The metaverse, first proposed by science fiction author Neal Stephenson in 1992 in his book Snow Crash, refers to a virtual world that is decoupled from the real world, parallel to it, interacting with it, and always online. But for a long time, the metaverse was only at the concept stage. But this year, Roblox, MetaApp and other products are getting hotter and hotter, which also bring the concept of metaverse into the public view.
This highly sci-fi and futuristic concept has stimulated people’s infinite imagination. Ma Huateng, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Tencent, also mentioned the concept of a full-real Internet last year, believing that the next step of the Internet is to open the door between the virtual world and the real world completely. An economy consisting of games and virtual spaces rises.
On May 7, the Tencent Research Institute held an online roundtable discussion on “Metaverse: Is the Future of the Internet a Virtual Space and Time? The following are the highlights and roundtable review.
The essence of guest sharing
- Yang Yanzhe: The key technology analysis from GTA to Metaverse
Metaverse is a topic of predicting the future, we try to start from the relatively certain part of new technology development, and share our small team’s thinking with you for your reference only.
We believe that the Holistic Internet is the brand new continent that everyone knows about, and how to reach this new continent is something very challenging and rewarding. I don’t know if you have played Europa Universalis, a very realistic strategy simulation game where players simulate a country’s monarch for strategic activities, and the key point of the whole game process is the discovery of the New World by Europeans. Interestingly, no matter how many times the game is simulated, Spain and Portugal are the first countries to discover the New World and eat the first wave of dividends. In the rules of the game, these two countries are geographically the closest to the New World, navigation technology is very adequate, these two countries first to discover the New World is inevitable.
If Metaverse is the new continent, I think the game companies now are like the countries on the Iberian Peninsula. Based on these factors of technology maturity and user matching, the possibility of this full-fledged Internet revolution being led by game companies is high. Games can be called the pioneer of the times, there are many specific leading paths, let’s try to speculate.
First of all, there is a super 3A game similar to GTA, which has been highly anthropomorphized, itself is a big world. After that, we transform this super 3A game into Metaverse through new technology transformation, and then introduce more production and life elements, establish economic and system management system, and finally, we may push the whole society into the era of full-real Internet.
Metaverse may be the first step of the full Internet. How to build the Metaverse, we think the first step is to create super 3A games and to transform super 3A games. Our team judges that despite the challenges, there must be a company in China that will succeed. 3A games are like everyone knows, we take GTA as an example, there are several other necessary conditions from GTA to Metaverse.
The first point is that Metaverse must have a more realistic experience than GTA. At present, whether it is PC host or cell phones and other screen devices, the degree of fidelity will have a small progress each year, but it is difficult to reach the degree of fidelity. Based on the field of view, 3D visual interaction and some other fundamental advantages, XR devices in the ultra-deep game experience, will bring qualitative changes to the Metaverse fidelity.
The second point is accessibility. Super 3A games, as high-quality games, may require dedicated gaming devices to play, such as a discrete graphics card, which dooms the game user penetration rate to never be very high. At this point, the computing and display separation technology is the key to reduce the user’s threshold, specifically representing the cloud gaming technology.
The third point is extensibility. Now the 3A masterpiece designed by the first party, although it is done by a team of a thousand people for five years, but the average user time is 189 hours – the user 189 hours can consume all the efforts of the team of a thousand people for five years. And now 3A game content production can never catch up with the consumption of players, it is difficult to retain players in the long term. The solution is to explore the content ecology and make Metaverse a self-evolving platform so that players have a chance to stay for a long time.
- Zitao Ye: How will the future be created and what is creation?
I would like to think about this question simply from the creator’s perspective. I prefer to start from “what do you think you are good at creating?” This question is a good way to work backwards to a Metaverse, and the result may be a little surprising to you.
In game design, we will talk about aesthetic credibility and the credibility of the overall gameplay world. In real life we can see that there are different buildings coexisting in the same space, corresponding to completely different aesthetic and creative needs of the world. But in the Metaverse, if any one world defines the aesthetic and playful understanding of the word Metaverse, then there is actually an implied aesthetic hegemony.
