Disenchanting “Metaverse”, how much dry goods are left in VR?

The “Metaverse” is being disenchanted, an unrealistic fantasy, and will eventually return to the roots of more practical technologies such as VR.

The VR device, which has always been regarded as the “entrance to the Metaverse”, is becoming the focus of domestic and foreign Internet companies and “Metaverse” entrepreneurs. Meta (formerly Facebook) and ByteDance are both stepping up to enter the VR field. 

Since the second half of last year, Meta has also been “poaching” with high salaries and hired a lot of VR engineers from Apple and Microsoft. Last year, Microsoft’s AR team lost a total of more than 100 people, of which more than 40 people jumped to Meta. 

In the domestic market, Byte is also making efforts to promote online and offline, and even started a group of “reverse layoffs”. It is reported that many former content leaders of Douyin will be transferred to the VR business. 

At the end of last year, the global sales of Meta’s VR headset Oculus Quest 2 exceeded 10 million. In contrast, although Pico’s products have only sold 500,000 units, its marketing effect has far exceeded Byte’s expectations. In March of this year, it was reported that Byte had raised its VR sales target for 2022, from the original 1 million units to 1.8 million units. 

As VR devices penetrate more and more people’s daily lives , how is the virtual world changing young people? 

Disenchanting "Metaverse", how much dry goods are left in VR?

01 VR games, the next niche “script kill”?

The post-90s Xiaoyu is an offline party enthusiast.

Every weekend, she will “organize” a group of friends to experience various entertainment projects, such as board games, escape room, script killing, etc. And the VR game has become the latest offline project she has been planted.

“The first time I experienced VR was at an Internet cafe. It was very cheap, and I could play for an hour for 20 to 30 yuan.” Xiaoyu said, “You need to wear a headset, and the venue is not as big as you imagined.”

Since then, Xiaoyu has also started to “organize” in various offline chain VR experience halls. But she also admitted that such game parties are all “one-off”, most of them bring new friends to “early adopters”, and the same group of people rarely repurchase the same game they played before.

Offline chain VR game experience halls are not uncommon. In fact, in Beijing alone, the Dianping software shows that there are more than 50 VR game halls and script killing halls with VR experience. Among them, the more popular “Future Battlefield” experience hall has opened more than 5 offline stores in Beijing, and “Future Battlefield” also received hundreds of millions of financing after two years last year.

Disenchanting "Metaverse", how much dry goods are left in VR?

Source: Dianping

The offline experience hall has also driven the demand for home VR equipment. Under the influence of the epidemic, from shopping malls to living rooms, VR is penetrating into the lives of young people, taking an important step from public space to private space.

Several users who have purchased home VR equipment such as Pico, Oculus and Roblox told Xiaguang Club that the current “evolution” to a fully portable standalone VR headset has made a difference in their lives.

Li Tu, who works at Byte, bought the VR device Pico under the temptation of the employee’s internal discount price, but after the actual experience, he found that the effect was not as good as expected.

“The developer’s expectation is definitely to achieve the giant screen effect of being in a movie theater, but in fact it still feels that the surrounding environment is fake.” Li Tu said.

Lin Shuang, a “krypton gold user” with sufficient financial resources, chose to start with the new version of Oculus Quest 2.”You can buy it directly on Amazon, but I bought it through a proxy. In addition, if I buy Oculus, it is a bit troublesome to register an account and activate it.”

Disenchanting "Metaverse", how much dry goods are left in VR?

Source: Amazon

Lin Shuang’s original idea of ​​buying Oculus was to create a “family virtual living room”, but it turned out that he was a little “overthinking”. The “hardware-software-integrated” platform promoted by Zuckerberg does have a higher-resolution display, more than half the weight, and less latency loss. However, the resolution of VR headsets available at this price on the market can only reach the current level after controlling the cost.

“The resolution needs to reach 14k to actually have an immersive experience, otherwise you will get dizzy after a few movements.” Lin Shuang said, “Only if the dizziness problem after long-term wearing is solved, the head-mounted device may be fully accepted by the public. Accept.

There are also some users who feel that the current VR all-in-one machine has too few functions . “You can’t play anything if you don’t pay for it”, “It’s really novel, but all games need to be paid for”, etc., are all comments given by young people who have purchased VR all-in-one machines.

02 Internet giants, making efforts to “educate users’ minds”

The spread of the VR trend is not unrelated to the promotion and marketing of Internet giants. In particular, the fierce marketing momentum of Byte’s Pico is even more surprising.

Since Byte acquired VR hardware company Pico at a high price last year, related online marketing and offline experience channels have been spreading like crazy.

At the beginning of the release of Pico Neo 3 last year, it launched the “180-day cash back” campaign. This means that after purchasing a Pico Neo 3 for 2,699 yuan, consumers only need to activate and go online for 180 consecutive days, and meet the requirement of half an hour of daily operation (there are three opportunities to replenish the card), and then half of the purchase price can be refunded. It is equivalent to only spend more than 1,300 yuan to win a home VR all-in-one machine.

