Is Metaverse a commercial blue ocean, a marketing bubble, or a time bomb?
Metaverse is the hottest concept in recent times, but Musk, who always speaks surprisingly, “made fun of” Metaverse two days ago.
On December 22nd, Musk said in an interview that he is totally unoptimistic about the Metaverse led by Zuckerberg, and it is currently just a marketing term. “When I was young, I was always taught not to sit so close to the TV, which would hurt the eyes. But now, people have to put the TV on their noses.”
In fact, people from all walks of life have different opinions on it since the fermentation of the Metaverse. Zuckerberg believes that Metaverse is “the next important chapter after the Internet”; Liu Cixin said that “The final goal of Metaverse is to lead mankind to a dead end”; coupled with Musk’s teasing, celebrities in different fields have attitudes towards Metaverse Decisively split.
Who is right? Maybe everyone is right, maybe by bringing together different perspectives, we will get a glimpse of the fuzzy whole picture of the Metaverse, the virtual thing.
Merchants-the market’s code to get rich
From the perspective of commercial value, Metaverse can indeed become the next chapter in Zuckerberg’s territory.
Zuckerberg believes that the real Metaverse is based on VR/AR technology. In 2014, Facebook acquired Oculus, a company specializing in the development and production of virtual reality devices, with US$2 billion in cash and stock, in order to open up the virtual device market. In fact, this has indeed brought significant revenue.
Facebook’s virtual reality device Oculus Quest 2 launched in 2020 caused a sensation in the market as soon as it was released. According to data, Oculus Quest 2 has sold nearly 3 million units in just three months after its launch; it has surpassed the sum of all previous product sales in just six months. The launch of a virtual reality device priced at $300 apiece gave Facebook, which was scandal-ridden at the time, a shot in the arm.
The cloud gaming community market is compatible with VR/AR devices. According to the survey, from November 2019 to May 2021, meta has successively acquired virtual game developers such as Beat Games and Downpour Interactive, and is preparing to launch its cloud game platform and VR social platform.
An analogy is Roblox, a gaming platform. Roblox is currently the world’s largest and earliest virtual game community. It was successfully listed on March 12 this year and is called “the first stock of the Metaverse concept.”
In Roblox, you can create a virtual community, social entertainment and play games with virtual characters from players all over the world. From its financial data, one can also intuitively see the commercial impact of “Metaverse”.
Data shows that since the first day of Roblox’s listing, the market value has doubled 10 times compared with last year, and the stock price has risen by 157% so far; as of September 30, the daily activity reached 47.3 million people. Financial report data also shows that its revenue has increased by more than 100% year-on-year for four consecutive quarters this year.
At the same time, “authenticity” also gives the virtual community more possibilities for profit.
In September this year, the American band “Twenty One Pilots” held a short 20-minute virtual concert at Roblox. According to statistics after the event, they attracted users from more than 160 countries to watch, and about 14 million users bought the combined virtual peripherals.
All this coincides with Zuckerberg’s vision. At the beginning of this month, meta opened a similar Metaverse platform Horizon Worlds for free — of course, the premise is to purchase its VR equipment.
In addition, there are various new tricks such as virtual fashion and virtual real estate. In theory, you can even replicate all the businesses in reality in the Metaverse Community. The Bloomberg industry research report predicts that the market size of Metaverse will reach 800 billion US dollars in 2024; its commercial value has the potential to explode.
“Iron Man”-Floating Marketing Spree
Known as the “realistic version of Iron Man,” Musk usually launches rockets and studies brain-computer interfaces, but he is not cold about Zuckerberg’s Metaverse. Instead, he calls it a marketing.
With many fanatical entrants, the development of Metaverse is indeed a bit like a massive marketing bubble.
