Li Mi recently became a novice player in VR games. It’s not because he loves to play games , but because the concept of meta universe is too hot. He wants to learn about meta universe through VR games.
Although Metaverse has not yet clearly defined, Meta (formerly Facebook), Microsoft , Nvidia , domestic Tencent , ByteDance and many other major manufacturers are accelerating the layout of Metaverse. AR and VR devices are considered Metaverse. With the hardware entrance of the times , the concept stocks of Meta Universe have already set off a wave of gains in the secondary market.
Li Mi found that among AR devices, apart from Microsoft Hololens 2 which can provide a relatively high-quality mixed reality interactive experience, there are few products that can truly surpass it. In contrast, VR has more options and a more affordable price. Therefore, Li Mi intends to start the experience with VR.
B station user evaluation Microsoft Hololens 2: display multiple pages at the same time
In some VR player communication groups, Q2 (Facebook’s Oculus Quest 2), P3 (domestic manufacturer Pico’s Pico Neo 3) and other product model abbreviations, BS (Beat Saber), VC (VRChat) and other game abbreviations, as well as VD, Air Streaming tools like Link have become “black words” in the circle.
Many VR players have expressed to Shen Ran that the main experience of VR on the C-side is watching movies and games, but if you just watch videos, you will be overkill. Currently, the market reputation of the best VR machine Quest 2, integrated experience has been able to reach 80 points, VR gaming also appeared, including “half-life: Alex”, “Arizona Sun” and a number of well-made, good word of mouth VR game masterpiece. However, due to the limitations of the content ecology, many heavy users have gradually fallen into a situation where there are no new games to play, and VR devices have to be shelved.
Everyone knows that there is still a long way to go in order to truly achieve parallelism with the real world in “Avalanche” and to be able to communicate and entertain the meta-universe in three-dimensional space through “avatars”. Meta, which is at the forefront of building Metaverse, is still accelerating the development of hardware such as VR headsets and touch gloves. However, compared with hardware iterations, enriching the content ecology and improving sociality are the voices of users.
People who play VR, what are they playing?
After putting on the VR headset and seeing the 360-degree scene setting of the virtual world, Li Mi’s first impression was shock, “ Immersive and very lifelike”. Next, Li Mi opened a racing game, and began to dizzy before playing for half an hour, and had to slow down and continue.
After experiencing the VR all-in-one Pico Neo 3 for the first time, Shenran experienced similar feelings. The dizziness is caused by the mismatch between the VR visual changes and the actual movement. The current popular VR products on the market have evolved from 3Dof (degrees of freedom) to 6Dof, making the interaction of the head and hands of the VR world more immersive, and it has a sense of dizziness. Alleviated. But entering the VR world, dizziness is still inevitable.
“The first sight is shock, followed by dizziness, and after the dizziness period, start to actively explore the content” is the only way for many VR players to get started. Another player, Zhan Dong, was dizzy to the point of vomiting during the first few dozen hours of playing. He could only play for about half an hour each time, but after the adaptation period, as long as there is sufficient time, he can play a few in a row. Hour.
The so-called shock, Wang Cheng, the manager of a VR offline experience store in Dalian, has already felt it through the HTC Vive headset in 2016.
2016 is regarded as the first year of VR, and various VR hardware is proliferating. PCVR (VR devices that need to be connected to a computer) experience is relatively better. Also because of the use of computer configuration, computing power can be used, and the display imaging effect will be better. But at the time it could only be called a “VR experience”. The popular game of the year was “theBlu (dark blue)”, which was able to observe large sea turtles and blue whales up close, which lasted only about ten minutes.
Deep Blue Game Screenshot Source / VR Home
At that time, there were almost no VR games that lasted more than an hour, and they were mainly watch-oriented with minimal interaction. The hardware equipment package is also relatively cumbersome, and the software content and interactivity are not enough. In the next few years, VR was cold.
What plays an important role for users to purchase VR equipment is how the content ecology is doing.
The current application of VR on the C-side is mainly in two aspects, watching movies and games . Pico Neo 3, iQIYI adventures 3 VR models, etc., will be the level of real cinema viewing as one of the important functions. Zhan Dong said, “But if you just watch the video, it’s hard to feel the shock.”
Therefore, it is games that really attract heavy players to purchase VR equipment and continue to explore. “After experiencing Quest 2’s VR games, you will feel that watching movies in VR is an overkill.” Wang Cheng also said.
Over the past few years, with Valve, EA (Mei Art and Power Company Electronic Arts), Ubisoft, 20 SiFO Fox and other content companies to increase investment in content VR, VR game content gradually rich ecology.
From Hyperbolic Magnetism’s “Beat Saber” in 2018 to Valve’s “Half-Life: Alex” in March 2020, these two games are out-of-circle games in the VR field. The former is regarded as a novice. The best game, and the latter has 11 chapters and a total game time of about 30 hours, which is regarded as the benchmark for VR games.
