Apple and Facebook have entered the bubble market. Is Metaverse the savior of AR/VR?

I can’t hold back a big move for a few years and can raise 22.4 billion market in a year. Don’t let people down this time.

Apple and Facebook have entered the bubble market. Is Metaverse the savior of AR/VR?


Source of the first image: Internet

Apple has been unable to produce a product for six years, and Facebook has sold one and lost one, and this can raise a market of 22.4 billion yuan a year. Don’t let people down anymore!

After experiencing the enthusiasm of 2016, the VR/AR industry has been silent for several years. Right now, various signs indicate that the industry is showing a fiery momentum again. Some insiders sighed: “It seems that everything is back.”

On the one hand, with the continuous improvement of 5G, chips and other technologies, the experience of VR/AR headsets is getting better and better, and the shipment volume is also rising. On the other hand, the giants are constantly exerting their efforts, forming a situation of “one superpower, multiple powers, and a melee of war”-Facebook is “one superpower”, and Apple, HTC, Microsoft, etc. are “many powers .”

Right now, Facebook is the absolute leader in the VR/AR field. In recent times, its stock price has risen all the way, partly because it has made frequent moves in the VR/AR field.

And Apple is the most anticipated player. Although it did not launch an AR device at the recent WWDC21 development conference, it is still considered by the market to be Facebook’s biggest challenger.

In short, it is different from the VR/AR boom around 2016. This time, it may be true.

AR/VR recovery, showing signs of “second spring”

Many people may not know the difference between VR and AR, so let’s popularize it first. VR refers to virtual reality, which requires a head-mounted display device to achieve a sense of presence. It is a pure virtual scene. Many people have watched Spielberg’s science fiction movie “The Number One Player”, in which the male protagonist immediately enters another digital world after wearing a VR device, which is a kind of VR experience.

Apple and Facebook have entered the bubble market. Is Metaverse the savior of AR/VR?

Source: Movie “Number One Player” poster

And AR is augmented reality, which realizes the interaction between the virtual and real world through man-machine technology. Take the HoloLens AR helmet provided by Microsoft to the US military as an example. This device superimposes a virtual image on the soldier’s real vision, which can help the soldier find the target and even see the corner without moving. It can be said that AR is the next game of VR.

Apple and Facebook have entered the bubble market. Is Metaverse the savior of AR/VR?

Picture source: public number “Global Outlet”

In addition, there is a brand-new concept called MR, that is, mixed reality. VR, AR, and MR are collectively called XR. Earlier, iphoneXR got its name from this, which shows that Apple has been preparing to enter the XR industry very early.

Apple and Facebook have entered the bubble market. Is Metaverse the savior of AR/VR?

Source: CSDN research report

The reason why the VR/AR market seems to have a second spring is that around 2016, VR/AR has attracted the attention of countless people. The outside world believes that it will trigger a new round of consumer electronics revolution and completely change people’s lifestyles. , Just as the iPhone 4 turned out to be the same.

In fact, it is not the case.

2016 is also known as the first year of VR, when the industry reached its peak. In China alone, more than 3,000 VR entrepreneurial teams were created that year, and the number of VR content was 10 times that of the previous year.

However, the facts have proved that this is just a bubble fueled by capital. Judging from the real situation of the market, the technological development at that time was very immature, and many bottlenecks were not broken. As a result, the virtual visual experience of VR was very bad. Consumers often feel dizzy during operation, and the entire consumer market has not been cultivated at all.

In addition, the business model surrounding VR is not too mature, and the development of capital blood transfusion is not sustainable. In the first quarter of 2017, the global VR/AR venture capital investment plummeted by 80% year-on-year, and the industry began to enter a cold winter.

Compared with the wave of craze in 2016, this time VR/AR has a second spring, accompanied by the maturity of technology and the increase in shipments.

On the one hand, technology makes the VR experience better and better. Taking the increasingly mature 5G as an example, its low-latency feature can help VR solve the motion sickness that has plagued users for a long time. Cloud computing can transfer local computing to the cloud, greatly reducing equipment power consumption and improving performance.

On the other hand, from the perspective of market conditions, the increase in user experience has greatly increased the shipments of equipment. Last year, global shipments of VR equipment reached 6 million units, and some organizations predict that this year it will pass the 10 million unit mark. CCID estimates that by 2023, the total shipments of “VR+AR” headsets will reach 68.6 million units, a nearly ten-fold increase over 2019.

The capital market was also attracted by the second spring of VR/AR. According to the data of CITIC Construction Investment :

Last year, the scale of VR/AR investment and financing reached 24.4 billion yuan, and 219 investment and financing mergers and acquisitions occurred, achieving three consecutive years of growth.

While capital is rushing into the game, the major technology giants are also pouring into the track.

Apple is aggressive, the number one spoiler in the future

The recent Apple WWDC21 development conference disappointed many fans.

