May 13, 2022
Photographer: George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Hello, and welcome to Protocol Entertainment, your guide to the business of the gaming and media industries. This Friday, we talked to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg about his company’s grand metaverse ambitions, as well as how he plans to compete with Fortnite and Roblox. Also: what to read, watch and play this weekend.
Mark Zuckerberg has no regrets about rebranding his company. It’s been about seven months since Facebook became Meta and the company began the monumental shift from a social networking giant to a AR and VR-focused platform building what it thinks will be the future of computing. It’s been “going a lot better than I thought it would,” the chief executive told Protocol this week in an exclusive interview.
Read the full interview with Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Zuckerberg is all in on the metaverse. “I want to live in a world where big companies use their resources to take big shots,” he said. The reception to the rebrand, he added, has been positive, and the early work on transitioning the company is underway.
It’s still early days. Meta has its VR social platform Horizon, but it’s just as closed as some of the major gaming platforms it’s competing against, like Fortnite and Roblox. Interoperability is supposed to be a major pillar of the metaverse, but right now it’s very far from reality.
“I feel a responsibility to go for it.” For Zuckerberg, the shift to the metaverse is similar in ways to the looming mobile crisis the company faced during the rise of smartphones more than a decade ago.
—Janko Roettgers and Nick Statt
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“How Call of Duty turned war into a circus” — Polygon. Journalist Patrick Gill does the seemingly impossible in a new video on the outlet’s YouTube channel: contextualizes Call of Duty within the U.S. military industrial complex. Over 27 minutes, Gill manages to articulate in flawless fashion what countless members of gaming media have tried to explain time and again over the years: How did Call of Duty become the shooter series, and what does it say about games as a business and a culture? It's a really fine achievement in explanatory journalism rich in media history, and I suggest anyone who’s ever struggled with the nature of the shooter genre give it a watch.
“Barry” — HBO. The dark comedy from actor and writer Bill Hader entered its third season last month, and it’s starting to get very dark. “Barry” is at its best when it’s juggling the serious depravity and depressive depths of its main character, a disgraced military vet and assassin-turned-aspiring actor, with the borderline surreal subplots and larger-than-life criminal associates acting as comic relief. And in Season Three, Hader is taking Barry into new territory as he starts to evolve from a likable but compromised underdog into a truly irredeemable antihero in a delightfully horrific twist on the now-classic “Breaking Bad” narrative arc.
“Drive My Car” — Prime Video. This Japanese drama from director Ryusuke Hamaguchi, based on a Haruki Murakami short story of the same name, is an epic, three-hour-long exploration of grief that manages, remarkably, to be one of the most life-affirming films I’ve watched in a long time. Though actor and theater director Yūsuke Kafuku (Hidetoshi Nishijima) is still mourning the death of his wife, the film centers on a unique relationship between him and his personal driver (Tôko Miura), and how they process complex feelings of loss in different ways.
Salt and Sacrifice — PSN/Epic Game Store. If you’re fresh off Elden Ring and looking for another punishing RPG, the sequel to Ska Studios’ Salt and Sanctuary released on PlayStation and PC last week. It still features many of the Soulslike and Metroidvania influences of the most popular action indie games of the last few years wrapped up in a 2D side scroller. But this time around, there’s a Monster Hunter-esque hunt system that introduces a fair amount of replayability, alongside a co-op system for playing with friends that helps make the repetition feel more manageable.
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