Can multiple things co-exist in one space-time? Can an unbelievably well-written giant suddenly appear in Animal Crossing? This is actually very exaggerated and would destroy the sense of immersion. The development of video games from 2D to 3D to now is an advancement in computer graphics and hardware, not in game play and gameplay. Therefore, I myself think it is a simplistic thinking and lack of imagination to insinuate the imagination for 3D and the imagination for open world as Metaverse. We can easily go from 3D space to Internet hypertext and realize jumping within one space and another space of the Internet, so why do we end up back to a 3D space again? This is my first question.
The second problem is that there are a lot of limitations when we create. Many game engines, including Roblox, actually modularize and encapsulate the logic of the game itself. For example, Lego is divided into small puzzle pieces, and this puzzle is the smallest unit that we encapsulate, and it is based on the puzzle to assemble and create. This kind of creation is not infinite, in fact, the modularization process is part of the curb creativity.
And something like Roblox, you really look at its editor, and the overall feeling I get is not too far from a game engine. It seems that there are so many games, but the choices given are racing, running, jumping, grabbing flags, team battles, and so on, mainly in some basic functional actions to do some changes, such as vehicles, shooting, so it is not easy to really touch the underlying creation. The core argument of this part is actually that high customization and ease of use are incompatible, and the more things you are willing to encapsulate on top, the less possibilities you have to create.
There is another issue involved, since it can be imported from external modeling software, is it interoperable, open and open source? A more sensitive issue is who owns the content of the creation. The previous reset of Warcraft 3, which was sprayed by many people, said that all the creator maps were owned by Blizzard, and map workers were very angry. In fact the Metaverse issue for me becomes how to make a game with an embedded, universal and open application game engine.
We’re talking about the Metaverse in terms of closed-world, product-based thinking, but it can be better understood if we think of it as a protocol.
Can we open up more lightweight tools in this case, and can the content created be put on top of a more open source or better one server? Now that everyone can make videos, is it possible that in the future everyone can make games and make things for themselves? I look forward to having such a market.
3D open world, VR should be an option to become the Metaverse, but not necessary. If we limit the Metaverse to open world, instead of the real Metaverse, we are imposing an aesthetic on it, saying you must be VR or open world, must be anthropomorphic. It’s like why we have a live-action Game of Thrones and a Lego Game of Thrones that doesn’t necessarily aim to be realistic. What I envision is that the Metaverse can provide a space for mixing and creating different tools, giving the creator real freedom.
A virtual world should be something that humans enjoy and want to create with, if it is an empty world that subsidizes its creators by spending money, it must be incomplete and unsustainable. Thanks!
- Chen Tulufan: Is Metaverse building a new civilization?
Chen Lvfan: How we build a belief and why the Metaverse is a sure path to the future is what we will explore and share today.
The Metaverse can find some theoretical sources in science and philosophy. One is the Infinite Universe Theory, which is thinking in terms of space-time, for example, a spaceship reaching the end of the universe in an infinite amount of time will transition to another universe with no boundaries forever. At the same time, the way matter is formed is finite, all matter and planets are made of elementary particles, and it is perfectly reasonable that somewhere in the infinite universe there exists another Earth, another you sitting in front of your computer staring at a screen listening to another lecture. Unfortunately, we will never be able to determine by observation whether this theory is correct, because these limitations of distance, time, and an expanding universe are always present.
The second theory is from quantum physicist Hugh Everett III, based on the “Schrödinger’s cat” theory, which suggests that the act of observation causes the present universe to split into an infinite number of very similar but slightly different versions, and that all the possibilities of quantum measurement are realized in some world or universe.
The last one is the philosophical theory of possible worlds proposed by David Lewis, where any version of the universe, even unimaginable versions, exists in this world, but we just cannot see it or make the connection. Unlike physics and cosmology, philosophy does not require any mathematics or observation to support any such theory, but is closer to a pure thought experiment, through mere logical and conceptual deduction.
Humans have a long history of thinking about and exploring multiple worlds, not to mention the three thousand worlds in Buddhism. How this thinking came to be and continues to be in our human consciousness is a question worth exploring.