Because before that, many media have predicted that at the conference, Apple will officially announce a major version upgrade of its product system, including the long-awaited AR glasses for fruit fans. You know, Apple hasn’t released innovative products for a long time.

As a result, at the conference, Apple only announced new AR features such as AR Maps, Object Capture and RealityKit 2, without the shadow of related hardware devices.

Apple and Facebook have entered the bubble market. Is Metaverse the savior of AR/VR?

Source: Public number “Competition”

However, there are still many media who have expectations for Apple’s VR devices. According to Bloomberg News, Apple plans to release its first wearable headset in 2022, which is very similar to Facebook’s Oculus Quest. However, Oculus Quest is just a VR headset, and Apple is developing a headset that integrates VR and AR. The price of this product may exceed US$900, and it will focus on high-end audiences and will directly compete with companies such as Facebook and HTC.

In the past, with a variety of products with advanced interactive experience, such as iPhone, iPad, iWatch, etc., Apple continued to sit firmly on the throne of the top technology giant. When the wheels of the times are rolling forward and these products are withdrawn from the stage of history, who will be the successor?

So far, Apple is clearly targeting AR.

In April of this year, Apple CEO Cook accepted an interview with The New York Times. He stated that AR is a vital part of Apple’s future. Earlier, he also publicly stated that “AR is more optimistic than VR.”

Apple and Facebook have entered the bubble market. Is Metaverse the savior of AR/VR?

Source: Network

Looking back, Apple has actually been deploying VR as early as a few years ago. The killer is technology research and development and mergers and acquisitions.

In 2015, Apple disclosed its first VR/AR related patent, which describes a head-mounted display for viewing immersive media content. At the same time, Apple began to openly recruit VR/AR programmers, and the requirements stated that they must have a good record in the VR/AR field and be responsible for the development of Apple’s next-generation products.

Also in 2015, Apple acquired the AR startup Metaio, which was able to create virtual scenes in a matter of minutes. Take the project built by this company that uses the Berlin Wall for AR display: In front of the Berlin wall, visitors can open the Timetraveler APP developed by Metaio on their mobile phones and they can see that it once looked as good as before. Obviously, Apple has taken a fancy to Metaio’s superb AR technology.

Apple and Facebook have entered the bubble market. Is Metaverse the savior of AR/VR?

Source: Apple

Beginning in 2015, Apple’s full deployment of the rich in the VR/AR field has begun, and various technology patents and mergers and acquisitions activities have emerged one after another.

By the end of 2019, Apple has 1,200 employees specializing in VR/AR projects, and it has entered the second stage of development. At this stage, the R&D iterations of core technologies in VR/AR products are mostly responsible for the three companies that Apple acquired in 2017 and 2018: Vrvana, SensoMotoric Instruments, and Akonia Holographics.

Of course, Apple itself is also recruiting . In April last year, Apple successively released at least 14 VR/AR-related recruitment notices within one month, covering positions ranging from consumer relations to in-depth research and development.

In terms of mergers and acquisitions, in May last year, Apple acquired VR live streaming startup NextVR, which was valued at about 100 million U.S. dollars. This was Apple’s first acquisition in the field of VR content. In addition, in August, there were rumors that Apple acquired VR startup Spaces. , This company has developed VR offline experience and VR video conferencing platform.

Up to now, Apple has more than 330 publicly available VR/AR key patents; 18 VR/AR related mergers and acquisitions.

Apple and Facebook have entered the bubble market. Is Metaverse the savior of AR/VR?

Picture source: public number “VR Gyro”

Behind the frequent layout, Apple actually wants to use its own ecological synergy to create more VR/AR value, as Mike Rockwell, the person in charge of Apple’s VR/AR program, said:

“AR has great potential, but the prerequisite is to ensure that it is successful. The most problem-solving easier method is to start our device ecosystem to make it ahead of time to become profitable place for people.”

From the current point of view, the menacing Apple first hits Facebook, which is vigorously deploying VR, because both are directly facing the consumer market at the C-end.

Facebook: The absolute leader in VR

Faced with the ready-to-go Apple, Facebook has enough confidence.

Currently, Facebook’s most successful VR product is undoubtedly Oculus Quest2. Just over two months after its release in October last year, Oculus Quest2 sales reached 1.1 million units, ranking first in the global VR market share. Recently, Facebook announced the development of a dedicated AR/VR operating system, which will undoubtedly add another strong force. Relative to Apple at the moment, Facebook is leading the way in the AR/VR field.

These brilliant results have to be counted from 2014. At that time, Facebook acquired Oculus VR for $2.3 billion. Since then, Facebook’s strategy in AR/VR has been “M&A and product development.” According to statistics, from 2014 to the beginning of last year, Facebook has invested nearly $5 billion in VR.