In the “half-life: Alex” game, the details of the scene has been very realistic, the game all the bottles bottles and jars users can pick up the drop to interact. For example, the user can handle the operation, picked up the bottle broke ground basket of the game; cans scattered on the ground can laminated together ; throwing things the dove will fly to escape.
Picture source of “Half-life: Alex” / Douyin
Currently, shooting, action, music, and survival have become the main directions for users to pay for VR games. Since the development of VR games, masterpieces have gradually increased. “Arizona Sunshine”, “Crisis Action Team”, “Mercenary: Smart Crisis”, “Zombie Land: No Bullets”, “All-in-One Sports VR” are all VR A boutique that is familiar to professional players. In late October, the new game “Resident Evil 4 VR” was launched on the Quest platform . According to a vice president of Meta, it has become the fastest selling game in Quest history.
During the deep burn experience, it was discovered that games such as the racing game “Wasteland Speed”, the adventure decryption game “Red Matter”, and the gun battle game “Super Legion” all appeared on the Pico platform.
The ecology of VR game content has become richer, and the willingness of C-end users to pay for VR equipment has increased . Especially after the release of Quest 2, compared to PCVR, the device is more portable, and some games can basically achieve the effect quality of PCVR, which has driven the increase of VR equipment shipments. Quest 2 will also be sold in the Wangcheng store, and many users will directly spend two to three thousand yuan to buy it home after experiencing it. “At most, 40 or 50 units can be sold every month.”
“Must have.” As far as he observes, the mentality of some people when buying a VR all-in-one is the same as when they bought a Switch, but when they buy it home, many players’ equipment will still be ashamed because of “no games to play”.
VR equipment, can’t escape the dust?
For the vast majority of VR players, they are more concerned about whether it is fun or not, how it should be played, and whether it is cost-effective or not, compared to what is meta-universe and how it should develop.
After the first year of VR in 2016, the industry fell into a trough, but major companies did not stop product development. In summary, they are all based on the original VR equipment , and are developing in two directions, PCVR, which has a better deep and heavy-duty experience, and a portable VR all-in-one machine.
Cartography / Deep Burn
According to incomplete statistics from Shenran, HTC Vive Pro 2, HTC Vive Pro, and Valve Index are several PCVR products that are common on the market. Some high-end players who focus on gaming experience and stability will choose PCVR. However, due to the need to connect to a computer, there are also certain requirements for computer configuration, so it is not the first choice for most C-end users.
Among the mainstream models of VR all-in-ones, the Quest 2, which was released by Oculus under Meta’s subsidiary in September 2020, is regarded as a turning point in the development of the VR industry. Quest 2 has become the preferred “tech toy” of many users due to its richer VR content experience ecology and the affordable price of two to three thousand yuan. It is still the “YYDS” in the minds of VR players today. According to the person in charge of Qualcomm, the sales volume of Quest 2 has reached 10 million units, which is currently the largest VR device shipped on the C-side.
Domestic manufacturers are still on the way to catch up with Quest 2. Pico, which was acquired by ByteDance for US$9 billion, launched Pico Neo 3 in the first half of this year. In terms of hardware experience, it is regarded as the only domestic model that can be benchmarked against Quest 2, but the gap in content ecology is still relatively large.
After entering several VR game player exchange groups, Shen Ran found that model selection, game recommendations and strategies are high-frequency topics in the group. Q2 and P3 are the most-mentioned product models. Many players will be able to play VR games for half an hour every day because of Pico Neo 3’s 180-day check -in activity.
Other popular models on the market include iQiyi Qiyu 3, Nolo Sonic, and HTC Vive Focus 3. Among them, iQiyi Qiyu 3 currently has a resolution of more than 4K, but the starting price is more than 3,000 yuan, and according to player feedback, location tracking technology is relatively weak and cost-effective; NOLO Sonic is more cost-effective, but the content ecology is better than Pico will have weaker; HTC Vive focus 3 is clearly no longer take the public of the line, the hardware configuration is very advanced, the price of the average consumer is not friendly.
VR peripheral manufacturers are also developing more accessory products to enhance players’ immersion in the game . Just in November, Meta not only considered opening the first physical store to display meta-universe products such as virtual reality helmets and teleconference equipment, but also released a new touch glove designed to increase the sense of touch. It is reported that the glove has a trigger actuator, which can apply pressure to the hand according to the virtual object being processed.
In order to allow users to feel the movement of the VR world on their feet, product solutions such as universal treadmills, roller shoes, and circular chassis are also continuously updated, but at present, these accessories are not enough to attract C-end VR users to pay.
VR treadmill image source / JD
The immersive experience that VR games can bring has attracted a large number of players into the pit, but the obstacle is that even the Quest platform, which is at the forefront of the industry in content ecology, still cannot meet user needs.
