate on one thing, etc. When breakthroughs come in this sector, there will be change, until then

all this is about the hurdles of creating something pioneering looking, because already existing systems become the norm. and if you are a publicly traded company in a fast moving sector you need lots of R&D. and to recoup costs they make the consumers (esp early adopters) eat the byproducts of this evolution.
 
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bender

What time is it?
"headsets are simply annoying"

Preach king! I'm not sure HMDs will ever get to the point were they aren't cumbersome and that's the antithesis of I play games. That's not to say there aren't great experiences in VR, but I'd never want it to be a focal point of the time I spend in the hobby. I had similar thoughts on the Wii and the sudden rush for everyone to have a motion controller.

 

SkylineRKR

Member
Kutaragi is right. Metaverse seems to be billed as something like Second Life, but then with real life stuff happening. Like watching a concert through your headset or something. Its boring.

And yes, after having owned the PSVR for several years, headsets are annoying. Its not that I got tired of VR games per se, its the fact I had this thing on my face constantly.
 

Rudius

Member
This is like one of the inventors of radio speaking against television.

Play classic games like Wipeout, Gran Turismo and Ace Combat in VR to see it is the natural evolution of what he did with PlayStation.
 

Dream-Knife

Member
Do you .... want to be killing people with spin sword attacks in the real world?

Anyway ...

Kutaragi is right IMO, and that's why all of these VR/AR headsets are doomed to niche uses IMO. Tech companies notoriously have ridiculously bad taste, which is why so many "next big things" fail, and usually you can call it right out of the gate. It's really, really simple to do.

Ask yourself ... Does the general public want to deal with this and does it make their life better?

I'll use an obvious example. The iPhone. It was clearly a massive leap in consumer technology when announced, and was easy to use. It made previously difficult things, easy and accessible. It was a massive revelation. Having messaging, email, internet, map utilities, and all the apps that came after it, including banking, social media, blah blah ... in your pocket. And all you have to do is touch it. Yeah. That's amazing, useful, and an improvement for your life (generally speaking, social media can eat :messenger_poop: and die).

Now let's look at AR.

First off, aside from hipsters I don't think people like to wear glasses. That's why we have contacts. That's why people are willing to slice open their corneas with a knife and zap their exposed eyes with lasers. Just so they don't have to wear glasses! Why? It generally makes you look a lot less attractive to have these things on your face. As Jerry Seinfeld said in the optometrist store, "I think these ladies would be pretty good lookin' if they weren't wearing glasses."

So that's strike 1.

Next, AR is a fun "computer science" problem to solve. You have a video feed where you are doing object detection, so this basically involves AI/ML at "the edge" with computer vision, then you can retrieve data from large servers in the backend and feed them to the glasses via your APIs and all that standard stuff. Yeah it can make a REALLY cool demo, and it sounds fun to build. But ... how does this help the public? How is projecting CG images into reality, or just having a constant overlay of data about what you're seeing really making your life better? It's exciting to computer nerds, but the vast majority of the public is not going to care at all about this. That's where the disconnect is, because most computer people have no taste. The difference in utility between this and the iPhone is obvious.

Strike 2.

The tech world is abuzz right now with "the metaverse" and all the BS that seems to come along with it. It's so rampant Facebook changed their name to "Meta." Stupid. It just seems like a way to leverage funds from VCs to me at the moment, via FOMO. I have yet to hear or see a decent practical application of the ideas that don't seem to involve massive already mega-rich corporations wanting more centralized control. "Metaverse" to me just means "everything lives on our servers."

Strike 3? I dunno. Not cool though.
Watch how many normies buy iGlasses. It'll take off. Consumers are dumb; you can convince them to buy anything with social media.
 

IDKFA

Member
Although I agree with him, unfortunately the mass public will jump right into the metaverse as soon as Microsoft, Meta and other companies start offering dirt cheap headsets for below £100.

Microsoft, Meta, Epic, Nvidia and many others would be pumping billions into the metaverse unless they pretty certain of its success.
 

Fredrik

Gold Member
He’s right that you get isolated and headsets are definitely annoying.
But things are slowly getting better. We have wireless VR now. Eventually the headsets won’t be much worse than putting on a pair of sun glasses. Sitting beside it all is like sitting beside console gaming from the 80s til now because the graphics looked nothing like real life.
 

Humdinger

Member
I get what he's saying, but most of his criticism applies to videogames as a whole, too.

"You would rather be a polished avatar instead of your real self?"

Well, that's part of why people play video games -- or read fiction, or watch movies. They enjoy putting themselves in the shoes of another character for a while, someone who's living a different sort of life than their own.

"Headsets would isolate you from the real world."

So does immersion in a videogame, TV, movie, or social media. Granted, there is more isolation because of the headset, but it's not like other forms of entertainment aren't "escapist" and immersive, too.

"Headsets are annoying."

He's got a point there.
 

oldergamer

Member
I don't know if he is right, he certainly has an interesting opinion. I think there is a reason sony dropped kutagari after PS3. I don't think he aligned with what they wanted to do with PS4 and going forward.
 
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