Apple and Facebook have entered the bubble market. Is Metaverse the savior of AR/VR?

Source: Yiouwang

The situation of mergers and acquisitions is clear at a glance. Take the pioneering product as an example. In 2016, Facebook launched the PC VR Oculus Rift and finally sold 355,000 sets. At the end of 2016, Facebook reorganized Oculus and split it into two major divisions, PC VR and mobile VR, specializing in mobile VR products.

In 2017, Facebook’s VR ambitions continued to expand. Zuckerberg announced that one billion people will use VR. Michael Abrash, the chief scientist of the Facebook AR/VR team, even shouted, “AR/VR is the second wave in computer history. “

Then at the OC5 conference in 2018, Facebook announced its first-generation VR product line for the first time. Product strategies that include various consumption scenarios have obvious effects. According to SuperData statistics, in 2019, the global VR all-in-one machine contributed 2.8 million units, and the total shipment of Oculus Quest was 705,000 units, accounting for 25.1% of the total shipments. The results are gratifying.

Apple and Facebook have entered the bubble market. Is Metaverse the savior of AR/VR?

Source: Yiouwang

However, it is worth being vigilant that although Facebook’s VR equipment sales are good, it is still at a loss. For example, every sale of Quest2 means a loss of 100 to 200 US dollars. This is because the current consumer market is still not large enough to form a scale effect, thereby reducing marginal costs.

Apple and Facebook have entered the bubble market. Is Metaverse the savior of AR/VR?

Source: Oculus Quest 2 promotional poster

If you sell one and lose one, why does Facebook still have to deploy VR?

In fact, in 2014 when it acquired Oculus, Facebook planted two ambitions: on the one hand, it was to increase revenue, and on the other hand, it was “offensive”-it could attack on “Apple, which is deeply deployed in the AR/VR field.” , And can “guard” the next social era.

In recent years, Facebook has been trapped in the whirlpool of “heavily dependent on advertising”. Advertising revenue accounted for more than 98% of total revenue at one time, and the composition was extremely single. Therefore, Facebook hopes to make a breakthrough in the hardware field to increase the diversification of revenue. In Facebook’s view, AR/VR technology has opened up new experiences and possibilities, and will have imagination in many fields such as games and life, and create more sources of revenue.

In addition to the short-term revenue-increasing purpose, from a long-term perspective, Facebook also hopes to combine AR/VR with its social base camp, so as to hold onto the next social era. What is this social age like? I believe that many people have recently heard of Metaverse, which is a brand new virtual online space composed of AR/VR and the Internet. Many people regard it as the next Internet era.

In such an era, social methods will be reshaped. For example, each user can create a personalized virtual avatar in the meta-universe, where he can work, live, and so on. At that time, the social system that Facebook relies on will inevitably be impacted, and Zuckerberg naturally does not want to be left behind, but leads the era.

Apple and Facebook have entered the bubble market. Is Metaverse the savior of AR/VR?

Source: Facebook

HTC after All in will face Apple head-to-head

In the future, when Apple’s AR devices are released, another heavyweight player, HTC, will be impacted. The two will face each other in the mid-to-high-end market.

As mentioned earlier, some media predict that Apple’s AR headset will be priced at more than US$900 to deploy in the mid-to-high-end market. In comparison, Facebook’s Oculus Quest is priced at around US$400, taking a cost-effective route, and the target group is somewhat different from Apple’s. And HTC’s VIVE series are priced from US$499 to US$799, which can be said to be on a narrow road with Apple.

Looking back, HTC entered the game with an ALL in mentality in the VR/AR field. In 2015, since it launched the Vive headset in cooperation with the game company Valve, it has been betting on the future of VR/AR and even sold its mobile phone business.

After entering the VR market, HTC focused on the Chinese mainland market. According to data released by market research company Canalys in 2016, HTC Vive won the first place in sales of VR glasses in China in 2015. In the past few years, HTC’s achievements in VR have been closely following Facebook. Last month, HTC officially released two new VR devices-Vive Pro2 for consumers and Vive Focus3 for professional users.

Apple and Facebook have entered the bubble market. Is Metaverse the savior of AR/VR?

Source: HTC VICE network

However, judging from its product iteration in the past two years, word-of-mouth has a downward trend. Because in terms of pricing, HTC is showing a higher trend, but the quality has not kept up. What it should think about right now is how to compete with the cost-effective Oculus Quest, win a pot of pie from Facebook, and at the same time resist Apple’s impact in the future.

All in all, AR/VR is now showing a fiery momentum. With the advancement of technology and the entry of giants, the new vitality it glows this time is fundamentally different from the previous few times. In the future, it is very likely to become another powerful interactive technology product popularized in the hands of the public after PCs and smart phones . Especially with the entry of the overlord Apple, it will trigger a new round of technological industry upgrading.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:
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