What is the essential need that humans want to create the Metaverse to ultimately fulfill? Probably the answer is different for each person, for me it is a freedom. Whether you are an allusion to the real world, you will create countless digital twin bodies, or decentralized trading and circulation, it is a breakthrough to the limitations of a single physical space-time, to achieve a higher dimensional breakthrough.
For a long time, we have been imprisoned in a specific reality, physical, spatial, physical, identity, sensory, ideological …… These limitations are like boxes, big and small, nested in each other, telling us what you are and what you are not, what you should do and what you should not do, and we take this perception of the world and self-awareness as a guideline to be passed on from generation to generation. The rules of the finite game have been deeply embedded in the genes of civilization. Putting aside all the practical factors such as computing power, hardware, and cost, we can imagine a future of the Metaverse from the perspective of science fiction, in which the boundaries of reality begin to loosen and the boxes symbolizing limitations and scarcity are opened one by one. We can have different bodies, different identities, different worlds, and even different cosmic constants and concepts of space-time. Everything depends only on your imagination, and the constant removal of limitations unleashes a more powerful human imagination, a positive cycle. But does this inevitably lead to a positive future?
Mr. Liu Cixin once made a very famous assertion: there are two roads in front of human beings, one outward, leading to the starry sea, and one inward, leading to virtual reality. He believed that the future of mankind lies in the former road, while the latter will bring about an inward roll, bringing mankind to the realm of destruction.
I used to strongly endorse this view of his until the past year when it caused a very dramatic shift in my thinking. I want to argue briefly today that two paths may be one, and that out of the Metaverse may come a new consensus, concept, philosophy, and even worldview that may allow humanity to rethink the nature of existence and move better into the stars.
The answer may lie in the math.
Everyone knows Elon Musk’s view that the world we live in is a SIMULATION, but you may not know that his undergraduate mentor, Max Tegmark of the MIT Physics Department, author of Life 3.0, is even more radical than he is.
The idea that our universe is in some sense mathematical goes back to the Pythagorean “everything is number”, and Tegmark’s “UltimateEnsemble theory of everything” ( UltimateEnsemble theory of everything”), whose only assumption is that “all structures that exist mathematically also exist physically”. This simple theory suggests that in structures that are complex enough to contain self-aware substructures (SAS), these SAS will subjectively consider themselves to exist in the physically “real” world. This idea was formalized as the mathematical universe hypothesis, and his 2007 paper “The Mathematical Universe”, later expanded in 2014 into the book “Our Mathematical Universe” (in Chinese, “Crossing Parallel Universes”), takes this idea to the extreme and argues that our universe is equivalent to mathematics in a clear sense, not just physics as described through mathematical language. However, such a theory would probably be extremely difficult to prove empirically through observations of the universe, which is exactly what Max Tegmark said at the end of his 1998 paper on the theory of everything, which may be extremely simple, but would require generations of effort to find observational evidence.
Returning to the Metaverse, if one day we can create, through super-advanced digital technology (which is definitely a mathematical construct), a virtual world that is indistinguishable from the so-called “real world” on any level of “reality”, at least It is indistinguishable as human consciousness itself, because consciousness itself (all experiences, sensations and emotions) is already contained in this mathematical structure.
Is it possible to say that we create the equivalent of the so-called “external physical reality” through mathematics, thus shaking the uniqueness and materiality of “reality” and questioning whether we are already living in a Metaverse, in order to To verify the validity of Max Tegmark’s mathematical universe? This is a paradigm shift in the ontological sense, a historic step.
With the Metaverse, we are attempting to establish a rational philosophy or belief system based on knowledge traditionally available through mathematics, logic, reasoning, and empirical science. It is not a religion in the traditional sense, but an attempt to replace or encompass traditional religion with a set of beliefs on a more rational basis, while still addressing some of the ultimate questions that most religions try to answer, questions that mainstream science has remained silent on.
It hinges not on whether the world we live in is a simulation, but on how we go about understanding the nature of the universe, reality and human consciousness in a more profound way through simulation. This is one reason why humans have worked so tirelessly to create the Metaverse, where our consciousness is likewise part of a larger data structure, an insinuation.
By means of the Metaverse, humanity will be able to reach a deeper, more essential, more magnificent universe than any spaceship or FTL flight could ever reach. This will be a whole new phase of civilization.
