Tim Sweeney, the CEO of video game and software developer Epic Games, is a big believer in the metaverse – but thinks Apple will try to either crush it or “extract all the profit from it.” Sweeney made the comments during an interview with GameIndustry at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco this week. The executive has been a long-standing critic of Apple’s walled garden approach, having previously been entangled in a legal battle with the company relating to its App Store policies.
‘The metaverse must be open’Apple is expected to release its Reality Pro VR/AR headset later this year, and many believe the launch could be a watershed moment for the much-hyped metaverse, encouraging mainstream adoption due to the tech giant’s name value. Sweeney, though, isn’t buying it. In the interview with GameIndustry, the CEO predicted that Apple will “either try to crush the metaverse, or extract all the profit from it, one or the other.” Explaining the rationale for his claim, the outspoken executive noted, “Apple doesn’t let you use a competing browser engine. So they can do the same thing with the metaverse, so they can say, ‘You must use Apple’s limited metaverse engine, you can’t build your own, you can’t use Unreal.’” Such a policy would be anathema to the grand vision of an interactive, interoperable metaverse accessible to all users. As Sweeney himself says, “The metaverse has to be open, it can’t be another walled garden.
“Open is a natural state of things, it’s only in the past 15 years that we’ve seen walled gardens take over the world with iOS and Facebook and other companies.”Unreal Engine is an advanced real-time 3D creation tool for photo-real visuals and immersive experiences. At the GDC, Fortnite developer Epic has been busy demoing the latest features of Unreal 5.2, such as a nifty substrate shading system that lets artists create materials at a level of quality and fidelity that was previously impossible.