Pico has also cooperated with Taobao head anchor Li Jiaqi in promotion. In the live broadcast room, the process of selling the Pico Neo 3 all-in-one machine looks as ordinary as selling a mobile phone.

“When I watched Li Jiaqi’s live broadcast, I bought a Pico on an impulse.” Li Quan told Xiaguang Club, “There is indeed a cashback event, but it is difficult for anyone to stick to the frequency of half an hour a day, and the timing must be only when the characters are moving. In the beginning, it will take an hour to get down in total.”

Open the Douyin product, which is also owned by Byte, and you can see the topic and promotion of the Pico Neo3 VR all-in-one machine everywhere. Topics such as “Play VR to choose Pico” and “Pico VR play for real” have 420 million and 37.271 million views respectively.

Disenchanting "Metaverse", how much dry goods are left in VR?

Source: Pico-related topics on Douyin

At the same time, Pico also held a joint launch event with “Douyin E-commerce”. In the live broadcast rooms of major anchors including super-head anchor Luo Yonghao, you can see the figure of Pico Neo3 being sold at a discount.

In order to ease the purchase burden of young people, Pico can pay through “dou installments”, providing 12 months of interest-free payments. In order to dispel the concerns of Pico watchers, merchants also launched a 30-day free trial, and they are not satisfied with the marketing strategy of returning by mail.

At the same time, the popularity of Pico’s offline experience stores is also increasing. Shanghai Jiuguang, Xujiahui, Nanjing West Road, Beijing’s Changyingtian Street and other popular business districts have opened Pico offline experience stores, and the in-store shopping guides will provide detailed experience assistance and explanations for consumers.

In the current situation where the penetration rate of VR equipment is still extremely low, ByteDance is not only promoting its VR all-in-one products, but also using a method that is almost “sell at a loss” to cultivate young users’ minds close to the virtual world.

Disenchanting "Metaverse", how much dry goods are left in VR?

Beijing Pico offline experience store

Although there are many VR experience experiences published on various social networking sites, in fact, some super Internet companies in China have created high-efficiency “education users” results under the excessive cost of “cultivation needs” –  investment A lot of cost for marketing and promotion in exchange for a very high coverage experience.

Although many “Metaverse” enthusiasts who bought VR equipment just use it as a leisure and entertainment tool during the quarantine period of the epidemic, in general, there are more and more experiential users on the market.

03 “Short video + VR”, is it a new way out?

At a time when major Internet companies are laying off staff, and even some teams and business lines are being laid off as a whole, the rapid progress of VR-related businesses has made Pico “buck the trend” and become a rare department with positive employee growth .

Under the fierce promotion, VR software and hardware devices such as Pico are rapidly infiltrating the lives of young people. But at the same time, it also has to face various complaints from players, including low resolution, poor immersion, limited large-scale games, and easy-to-play small games. Some technology equipment players said bluntly: “The expectations for the hard core are too high, so there is a strong sense of loss.”

The common problem of VR equipment is that, on the one hand, the resolution is limited, and the vertigo problem cannot be completely solved technically; on the other hand, the immersion and user stickiness of large-scale games are not enough. This makes many young people eventually become a low-frequency user after purchasing and simple experience.

But this is obviously not what Byte Pico wants to see.

Recently, Byte has first transferred a large number of high-level content executives to the Pico project , including Ren Lifeng, the director of Watermelon Video, Song Binghua, the director of Douyin Variety, and Wu Zuomin, the director of Douyin Entertainment. After that, a large number of recruitment information was released on several key recruitment websites, especially increasing the demand for the recruitment of Pico platform content and development engineers.

Disenchanting "Metaverse", how much dry goods are left in VR?

Pico related positions open recruitment letter

Therefore, some insiders speculated that this move means that ByteDance is strengthening the layout of the VR content field.

Generally speaking, the content production of large-scale games requires a lot of cost investment, and the price of VR equipment will also rise. For example, Roblox, an online game platform, has spent 15 years building a rich game content ecosystem, attracting a large number of users through tens of thousands of products. The market response of Oculus Quest 2 last year was better than that of Pico, because of its relatively complete content ecology, but it also means a single content purchase and consumption of tens of dollars.

The production of short video content that is more suitable for VR scenarios not only costs relatively low, but also does not require a large increase in additional in-app purchases for users. Especially for Byte, it has the natural advantage of connecting VR and short video content communities.

A previous interviewee said: “The Pico I bought home does have the function of swiping Douyin, but I have never seen it.” This shows that the connection between Pico and the company’s other social ecosystems is still relatively weak.

Disenchanting "Metaverse", how much dry goods are left in VR?

Use Pico to watch Douyin, source: Douyin

Whether it is a short video or a VR game, it is a match between the offline entertainment carrier and the content. It is also a solution to expand the VR content source with short video. Perhaps the “short video + VR” model can become a new breakthrough for people to ignore the flawed resolution.

Once a more complete content ecosystem is built, Pico may be able to diversify the profit model of VR equipment in the future.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/disenchanting-metaverse-how-much-dry-goods-are-left-in-vr/
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