In an interview with Weekly Bunshun, FFXIV director and producer Naoki Yoshida discussed the success of the popular MMORPG. In response to comments comparing FFXIV to the Metaverse, Yoshida revealed that he did not see the Metaverse as similar to FFXIV. Furthermore, Yoshida stated that he did not see the Metaverse as a form of entertainment in itself. [Thanks, ryokutya!]
Though there isn’t an exact definition, the Metaverse is generally considered to be a virtual world where users interact with others using avatars. The Metaverse has also become a hot topic for gaming and social media companies alike. Square Enix President Yosuke Matsuda even expressed interest in the concept in a New Year’s letter.
Due to their similarities, people have compared the concept to other existing virtual ecosystems such as MMORPGs. Yoshida, however, believes that the two aren’t related. “To me, 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 stated, distancing it from FFXIV.
Yoshida continued with his own interpretation, stating, “… In the Metaverse I’m thinking of, people will be able to use an avatar in virtual reality, 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.” On whether or not he’d participate in a Metaverse project, Yoshida clarified that he would “make something entertaining within the virtual reality rather than a Metaverse itself,” but did not have any plans to do so.
Other notable figures and companies within the Japanese video game industry still seem keen on the idea, however. Square Enix’s Yoshinori Kitase joined his CEO in expressing interest in the concept in an end-of-year Famitsu column last year. Bandai Namco also recently revealed plans to create an IP metaverse featuring Mobile Suit Gundam.