The Term Metaverse Is 'Ambiguous And Hypothetical' Because People 'Love The Real World'

Evan Spiegel
Founder and CEO of Snap

When a company gets so big and influential, others will automatically gravitate around it. Followers are certain because if a big entity is pivoting, there must be something big going on.

Facebook, the social media company that has rebranded to Meta, is too big even for the entire internet, in a sense that its various products encompasses pretty much of the web.

When the company wanted to become a "metaverse company", in which it wants to create a digital world parallel to the real world, other businesses, big and small, quickly scrambled to learn and try this new concept.

But not Evan Spiegel.

The founder and CEO of Snap, the company that operates Snapchat, doesn't share the same opinion.

This is because according to him, people "actually love the real world."

Evan Spiegel.
Evan Spiegel.

Speaking to The Guardian, Spiegel said that:

"The reason why we don't use that word is because it's pretty ambiguous and hypothetical,"

"Just ask a room of people how to define it, and everyone's definition is totally different."

Spiegal said that in his company, people don't use the word.

Instead of joining the crowd and jumping into the bandwagon like many others, Spiegel rather have Snapchat focus on building augmented reality tools, like by expanding Snap's hardware portfolio, and developing its own smart glasses.

Rather than creating a new world where people can interact virtually, Spiegel would rather 'enhance' the real world through AR, by overlaying images and information onto it.

"But one of the big overarching concepts people have is that a lot of those tools are designed to replace reality."

"Whereas when we talk about AR, we’re trying to augment the real world around you. So our fundamental bet is that people actually love the real world: they want to be together in person with their friends."

The word metaverse is a term coined by Neal Stephenson through his novel Snow Crash.

It was Philip Rosedale's Linden Lab that attempted to commercialize the metaverse through Second Life. After it, many more emerged, including Roblox, Fortnite, Ready Player 1, and many more.

Meta's founder Mark Zuckerberg has heavily promoted the metaverse as if the term is Meta's brainchild. While the term metaverse is 'old', it has only gained significant momentum because Meta is pursuing it.

Spiegel, besides seeing Zuckerberg as his rival in the social media business, Spiegel doesn't buy into the metaverse hype Zuckerberg is promoting. His big bet is spending time in an augmented real world.

His point, speaking to The Verge, is because there are millions and millions of people who use AR every day, and the many people speaking on behalf of themselves or their businesses, "are really talking about something that doesn’t exist yet."

"Our fundamental thesis and our big bet is on the real world, and that people really enjoy spending time together in reality. And that computing can really enhance that, [and] make that more fun and contribute to shared experiences."

"But, ultimately, people are going to spend the vast majority of their time in the world because it’s really a wonderful place...And that’s why we talk with a lot of specificity about the products we have today, about the solutions that exist today, and about the way that people are using our products, rather than talking in hypotheticals."

While Spiegel disagree and has dismissed Zuckerberg's term of the metaverse, both of them do agree that AR glasses would be one big thing in the future.