Reggie Fils-Aimé, the former president and CEO of Nintendo of America, is clearly no fan of Facebook and its recent push into VR with the metaverse.
At this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, Fils-Aimé took the opportunity to completely unload on Mark Zuckerberg’s social media conglomerate, now known as Meta, while speaking with Emily Chang of Bloomberg.
“Facebook itself is not an innovative company,” said Fils-Aime as he proceeded to explain how every popular Facebook product after the flagship social media platform has been bought from third parties. “They have either acquired interesting things like Oculus and Instagram, or they’ve been a fast follower of people’s ideas. Inherently, they are not an innovative company other than the very original social platform that was created many years ago.”
As for Meta’s foray into VR and the metaverse, Fils-Aimé’s thoughts are clear.
“I don’t think their current definition will be successful,” he shared.
As Gizmodo points out, Fils-Aimé then intensified his scathing review of Meta. Further along in his discussion with Chang, Fils-Aimé compared Nintendo’s success stories with Meta’s Quest 2 VR headset sales.
“The last number I saw was that, in total – and not just Oculus – in total, about 20 million VR devices have been sold,” said Fils-Aimé. “When I was running Nintendo, that was a good year, one year, in terms of hardware sell-through.”
It doesn’t end there. Fils-Aimé critiqued Facebook for putting ad revenue over customers and innovative ideas. He also says Facebook Portal, Meta’s video calling device, “wasn’t a big idea.”
It should be noted that during the conversation, Fils-Aimé shared that he favors augmented reality over virtual reality. AR functionality in Nintendo’s own video game titles, such as Pokémon Go and Mario Kart Live, make it clear that Fils-Aimé’s former company feels the same way too. The former Nintendo president said that he’d prefer a product that fits into a more casual pair of glasses than a bulky headset.
However, Fils-Aimé also thinks certain aspects of the metaverse will become successful. But he does think a Meta competitor will come along and knock the company out of its place in the space.
Reggie Fils-Aimé retired from his role at Nintendo of America in 2019 after a 16-year stint with the company. He’s often credited with reviving Nintendo’s stature in the gaming industry in North America after it lost ground to Sony and Microsoft as the premiere console company with the Gamecube. Fils-Aimé’s on-stage presence and ability to hype Nintendo quickly led to him becoming the face of the company and a beloved figure among its hardcore fans.
Some of Facebook’s problems do look to be mirroring Nintendo’s during that time period between Nintendo 64 and Wii. Perhaps Meta could use a Reggie of its own?