No, Meta’s Metaverse doesn’t look bad!

 Meta’s Metaverse latest sneek peak

Mocking Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse has been quite the trend these recent weeks. While there was a good amount of awesome memes going around, there is a strong belief that Meta’s metaverse looks terrible. I’m not a fan of Meta (ex-Facebook), nor do I intend to engage in their super-centralized metaverse. However, there is a fundamental misconception of what it takes to create a virtual world and that realistic graphics equals quality.

What Nintendo taught us

There’s been a war waging for almost 20 years between Nintendo and Sony fans, gameplay first vs. graphics first, cartoonish vs. realistic, childish vs. mature. Nintendo has made their mantra to put the fun first before anything else. Making the most innovative and fun game is what they thrive for each of their games. Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of Donkey Kong, Mario, and Zelda, is considered the best game designer of all time, and if you look at the games he made, the graphics don’t look the best compared to his competitors at the time. That’s not to say Nintendo’s game graphics look bad. The artistic direction usually makes up for the lack of polygons, but what matters most is the gaming experience, and sales prove it all. 

Another selfie, this time Mario with Peach and Toad in Mario 64, source

The Gamecube was one of three 128-bit consoles that survived (rip Dreamcast) with the Xbox and PS2. At the time it had the best hardware specs. Was it the highest selling console of its era? No. It was the least successful of the three, with only 22 million sales compared to 155 million PS2 sales. The Wii, the next Nintendo console, sold 104 million consoles, dominating the PS3 and Xbox 360, respectively, selling 87 million and 84 million. The Wii was very innovative; it came with Wii Sports to show what the console was capable of. The game consisted of a lot of fun mini-games that required the Wiimote. The Wiimote let players mimic real-life movements in sports, like boxing, tennis, or bowling. Hardcore gamers criticized the Wii for its “bad” graphics compared to its competitors, but it achieved what no console had done before and attracted new audiences like the older generation.

Wii Sports, Ugly graphics but pure fun

The Minecraft revolution

For a long time, PC players were in a league of their own, looking down at Nintendo, Xbox, and Sony, fighting with each other while telling them, “Hey guys, all your consoles suck; the best graphics are on PC.” Then, one game with “bad” graphics surprised everyone with its massive success by giving its players an unlimited amount of fun and creativity. That game was Minecraft, and it’s played by hundreds of millions of players around the world. Would anyone argue that Minecraft is beautiful?

For a PS1 game, maybe, but by today’s standard, it’s an ugly game, but millions still play it. What matters most in a virtual world, like with Nintendo games, is the fun, creativity, and fresh experience before anything else. Thanks to more than 30 years of history in the gaming world, this has been proven right over and over. 

Minecraft,one of the most played game of all time

Roblox is one of the other “ugly games” kids love; there are more than 200 million monthly active users. What about Among Us, a minimalist 2D game with 530 million downloads worldwide and 60 million daily active users in 2020? Fall guys, a cute and cartoonish 3D graphics video game, was another 2020 phenomenon with 11 million copies sold.

Epic Games from Gears of War to Fortnite

Everyone knows Fortnite, the battle royale game becoming a pop-culture phenomenon, where many famous brands are displayed, and the gaming experience changes frequently. Epic Games is a gaming developer but, most importantly, the creator of Unreal Engine. Unreal Engine is the most used game engine in the world to make video games. For over 20 years, their “trademark” was to create super realistic games, like Unreal Tournament, Gears of War, and Paragon. Paragon was shut down, lacking interest from players; while the first two games were pretty successful but niche, their gameplay was relatively rigid (shoot, hide, run, repeat). Fortnite was an astonishing attempt from a developer like Epic Games, as they continuously made realistic games. This time they were about to release a semi-cartoonish game, close to what Pixar had made for the last 20 years. We all know what the success of Fortnite is today, and it’s far from being the most realistic-looking game out there.

Difference Between Gears of War and Fortnite, Source

Conclusion: Would a realistic metaverse be good?

Ask yourself this question for a second: How would you feel to see a highly-realistic representation of you, your family, and your friends on a daily basis? Some would like it, but many would probably find it creepy and disturbing, especially as a first-time metaverse experience. It would be a different story for a cartoonish version of yourself. That’s why so many people use Snapchat filters or why NFTs are used widely in the Web3 space; people like unrealistic, fantasy, cute, or cartoonish representations of themselves.

The Metaverse doesn’t have to look realistic or good, Nintendo games look amazing for millions of players, but they’re not realistic. If a metaverse tries to replicate reality 100%, imagine how boring it could be, users of virtual experiences are looking for something they can’t do in real life. There will probably be realistic metaverses out there, and many people will enjoy them like they enjoy a realistic solo gaming experience like The Last of Us. Still, my bet is the more mainstream metaverse will be the more unrealistic, cartoonish, and cute versions.

Another thing I would like to mention is how a video game is made. Usually, the graphics and polish are made at the end of the product, not the beginning; what matters most is if the mechanics are fun and if it runs smoothly; pre-alpha demos look really different from the end product in terms of graphics.

Thank you for reading this far, if you enjoyed the article you can follow me for new articles about everything gaming and web3 related

About the author: Reda

Hi everyone, I've been working in the gaming industry for 6 years doing User Research and Market Research. I can't see a future where web 3 doesn't take a massive space in gaming, hence I'm here to share my view on how these two will coexist.

You can also follow me on Twitter at @reda_world

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