So these are some of the more abstract and distant imaginings I want to share today, hoping to propose an ontological meaning to the Metaverse through science fictional imagination. The achievement of this meaning lies in everyone who believes and works for it, so I hope we can work hard to make such a belief come true soon.
Moderator: Thank you all for your accounts. This answers why the Metaverse is so exciting – because it doesn’t just mean an upgrade in technology or gameplay, but is creating a new civilization and consensus. We’ll move on to the Q&A session. The first question is to ask you all if you can describe in some words which features the source universe includes?
Yang Yanzhe: I’ll start by throwing in a few words. From my perspective, the Metaverse is a virtual world where you can do a lot of things, and you are willing to stay in the virtual world, and maybe in the future the importance of this world will gradually approach and exceed that of the real world. For many people, in the real world only live three or four hours a day, and in the virtual world to live eight or nine hours. If it is to reach such a degree, it requires an infinite amount of content inside the Metaverse, and a certain economic system in which people can generate value.
I think that with the development of technology and the advancement of AI, the number of people who can really create value for the real economy is actually decreasing, and automation will make many real jobs disappear. How to find a spiritual home and meaning of life for more people? I think the real world is becoming increasingly difficult to provide such a place as technology evolves. Whether from the need or the trend of the business drivers of technology companies, Metaverse must end up being a place where most people can live comfortably, can provide a platform for people to serve each other, and make society more harmonious.
Zitao Ye: I just thought of a word – “interwoven”, the Metaverse and the real world are an interwoven state. The second one is that the Metaverse is growing rather than controlling, and its boundaries must be reaching outward and should not be closely controlled. I’m not talking about top-down rules about which side is the Metaverse and which side is not. The nature of the Internet is that you can’t fit all the Internet into one box, just like you can’t have all the code in the world packaged only from your side. The Metaverse is intertwined with reality rather than replaced, and it is growing and emerging rather than being controlled and delineated.
Chen Tulufan: The Metaverse is not a substitute, I agree with the first two people, the Metaverse should be an expansion of the existing reality, constantly empowering people. What you can’t do in physical reality can be done in the Metaverse with some tools. Through this ability to gain a sense of accomplishment, you can get a sense of satisfaction beyond the reality level, which I think is a spiritual bias.
Moderator: The word “economic system” has been mentioned in the sharing, and it is also an important aspect in defining the Metaverse. When the boundary between reality and virtual is blurring, we are not only entertained in it. This leads to the question: What is the “economic system” of the Metaverse, and will we be working in the Metaverse in the future?
Zitao Ye: My rough understanding is that we are now working for the virtual world. For example, there are a lot of online products such as Piggybacking and Paid Knowledge, which have zero reproduction cost, but once the production cost is on the net, and can bring unlimited distribution through their own unlimited reproduction, I tend to work for the Metaverse, and get revenue from both advertising and Paid Knowledge. So my definition of “working in the virtual world” is very broad.
I think the transactions that are happening on the web now, including virtual goods (paid knowledge, videos, etc.) are treated as a commodity. In this sense, I myself do not particularly advocate the use of blockchain or a scarce currency to build a monetary tyranny, but I think it is possible to do a lot of natural circulation from real money. So in this regard, the most scarce thing in the Internet world now is not resources but the so-called “attention”. Maybe in the Metaverse, time and attention are the currencies we pursue with scarcity, not some assets themselves.
Yang Yanzhe: Let me start by saying that many people have discussed whether blockchain coins will become the core monetary and economic system of the Metaverse. After some thought on our side, we believe that blockchain technology is not suitable for this economic system. First of all the technology has a deflationary tendency and does not quite encourage transactions, this total amount of money is not growing with material growth, and the second thing is that money itself is a kind of government management right, the government gets the energy to promote social progress through monetary policy, which itself needs to match the responsibility and power.
For the Metaverse’s main monetary system, one may be the central bank’s digital currency, or else the centralized virtual currency issued by the game company itself, which will be more likely. Because the monetary system actually has a huge driving force for the companies that create this world, it is an economic system, as to whether everyone will work for this system? I think there will be a significant portion of people working for this system. Somewhat similar to free games, how many people are paying, and how many people are not paying, not paying people are the majority, why the game company will desperately strive for not paying players? Because the activities of these players in the game naturally bring a lot of value to the maintenance of the game ecology.
