Snap’s Evan Spiegel Slams the Metaverse, Touts Own AR Vision

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(Bloomberg) -- Billionaire Snap Inc. founder Evan Spiegel rubbished the idea that future computing will migrate into a virtual world dubbed the metaverse, arguing most people prefer a lighter touch known as augmented reality.

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Augmented reality, which broadly speaking superimposes digital info on the real world, lets people harness computing power without forcing them to rely on a single screen, Spiegel said. Unlike a VR headset, the combination of phones and augmented glasses is “more immersive.”

“The metaverse is ‘living inside of a computer.’ The last thing I want to do when I get home from work during a long day is live inside of a computer,” Spiegel told the WSJ Live conference in Laguna Beach, California. “There is a clear fork in the road between VR and AR.”

Later at the same event, Apple Inc. marketing chief Greg Joswiak echoed the sentiment, saying the metaverse is “a word I’ll never use.” Apple is working on its own combined AR and VR headset, Bloomberg News has reported.

Spiegel and his lieutenants have argued that perspective previously, which diverges in part from the more all-encompassing vision of the metaverse espoused by Meta Platforms Inc. founder Mark Zuckerberg.

The debate underscores a broader discussion underway about the future of computing as growth in the smartphone era wanes. Snap this month reported its slowest quarterly sales growth ever, saying a decline in advertising spending continues to drag on results.

(Updates with Apple executive’s comments)

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