Candle Media CEO Kevin Mayer Says Mark Zuckerberg Owning the Metaverse Is ‘Absurd’ (Podcast)

‘Tech vs Media’ podcast: Kevin Mayer says the next internet iteration doesn’t exist yet, but soon will

Tech vs Media Kevin Mayer
Kevin Mayer served as CEO and COO of TikTok (TheWrap)

Amid the rise of immersive environments and VR from a number of platforms and companies, Candle Media co-founder and CEO Kevin Mayer called the idea of Mark Zuckerberg owning the Metaverse “absurd.”

“You see each of these universes, if you will, and the metaverse wins all interoperability and you can take things across each of them — I think that’s what I would call the Metaverse,” Mayer said on TheWrap’s “Tech vs Media” podcast with host Richard Wolpert. “We’re not there yet. That does not exist yet, but I think we should look for that to happen in the not-too-distant future. But Zuckerberg owning the Metaverse and all that seems a little absurd.”

For Mayer, who identifies video games as the early manifestation of the Metaverse, video games and blockchain are essential to the creation of a true and comprehensive virtual reality space.

“To the extent that multiple of these universes exist you need to have interoperability across them, that’s where blockchain can be very helpful,” Mayer said. “That will allow for interoperability and transportability among the goods between different instances of the metaverse, and I think that video games are leading the way there.”

Despite the utility of blockchain, the former TikTok CEO echoed OnChain Studios CEO Will Weinraub’s concern about NFTs being “vastly” overhyped and needing real-world benefits to prove their value.

“I’m not a fan of the ridiculous hype that’s around web3 and the whole NFT thing,” Mayer said, underscoring that the industry must focus on “product benefits and features versus the underlying technology” since NFTs are “enablers to create something that’s valuable.”

“I think that people have gotten mixed up a little bit that if you have something on the blockchain, and then there’s one of them that it’s automatically valuable,” he continued. “And I don’t think that is true. I think there has to be some inherent value that underlies it, then you can prove ownership, and you create secondary marketplaces, and there’s a lot of good things about it. But the hype is vastly over done.”

While NFTs might not yet prove themselves vital to evolution of immersive spaces, Mayer sees blockchain as an “important part of the future of the world.”

“Blockchain is the primary way that you can prove ownership of a digital asset indisputably, if you will, and therefore it can create scarcity,” Mayer said.

Listen to the full episode below.

Episode highlights:

  • Kevin Mayer walks through his favorite acquisitions he oversaw during his time at Disney, including Marvel and LucasFilm — and why he would have loved to see a deal with Lego
  • Kevin Mayer explains why he thinks Netflix is the streaming service in the best shape and gives his take on their addition of an ad-tier
  • Kevin Mayer breaks down his takeaways from serving as CEO and COO on TikTok and how their strategy to e-commerce and storytelling has influenced his own professional approach
  • Kevin Mayer shares his perspective on the ongoing video competition between TikTok and YouTube
  • Kevin Mayer weighs in on the hype surrounding web3 and NFTs and why he believes there must be “inherent value” to attract real-world audiences in the longterm
  • Kevin Mayer predicts Apple could move the market if they came out with a great VR headset
  • Kevin Mayer explains how he and Tom Staggs have managed to thrive as both co-founders and co-CEOs

About “Tech vs Media”

On each episode of “Tech vs Media,” host Richard Wolpert — who has decades of technology and media experience as an executive, founder of tech companies, venture capitalist and philanthropist — and one his esteemed guests will divulge enlightening lessons and give their insightful perspective on the movers, creators, disruptors and innovations that are shaping the future of media and technology and how these industries will intertwine with one another.

New episodes of “Tech vs Media” drop weekly. Click here for all the episodes.