After the arrival of Metaverse, there will be a large number of players involved in the social division of labor and collaboration system, while Metaverse will be involved in more real life. You may have value to the system in the process of playing the game, and it is very likely that every action you take, such as taking a video or building a snowman in the game, will generate some economic return. As for how many people can reach the level of head anchors and net stars in Metaverse and live a life across the class, it is another question.
Chen Tulufan: I had a dinner with a partner from Sequoia and talked about the Metaverse. He raised a very sharp question: If you bring this set of economic rules of the existing world into the Metaverse, in fact, all the weaknesses and in-rolls will enter this world, just to transfer a conflict to another virtual world.
What I want to say is that every currency, every economic system is with a value orientation, including in the division of labor in society, including in the rules of distribution, including exchange, etc. are representative of a certain value system, and the value system is behind the belief system. If we really want to find a brand new value system, then we certainly can’t extend the original currency. What we give to money is definitely different from the real world based on the idea of material scarcity. I understand that the Metaverse is a post-scarcity society, where everything is a creator because it is all bits, all virtual, all digital.
Inside such a post-scarcity society, it is worth thinking about what kind of things we are encouraged to do, what kind of transactions to make, what to give and what to get. The last thing I talk about in AI2041 is such a thing, we envision a new monetary unit, probably on the basis of guaranteeing the basic survival of all people, through a thing on the upper level of the pyramid, love, belonging, respect, self-presentation, it is necessary to provide some pay to serve more people, to make some contribution to the whole system, in order to get such a virtual currency as a measure of The reward is measured by a virtual currency. So I think in my imagination it is something like this, rather than using the existing scarcity-based currency system.
Moderator: It’s very interesting to note that Mr. Chen also mentioned a very fundamental point – when our world becomes less scarce, there will be a fundamental shift in the definition of labor and value creation. The next question is to bring back some reality. Some friends on the line are asking why Tencent or other Internet companies are talking about the Metaverse today. This might be a good question for Derek to answer.
Yang Yanzhe: In my side’s understanding, as far as Tencent is concerned, maybe our vision of technology for good and exploring long-term social value has played a very important role in the direction of the whole industry, the whole capital and the various business units. The big boss also mentioned the development of communication, display and computing technology in all aspects, which has made the arrival of the full true Internet possible.
At the same time, we also see two key giants in the industry driving the Metaverse, one is Epic Games and the other is Facebook. Both of these giants have actually invested a lot of resources and made a lot of acquisitions in this field, and so far they are seeing the first results. After a long period of effort, they also let everyone see that this is indeed a self-fulfilling direction and a trend that is highly likely to have a huge impact on the whole information industry. Based on this, we, as the game sector, do have a sense of urgency or can realize that this opportunity is there, and at the same time feel that the challenges we face are also relatively big.
Moderator: Thank you Derek, I would also like to add, in addition to the technical factors and giant push that Derek just mentioned, we think the epidemic last year also accelerated the arrival of the Metaverse, because everyone’s degree of adaptation to the virtualization of this thing, slowly become accustomed to the natural. As Zitao mentioned in his sharing, our future Metaverse game is not a separate interface, but may create more of a sense of community, more online virtual new ways of interaction, or in other scenarios to create a virtualization. This is all because the tools and everyone’s ability to adapt continue to improve, we will find that you can go inside the virtual world to create such a parallel time and space, and may long-term coexistence with the real world.
Ye Zitao: I’ll talk about somatosensory, I somehow heard this word at that time, this word is not proposed by our bottom developers, so at that time, we formed a bureau on top of clubhouse to discuss Metaverse, and as a result, many investors came in. I myself think that games are undoubtedly the highland of capital and technology today, although this highland of capital and technology corresponds to the ghetto of culture, but the spillover effect generated by technology and capital has begun long ago. Whether from Biden may use “Moverson” to campaign, or more and more advertising to occupy a lot of attention to the game, all industries including academic are seeking applications and practice scenarios inside the game, are leaning towards us, this trend has started long ago.
