The Code Conference 2023 featured some of the top names in business and tech, including AMD CEO Lisa Su, Microsoft CTO Kevin Scott, and Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe. The highlight of the event was an interview with X (formerly Twitter) CEO Linda Yaccarino at the end of day two — which became all the more high stakes after Kara Swisher invited Twitter’s former trust and safety leader, Yoel Roth, to speak just an hour beforehand.
The Verge reported from the conference live across two days, and you can catch up on all the highlights below. Code 2023 was co-hosted by The Verge editor-in-chief Nilay Patel, Platformer founder Casey Newton, and CNBC senior media and tech correspondent Julia Boorstin.
- That’s all for tonight.
We’ll be back bright and early tomorrow (at least, early on the West Coast) with coverage of Code day two, featuring Microsoft CTO Kevin Scott, X CEO Linda Yaccarino, and more. The show kicks off around 12PM ET / 9AM PT.
- “I think you can pay more,”
WMG CEO Robert Kyncl jokes about the price of music services like Spotify. Basically: he’d like to see them go up.
“The price elasticity is generally high around it,” he says. He floats $20 per month for a music family plan — the same price as Netflix for four.
- Warner Music Group’s CEO says we might see AI prompt-generated music really soon.
Robert Kyncl estimates that within the next year, you’ll see lots of evolution in AI technologies and music. “You have to embrace technology,” he said.
- I asked David Baszucki about the potential of interoperability between different virtual worlds platforms.
The short answer seems to be no. But in his response, he talked a lot about file formats and how they might differ for things like a pair of virtual shoes and wheels that fall off a virtual car. That might make any interchangeability would be a tricky problem to solve; companies like Roblox, Meta, and Epic Games would have to agree on file formats that could sync across systems. My sense is they might be reticent to do that right now.
- Is Roblox moving away from the term “metaverse?”
“I wouldn’t say it’s a distancing. We have evolved the terminology we’ve used,” Baszucki says.
He prefers the term “human co-experience” or “communication and connection platform.”
I have to wonder if a certain brand’s renaming has anything to do with it.
- Roblox hasn’t given up on China.
The company shut down the Chinese version of its app that was operated by Tencent in early 2022, but Roblox co-founder and CEO David Baszucki says that the company is still working on something for the Chinese market.
The idea would be that Roblox can “literally print a copy of Roblox in China and bring it to market there” and that Roblox would have less and less data going back and forth between the US and China.
- Another hint that physical shopping is coming to Roblox.
David Baszucki, Roblox’s co-founder and CEO, mentioned that while physical shopping is “not yet really announced or promised,” it could be something that brands do within Roblox at some point. But it’s on the roadmap — the company included a goal about physical shopping in its big predictions for the next five years of the company.
- Roblox’s recent job cuts are “absolutely not” a sign of a business downturn.
Baszucki said Roblox was growing headcount by 50 percent back in Q1 and needed a lot of recruiters. That hiring is just slowing down, he told The Verge’s Alex Heath.
“We’ve done this amazing job of growing steadily over the last two years,” Baszucki said.
- Roblox is no longer using the term “aging up.”
The platform is hugely popular with kids, but the company is making a huge push into attracting older players, too. According to David Baszucki, Roblox’s co-founder and CEO, the growth is good enough (33 percent year-over-year with the 17-24 year-old demographic) that the company is ok not saying that they’re trying to age up.
- AMD Lisa Su on Apple’s claim that the iPhone 15 Pro is “the best game console”: “I don’t know about that.”
I asked Su if she’s worried about Apple’s recent push to prove that its devices and M series chips are good for triple-A gaming. I get the sense she’s not.
“We’re gonna continue to push the envelope on the highest performing PCs and consoles’ chips, and I think we’re gonna be pretty good,” she added.
- “Is this the end of console gaming? I don’t see it.”
AMD’s Lisa Su somewhat dodges a question about whether a cloud gaming shift is underway: “I see PC gaming strong, I see console gaming strong, and I see cloud gaming also having legs. They all need similar types of technology but they obviously use it in different ways.”
- AMD is open to regulations on what AI chips can do.
CEO Lisa Su says you can’t limit the chips alone, but...
I can make the combination of the chip and the model have some safeguards in place, and we’re absolutely willing to be at that table to make that happen.
She was responding to a question from Verge EIC Nilay Patel about whether she’d accept government restrictions on AI chips, such as stopping them from being used to develop chemical weapons.
- “We have the capability of building custom chips.”
That was Su’s response to Nilay asking if it would be possible. Microsoft and AMD are reportedly working together on an in-house AI chip for Microsoft. Su also confirmed that it would be possible to make AMD chips available to Azure customers in an invisible way — but she suggested asking Microsoft’s CTO Kevin Scott asking that question as well. Fortunately, he’ll be starting Wednesday’s show!
- “AI is like 10x, 100x more” impactful than phones, the internet, and PCs, says AMD CEO Lisa Su.
But she says she’s looking at AI on a 10-plus year cycle — not just over the next four quarters. And there’s still a lot of room to improve our current models with higher performing chips.
“Generative AI, you know, is kind of the killer app for high performance computing,” she says.
- AMD’s Lisa Su says that chip supply and demand are in a good place — with perhaps the exception of GPUs for LLM training and inference.
But Su says the company is putting “a tremendous amount of effort to getting the entire supply chain ramped up.”