Could the Metaverse be the next battleground for social?
The arrival of the epidemic has disrupted people’s rhythm of life, and also changed people’s social and working methods. More and more companies and enterprises have to start working remotely. As a result, online office has gradually become a trend .
In this situation where face-to-face communication and collaboration are not possible, video conferencing tools are the solution to turn this situation around.
For example, Zoom, which is a multi-person cloud video conferencing software, during May 2020, 200 million people participated in meetings on Zoom every day. In June, this number rose to 300 million, becoming the fastest growing during the epidemic. one of the applications.
A voice + video conference tool may improve the collaboration efficiency of online office to a certain extent, but a single collaboration method also lacks face-to-face interactivity.
Therefore, Zoom may not be a complete solution, and users have more needs for remote collaboration.
As a result, Gather, a virtual conference platform that can conduct conferences, education, academic conferences, ceremonies and other activities, came into being .
The 2-year-old startup has garnered 10 million users and more than 10,000 teams are using the Gather virtual office, and the trend hasn’t stopped.
So, how does Gather do it, and what are the characteristics of the virtual reality space it creates?
Who is Gather?
Gather is a project jointly initiated by Kumail Jaffer, Phillip Wang, Alex Chen, Nathan Foss in May 2020.
Among them, Phillip Wang is also the CEO, Kumail Jaffer is also the CTO, and Alex Chen is also the VP of product. The Gather team is a friendly small team. Today, the company has 84 employees.
In the beginning, the start-up team wanted to use Gather to solve the problem of “how to stay close to friends and family who don’t live near me?”.
As the epidemic swept the world, Gather became a Metaverse platform with 10 million users .
Gather CEO Phillip Wang has always been concerned about the construction and meaning of the Metaverse. He believes that the Metaverse can bring meaningful human connections and unprecedented equal rights.
So they created Gather, a gaming-like video chat platform that offers a more interesting option for remote communication.
In this 2D-style virtual space, users first need to build a virtual image, and secondly, they can also build their own virtual office here, including desks, conference rooms, game areas, and so on.
And this avatar can move freely in different spaces. After other users join, they can also use video or text to chat and hold meetings together.
More importantly, Gather can go directly to the virtual meeting space through the website without having to download the app, which is very convenient .
With this personalized tool, more than 10,000 teams have already used Gather Virtual Office and even started using remote work policies because of Gather.
In addition, Gather has hosted more than 20,000 career events, including academic conferences, career fairs, and career societies; even family dinners, rock gigs, birthday parties, late-night study sessions, and more.
Of course, Gather has also achieved a lot in the past two years: it has completed two rounds of financing totaling $75 million .
On March 11, 2021, Gather raised $26 million in a Series A round led by Sequoia Capital with participation from Index Ventures, YC Continuity, Jeff Weiner, Dylan Field and Kevin Hartz.
On November 3, 2021, Gather closed a $50 million Series B round led by Sequoia Capital and Index Ventures, Dylan Field (Figma), Jeff Weiner LinkedIn, Juan Benet, Lachy Groom, Elad Gil, YC Continuity, Neo and Haystack participated in the investment, and the funds will be used to develop the Metaverse.
Maybe the Metaverse hasn’t really arrived yet, but Gather has just begun, and there is still a long way to go.
What can we do with Gather?
What can Gather, known as the 2D Metaverse, bring us? Brett Harrison, chairman of FTX .US, settled in, what is the charm of being sought after by countless Web3 practitioners? Even Forbes says “the future is low resolution”, what can we do with Gather? Let us give a brief introduction below.
First of all, Gather is not just an online meeting room, where people can work, socialize and learn. Taking the conference room as the origin, the Gather team is gradually replicating all production and lifestyles in real life, so that everyone can be more immersive.
Today’s Gather is more like a tool set, providing users with the infrastructure modules needed for work, study, and entertainment, and users can easily build their own world on demand .
When you open Gather to build your own space, you can find that there are three modes, “build an office area, organize activities, and explore other social interactions”, select and determine the size of the personnel and the space name, and users can easily create their own Gather world.
Users need to create their own virtual avatars in Gather and turn on the microphone and video functions before they can enter it.
