Microsoft’s Xbox Head Is Unsure about Pay-to-Earn Crypto Games

Paigambar Mohan Raj
Source: The Verge

Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft’s Xbox gaming unit, recently spoke with Bloomberg about the future of gaming and its place in the metaverse. He said that he is unsure about play-to-earn (P2E) crypto games due to their economic aspect and speculative nature. Nonetheless, Spencer remains optimistic about metaverse projects.

According to Spencer, the contemporary idea of a Metaverse has not yet won over gamers. Spencer believes that gamers have been in a metaverse for decades due to the nature of games (i.e. a virtual environment). The Metaverse, in Spencer’s opinion, is essentially a 3D shared environment where individuals are free to interact with one another.

The Xbox head stated,

“My view on Metaverse is that gamers have been in the Metaverse for 30 years. When you’re playing games, if you’re playing a World of Warcraft game, you’re playing in Roblox, you’re playing in a racing game where everybody’s in a shared world.”

Spencers’ view coincides with those of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who stated that,

“If you take Halo as a game, it is a Metaverse. Minecraft is a Metaverse, and so is Flight Sim. In some sense, they’re 2D today and the question is can you now take that to a fully 3D world, and we absolutely plan to do so.”

However, Spencer notes that the idea of a metaverse has continued to interest the Microsoft chief. He said,

“But I do think the skills that we have as game designers and game creators make a ton of sense in a lot of enterprise experiences. And this is why Satya gets excited about it.”

Nonetheless, Spencer did not delve into the aspect of owning property in the metaverse

Why is the Xbox head not sold on crypto-based P2E games?

Spencer acknowledged that game commercialization has been around for some time. However, he is concerned that some games are largely designed in order to earn virtual cash or crypto as in the case of today. Spencer stated,

“Play-to-earn specifically is something I’m cautious about. It creates a worker force out of players, for certain players to kind of monetize.”

Spencer brought up the comments that were made about Minecraft, and how the company views NFTs. He said,

“Cause we saw people doing things that we thought were exploitive in our product and we said we don’t want that.”

However, he didn’t fully dismiss the idea of play-to-earn, acknowledging that there might be some intriguing use cases that emerge in this field.

Spencer also shed light on Microsoft’s potential acquisition of Activision. According to Spencer, the discussion about the acquisition revolved around the capability Activision had on mobile platforms. Spencer highlighted that mobile phones are the biggest gaming platforms on the planet.

Regarding regulations and scrutiny of big deals, Spencer says that they are welcome. The Xbox head said,

“I kind of come at this…that big deals should be scrutinized. Thats the role of Regulators, why they’re in place.”

Nonetheless, Spencer feels good about the progress they have made.