As a popular concept in the market, no brand would want to take advantage of this hot spot: Nike acquired the virtual sneaker design company “RTFKT”, vans established a virtual board field in roblox…
Even in China, after Facebook changed its name to “meta”, giants such as Tencent, Alibaba, and NetEase have also applied for registration of Metaverse related trademarks, such as “QQ Metaverse”, “King Metaverse”, “NetEase Metaverse” and “Lei Huo Metaverse”. Wait. Not to mention that many companies’ business does not involve the field of science and technology at all, and they have also preemptively registered the relevant trademarks of the universe: toothpaste, milk tea, beauty…
It’s just that most of the “Metaverse” that has been launched on the market today are old wines in new bottles.
For example, the tea brand “Nayuki’s Tea” launched the virtual image ambassador “NAYUKI” and opened a live broadcast through the virtual brand image. According to reports, it has gained nearly 200 million GMV in 72 hours, which is equivalent to the sales of Nayuki’s tea stores nationwide in the past week. .
This is essentially a live broadcast.
Launched the social App Soul with custom avatar function, claiming to “create a social Metaverse for young people.” However, I found that there are no new special functions except for the AR emoticon pack. If the social interaction of virtual characters is regarded as Metaverse, I would like to call the QQ show ten years ago the “originator of Metaverse.”
Some people in the industry said that most of the “Metaverse” gimmicks that have been launched on the market have not actually improved their functions.
In addition, Zinc Finance’s previous article “Towards the End of Metaverse, Starting with Selling Lessons” also mentioned the phenomenon of Metaverse selling leeks.
On the platform, a “Frontier · Metaverse 6 Lectures” priced at 29.9 yuan has collected more than 1.4 million tuition in just seven lessons. “When there was no physical object in Metaverse to show, the teachers who sold the class made millions first.”
Looking at it this way, is the Metaverse really close to our lives? In fact, there is no such thing. As Musk said, “The current concept of the metaverse cannot convince me. Maybe I can understand it in the future, but not now.”
Novelist-the “time bomb” of the future
Sci-fi creators tend to look at new things from a larger, more story-telling perspective. Liu Cixin, the author of “Three-Body”, once expressed his opinion in a public speech that the Metaverse will lead mankind to a dead end.
As the most famous science fiction writer in China, Liu Cixin has described similar concepts in his works more than once.
The description of the virtual world in the work “China 2185” in the 1980s made him known as “China’s first Metaverse architect”; in “The Program That Cannot Coexist”, Liu Cixin clearly proposed the duality of the spaceship school and the Metaverse school “There are two roads in front of human beings. One is outward, leading to the sea of stars; the other is inward, leading to virtual reality.”
In his public speeches, Liu Cixin also stated on many occasions that he is more inclined to the real sea of stars, and the Metaverse is a very seductive and highly hallucinogenic “spiritual opium.”
Although it may be a bit extreme, from the perspective of the conception of science fiction works, the future of the barbaric development of the Metaverse may not necessarily be so.
The dream conception in “Inception” has many similarities with the current Metaverse concept. People in the future can construct dreams on their own and immerse themselves in them through technical means, and this also makes virtual reality a place for many people to escape reality: hidden underground, people fall into sweet dreams in dirty beds, and sleep for more than ten years.
In another sci-fi giant “Ready Player One”, the description of virtual game socialization should be more appropriate. Even many technology giants have bluntly stated that their “Metaverse” concept is the “oasis” in the benchmark “Top Player”. But the development of the story in the movie, the future is not so good.
The virtual world has become an aid for dictators to establish hegemony and a tool for controlling people.
Science fiction works may not be unfounded.
On December 20th, the first Metaverse sexual harassment case in history broke out in the “Horizon Worlds” that meta just opened. Even now, the privacy issues and regulatory issues behind Metaverse have not yet been effectively implemented.
So, is Metaverse a commercial blue ocean, a marketing bubble, or a time bomb? I think for this vast uncharted territory, a single side is not conclusive. At least it is known that “optimistic expectations and staying awake” is the best way for us to face it.
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