Users can choose different hairstyles, accessories and clothing for their avatars to achieve personalization and variety. Use the four keys of “WSAD” on the keyboard to control the avatar to move up and down, left and right, and explore the world created by Gather.
Basic Items: Online Office (Voice/Audio)
As the most basic function of Gather, there is no doubt that it is online office. At the moment when the epidemic is raging, more and more companies or teams have to adopt online office methods.
However, “how to maintain a close relationship with distant colleagues online” has become an issue faced by many managers that needs to be solved.
Gather provides an infrastructure platform for online office, allowing users to work together remotely in Gather spaces.
Since Gather’s space is customized, it allows users to restore the office scene and integrate into it .
Gather’s space can be planned as different groups, divided into different areas or rooms, and even necessary entertainment facilities such as pool tables can be added.
Users can use the private area to divide into groups to keep communication flowing, work and play with colleagues.
At the same time, Gather’s spatial audio technology provides users with a corresponding sense of immersion . With the difference in distance between user avatars, the sound heard is also high and low, making the sound more spatial.
Users can walk up to colleagues to say hello, and the video will automatically pop up. Users can work efficiently online with video, audio, and a whiteboard where documents can be shared.
Open a virtual office
In addition to the basic online office function, Gather also provides the function of opening a virtual office.
Users can divide and name spaces in the office area to create unique spaces for different teams and individuals. Users can decorate the virtual office, arrange furniture, lay carpets, and even add pianos and green plants.
Users can set different areas on Gather. When you manipulate your avatar into a work station, a living room, etc., the surroundings will be darkened. Users within this range can talk to each other, and people outside the range cannot hear.The privacy of the conversation is guaranteed.
For private offices, users can even set up access control, and choose to accept or refuse to meet when visitors arrive, which highly reproduces the real-world office scene and ensures the privacy required by users.
Host various virtual events and conferences
And what Gather provides is not only these, Gather can also support more scenarios for holding various virtual events and conferences. Such as holding concerts, birthday parties, escape rooms, product launches and other large-scale events, organizing hackathons, summits, and building restaurants, game halls, bars, etc.
Gather’s space is limited to 500 people, but when more users need to participate, spaces can be linked together so that the event can run smoothly.
At present, Gather has won the trust and entry of more than 10,000 innovative teams, and is committed to creating more application scenarios and providing users with a more colorful experience .
Online entertainment scenarios: games, social networking, etc.
In Gather, we need to build virtual avatars to join various virtual scenes, and Gather has an innovative feature, it is a platform for close-range video chat, similar to reality, in which the virtual avatar must be close to other people to have a conversation with it.
Combined with some rich interactive tools, Gather is naturally suitable for making games, and it is a slightly immersive game that is somewhat similar to reality .
For example, you can join a room escape game with your friends, you can not only operate the character to explore and decrypt, but also get together with your friends to discuss solutions face to face. Although it is only a 2D scene, it allows players to have an immersive experience. Immersion.
On the other hand, compared with traditional online social networking, Gather is no longer restricted to boring dialogues or videos, and expands more interactivity and visual sense, increasing the gameplay of social networking.
Friends can participate in some social activities face-to-face online. For example, although they are playing Guess Online or discussing design drawings, they can intuitively see other people’s expressions and reactions, breaking the limitation of physical distance and increasing The dimension of virtual space makes online social interaction more in-depth and interesting .
Gather’s New Target: The Metaverse
When Gather closed a $50 million Series B round late last year, it made it clear that the funds would be used to develop the Metaverse.
But this inevitably raises many questions. The Metaverse often gives the impression of a 3D simulated virtual world presented by technologies such as VR/AR. Why does a 2D pixel world like Gather also deploy the Metaverse?
The crux of the matter is how the public understands the Metaverse. Gather founder Phillip Wang defines the Metaverse as follows: The Metaverse is not just about VR technology, games or NFTs based on blockchain technology .
Although the Metaverse realm adopts these aspects. The Metaverse is a place about how people interact with other people and the spaces they create, an immersive virtual layer that connects people across many different environments.
Ultimately, the Metaverse will change how we think about our physical location, creating more opportunities and communication for us no matter where we are.
Based on this understanding, Gather does not use VR and other high-tech that are difficult for ordinary people to access,but uses pixel style to allow people to easily access through browsers and create a wider virtual space .