It is also possible that the capital because it can not find the growth point, it thinks that video games may be a new growth point, from different angles want to launch this thing, can cause the whole industry for video games and the Internet re-cognition, this point is quite good.
In this perspective, Metaverse is more like a video game image project, behind which is actually the possibility of enabling the video game industry not only to be limited to entertainment but to the larger external world. It’s just that the Metaverse and this sci-fi imagination is easier to be known and intuitively understood.
Moderator: Some students from Goose Factory asked, if there are different and parallel Metaverse designed, how do we measure its value, just like our internet products have indicators such as number of users, ARPU (average revenue per user), transaction volume, data volume, etc. If it is a Metaverse, what kind of indicators will we use to measure its effect?
Zitao Ye: In my definition, the Metaverse that is created and can be taken out individually is not the final Metaverse, but if you look at it from the creator’s point of view alone, I think it is a relatively open, possibly open source, and is compatible with many other tools. Just see the Godot engine for example, the code is fully open source and the entire business model is run through sponsorship, including Blender which is now also a fully open source 3D modeling software. My own judgment of it is relatively easy to use and good scalability, that’s about it.
Yanzhe Yang: I understand the question is how to measure which Metaverse is more successful if there are multiple Metaverse in the world at the same time, Steven has elaborated on this issue, he thinks there will be multiple different styles of Metaverse in the future. The Metaverse of punk style, etc., you can enter any Metaverse you want.
In the future, the Metaverse will probably be measured based on traditional game metrics, such as DAU and monthly flow. If there are similar Metaverse, for example, there may be only one Metaverse in the field of medieval style, and which one can become a success within a category, it may depend on which platform can attract more players and developers and generate more UGC for first-party studios and third-party UGC. The UGC of the third party to generate more returns, and thus attract more users.
For example, after the birth of Racer, it is difficult to create other Racer in this market in China, and the rise of Jitterbit is still based on differentiated positioning, but there is a scale effect in a category of Metaverse.
Moderator: The last question is also more open, asking about the Metaverse era, if we enter a Metaverse society, what will be the core resources?
Chen Lvfan: I think the most scarce resource is time. If you think further, whether the consciousness of individual feelings in this system time can be divided or can have different flow rates, this is a more distant topic. I don’t think it’s necessarily impossible, because in the present we can see that physical time and time within the system are not the same. If a time comes when time is not even scarce, and all people gain a kind of immortality, this is one of my more metaphysical ideas.
Yang Yanzhe: First of all, I support Mr. Lvfan’s idea about time. I said a theory before, in the future maybe users stay in a Metaverse will create value, you may play games in this has created value to this Metaverse, each person’s time has more value.
If we talk a little bit more about scarce resources, I think it may be the real creativity in ideas. The Metaverse is a platform that allows good content to reach more users. At this time, the work of better content creators at the head, especially content creators of ideas, will be more efficient in spreading, which is different from the Netflix on Jitterbug now. It is possible that in the Metaverse all in the form of avatar, the form may not be so important, and the value of ideas may be further expanded.
Ye Zitao: I especially agree with Mr. Lvfan and Mr. Derek, I understand it as a fictional ability. In fact, as a creator, can you really understand what this virtual world is doing at the bottom, and you can only create something richer if you really understand it from the more bottom.
If machine learning gives you an API, you throw a thing to create a thing that may see out, everyone does this, this thing is not worth. Can you really understand the composition of this virtual world and construct this world in your own unique way, the appearance is creativity, behind it is the mastery of technology and technical understanding, and a creative use, I would think this thing is more scarce.
Moderator: Thank you for your wonderful “brainstorming” and sharing, we are looking forward to the coming of the Metaverse era. We think it will not only open up a new industry, but also a new way of life, and may even bring about a rethinking and reshaping of the current state of human development. In the world of the future, as material civilization becomes richer and richer, we also believe that eventually the world will expand to a more developed spiritual world. Thank you all on the line, that’s it for today’s sharing roundtable, goodbye everyone!
Posted by:CoinYuppie，Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/a-soul-crushing-look-at-the-metaverse-what-the-experts-say/
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