Tim Sweeney Says If Apple Won’t Have Its Way, “It Will Try to Crush the Metaverse”

The Epic Games CEO said the iPhone maker could create obstacles for businesses “if it cannot extract money from [the metaverse].”
Credit: Rachel Luna/Getty Images

Quick take:

  • Tim Sweeney says Apple “will try to crush the metaverse if it cannot profit from it.”
  • The Epic Games CEO believes the metaverse will happen for real.
  • He also advocates for an open metaverse, rather than “another walled garden”. 

Tim Sweeney claims Apple “will either try to crash the metaverse or extract all profit from it.” The Epic Games CEO was speaking to GamesIndustry at this year’s Game Developers Conference (GDC).

According to Sweeney, the metaverse will happen for real, but “it has to be open” as compared to being “another walled garden.”

Sweeney is not the first person to call out Apple for its strict App Store policies.

Earlier this month, UniSwap revealed that it was still waiting for Apple to approve the listing of its self-custody mobile wallet in the App Store. 

In December, the company also blocked Coinbase Wallet asking the crypto exchange company to disable NFT payments in the wallet app. Coinbase said the tech giant wanted gas fee (the service cost incurred when buying an NFT) to be paid through its in-app purchase system ‘so that it can take its 30% cut’.

In October 2022, Apple updated its App Store guidelines to ban apps from using NFTs as gate-pass to token-gated content. The guidelines state that “users may browse NFT collections but the apps cannot contain calls to action directing customers to external purchase systems.”

This is exactly what Sweeney is referring to when he says the metaverse “cannot 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,” he said, adding “But that’s not how it has to be though, the games industry is the perfect place for an open system to be involved because there’s not one predominant company that can dictate terms.”

Sweeney believes that the fact there are three strong console manufacturers (Microsoft – Xbox, Nintendo, and Sony’s PlayStation), coupled with over 20 popular game publishers, it makes sense for gaming companies to keep their ecosystems open. This is the same principle that should be applied in the metaverse.

“The metaverse is way more attractive to you as a player if the majority of your real-world friends are there. This isn’t the old days where you’re playing with random strangers on the internet. This is about real-world experiences with real-world friends. And interconnection is the way to do it.”

Sweeney also added that while NFTs and token-gated communities have been made a part of the metaverse, they are not central to making the metaverse work.

“[] unfortunately, everybody wants to attach their boloney to it. So, you know, we had NFT pitches, true ownership and metaverse… You don’t need that for the metaverse. It works.”


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