What they value more is breaking the virtual space of the physical world and gaining more connections between people. It doesn’t really matter how to show such a Metaverse.
Given that VR and other technologies are still in the early stages, a 2D pixel-style Metaverse like Gather is not limited by hardware, has a very low threshold for use, and has a user base of tens of millions. Instead, it may be able to overtake in a corner and become the first step. A prototype of the Metaverse that enriches users and ecology.
What’s more, the founder of Gather has a deeper understanding of the Metaverse. Unlike other tech giants who lay out the Metaverse, he does not intend to create a Metaverse exclusively for Gather himself, but believes that the Metaverse should be more open and open. Centralized .
He looks forward to interoperability with other Metaverse developers’ platforms through an open standard. Therefore, Gather is also actively collaborating with other development companies to create a richer Metaverse ecology.
At present, third-party organizations can build their own activities and workspaces through a web-based tool developed by Gather, and can also integrate them through APIs.
Roblox provides tools for building 3D virtual worlds, activating users’ creativity, allowing users to spontaneously create tens of millions of virtual worlds, and attracting more users to participate in them , thereby forming network effects.
And Gather is providing more tools and support to create a more open platform.
At present, tens of thousands of teams have constructed virtual space on Gather, and Gather may be creating a 2D version of Roblox legend, and the future can be expected.
Could the Metaverse be the next battleground for social?
Since the birth of Huli.com in 2000, social networking has always been a race for entrepreneurs.
Domestically speaking, from the earliest QQ to Fetion to the current WeChat, there are also segmented social applications such as Momo, Tantan and Soul, not to mention some short-lived social products in the past few years, which can be said to occupy the The public opinion of the social outlet has never stopped. Even though there are still early adopters, there are no phenomenal and sustainable products.
Therefore, many investors and entrepreneurs have said that social products are a bottomless pit . If you are lucky, you can become a leader in the segmented field. Internet social development.
But now, with the advent of the Metaverse, some innovators in the social field have once again seen the opportunity, and even spent a lot of money to snatch social products in the Metaverse.
Like Horizon, an officially open VR social platform launched by Meta, users can create virtual images on the platform and interact with other users .
Although the user’s avatar in Horizon has only the upper body, more than 300,000 people have participated since its launch.
Therefore, start-up teams like Gather, on the one hand, will focus on the field of online office collaboration that they are good at, and at the same time, they will also unconsciously turn their attention to the social field that they can almost reach out for, and this is their latest financing of 5000 yuan. $10,000 to do.
When the Internet social applications entered the fierce competition, the Metaverse socialization seems to have just begun. We can see that many players in the Metaverse field have intersected their positioning with social networking to expand their financing or business barriers.
However, as far as the current Metaverse socialization is concerned, we have to admit that most products are still in their infancy and are far from real applied products.
As Zuo Pengfei, an associate researcher at the Institute of Quantitative and Technological Economics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, pointed out in an interview, in addition to the three-dimensional virtual image, the social form of a real Metaverse social app will present three basic characteristics : First, the Metaverse social space can Create virtual scenes; second, the Metaverse social scene can be superimposed on virtual and real images; third, the Metaverse social process can be multi-person interaction and collaboration.
Obviously, the current Metaverse social products are far worse than what Mr. Zuo said, even if the “Jel”, which was known as the first social application of the Metaverse, which was very popular at the beginning of the year, was short-lived and gradually faded out of sight.
Therefore, we need to pay attention to whether Gather’s achievements in the current field can smoothly transition into Metaverse socialization, after all, “the early worm is eaten by the bird” is not shocking.
Of course, the competition in the Metaverse social track may not have really started. We don’t know who will become the Meta or WeChat in this field, but it is certain that social networking will still be a battleground for the Metaverse. Who made it human nature to be social?
This article comes from the WeChat public account “MetaverseHub, the Heart of the Metaverse” (ID: MetaverseHub), author: MetaverseHub
Posted by:CoinYuppie，Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/after-2-years-of-financing-of-77-million-us-dollars-why-is-the-metaverse-social-platform-gather-favored-by-sequoia/ Coinyuppie is an open information publishing platform, all information provided is not related to the views and positions of coinyuppie, and does not constitute any investment and financial advice. Users are expected to carefully screen and prevent risks.