Former Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime claims Meta's take on the metaverse will flounder because the social media giant "is not an innovative company."
Facebook rebranded to Meta in October last year and outlined plans to break into the metaverse in a big way. Although the Facebook app itself is still called, well, Facebook, VR company Oculus was also rebranded as "Meta."
Despite company founder Mark Zuckerberg waxing lyrical about the firm's metaverse credentials at the time, it seems others have their reservations.
Speaking during a South by Southwest keynote (via Bloomberg) over the weekend, Fils-Aimé suggested Meta might be biting off more than it can chew.
"You have to admit that Facebook itself is not an innovative company," said Fils-Aimé. "They have either acquired really interesting things -- like Oculus, like Instagram -- or they have been a fast follower of other people's ideas. That's Facebook. Inherently they are not an innovative company other than the very original social platform that was created many years ago."
The former Nintendo boss also claimed that Facebook simply isn't interested in putting consumers first, which means it will always struggle to truly break new ground.
"I believe that in order to be innovative, you really need to be thinking about the consumer first -- and I don't think they do. I think they think about advertising revenue first because that's 98 percent of their revenue," he continued. "That's why I look at the vision that's been articulated today and I'm not a big believer."
Speaking more broadly about the metaverse, Fils-Aimé said the concept is simply "a label that every business is trying to grab on to" and that for him the metaverse is a "digital space where you interact with your friends in a social and gaming-type of environment."
He suggested that games like Fortnite, which regularly features big cultural events and performers in its digital world, already contain elements of the metaverse, but evidently doesn't rate Facebook's chances in the nascent space.