As an early user of Quest 2, Wang Cheng found that the number of VR game masterpieces is not too large, and there are only a few fun games to play.
At the moment when the content ecology is not rich enough, most VR manufacturers have to stream with the game platform Steam (compress and transmit video and audio in real time through the network), the purpose is to allow users to experience VR games on the Steam platform and retain users.
To achieve streaming, it is not as simple as clicking a button. There are also certain requirements for the hardware configuration of the user’s computer, and the cable streaming data cable costs one or two hundred yuan. In the VR player exchange group, how to stream has always been one of the hot topics.
In the long run, VR manufacturers naturally do not want to rely on streaming to provide users with content, which can only be regarded as a helpless move at the moment.
But for all VR hardware and software manufacturers, it is more important that there is still a lack of a phenomenal online interactive VR game masterpiece. ” Honor of Kings ” had more than 200 million users in 2017, but now, the overall number of users on the C-side of VR devices is still tens of millions. Quickly matching small partners to play games is not an easy task.
The current situation of many VR gamers around Wangcheng is that they have finally passed the vertigo adaptation period and will find quality content and fun projects by themselves, but soon they will find that there are only a few fun games, and there are no more games to play. , VR equipment is still in dust in the end.
Where is VR heading?
“It’s not so much that the metaverse brought VR to the fire, as it is that VR brought the fire to the metaverse.” Wangcheng believes that without the development of Quest 2 and the content ecology of the Quest platform, Meta may not decide to enter the metaverse this year.
A month ago, Oculus consultant CTO Carmack complained about Meta at the Connect conference of Facebook’s annual meeting, thinking that compared to optimizing existing products, building a meta-universe platform is not the most cost-effective way.
He revealed that Oculus is preparing to design “multiple headsets” for the meta-universe, but he is worried that it may take years and thousands of people’s energy, but in the end, it will not affect the way people use equipment and hardware. What an impact.
However, Meta’s long-term investment will not stop. In the short term, the iterative direction of VR is to enrich the content ecology and strengthen social interaction.
VR headsets are regarded as the mobile phones of the next era. “The screen in the PC Internet era is a computer, and the screen in the mobile Internet era is a mobile phone, but the screen in the next Internet era is very likely to be VR.” Dapeng VR executive Neo said to Shen Ran.
He noted that the current VR at the C-terminus, compared to the hardware upgrade, more important is the content of the ecological richness, “to use good content to drive hardware sales .”
After the VR offline experience store suffered the impact of the epidemic, Wangcheng further strengthened its determination to make VR games. Last year, after Quest 2 went on the market, its VR studio, which previously provided solutions to B-end manufacturers such as parks and education, was already preparing to make a VR game.
In the past, without users, developers were unprofitable, the ecosystem could not be done, and domestic users have not yet developed the habit of paying for games from the app store for experience.
But this year, the Quest platform has undergone a qualitative change to some extent. Quest 2 has shipped more than 10 million units; the VR audio game “Rhythm Lightsaber” surpassed 100 million US dollars on Quest’s single platform; the latest “Resident Evil 4 VR”, according to According to foreign media estimates, revenue has reached approximately US$8.5 million since its launch on October 20, making it the fastest-selling Quest game to date.
These developments have given VR content creators like Wangcheng more confidence. “Content is essentially a creative industry.” As long as the creativity is sufficient, it can be accepted by users. Now it may be a window period.
At the strong social level, before the emergence of large-scale online games, Meta and Microsoft have already started actions at the virtual office level. But judging from the current technology, VR teleconferences first require participants to have VR headsets, and Carmack believes that technical issues must also be considered.
He said that it is very difficult to expand the scale of VR hardware equipment to be able to support the meta universe, because it involves avatars and fidelity and quality. Although cloud computing clusters will help, the delay and fragmentation caused Modification and device compatibility are also a big issue. Currently, Quest 2’s voice call delay is relatively severe (more than 100 milliseconds).
On November 26, Tianfeng Securities analysts predicted that Apple will release a headset that supports both AR and VR functions in the fourth quarter of 2022. Apple has always been regarded as a potential competitor for Meta’s impact on the universe. “Apple’s MR products have been bounced many times, but it originally had the powerful M1 chip, and it had also accumulated technology in the AR field before, so it is highly anticipated by the outside world,” said a VR industry practitioner. There are psychological expectations that this will be a high-end product worth 20,000 to 30,000.
“VR has entered a relatively mature platform period at the level of interactive technology, and there is still a certain distance from the next level of leap.” Neo said, but everyone is convinced that VR will be the next qualitative change cycle. , Will definitely get shorter and shorter, and the arrival of the meta universe in “Avalanche” will eventually be only a matter of time.
*At the request of the interviewee, Li Mi and Zhan Dong are pseudonyms in the text.
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