Facebook generated a lot of buzz about the metaverse when it renamed itself Meta last year but one of its competitors isn’t completely buying into the social network’s vision of the future.
The metaverse involves creating virtual spaces where people can work, play and socialize. On Wednesday, Recode co-founder and tech journalist Kara Swisher asked Snap CEO Evan Spiegel about whether the company that owns ephemeral messaging app Snapchat is also investing in the metaverse.
Spiegel said the company is still trying to figure out what the metaverse means, noting that it seems to focus heavily on putting on a virtual reality headset and escaping the real world.
“That’s going in a totally different direction than our strategy, which is about integrating computing into the real world,” Spiegel said at Vox Media’s Code Conference on Wednesday. “We believe that that’s the healthiest way to use computing.”
Snap has been ahead of other tech companies when it comes to investing in augmented reality (AR) where digital objects are superimposed on a user’s view of the physical world. The company has also been working with developers who are building immersive experiences with its AR glasses Spectacles.
But Snap has also been facing more competition from larger companies such as Meta and Apple, which is reportedly working on an AR and VR headset. Snap has been grappling with economic challenges as advertisers pull back spending, prompting the company to cut 20% of its staff last week.
Snap, though, doesn’t seem too worried about how much money its rivals are spending on AR.
“Obviously I can’t predict, you know, what the future will hold,” Spiegel said. “But what gives me a lot of hope is that…historically in our industry spending huge amounts of money is not always correlated with long term success.”