In the social era of the Metaverse, who can challenge WeChat?

Boom or fast decay? Metaverse social interaction is destined to be a game for big companies.

On February 11, the social app “Jelly”, which has been online for only three weeks, successfully ranked first on the App store free list that day. Since then, Jelly has dominated the list for three consecutive days, becoming the first social app to surpass WeChat since 2019.

According to Qimai data estimates, since its launch on January 19, as of February 12, the iPhone device downloads of Jelly App are estimated to be 1.85 million, and the cumulative downloads in the past three days are 1.22 million. The peak download day is on February 11. The number of downloads in a single day reached 435,000. In the past month, the average daily download volume of iPhone devices on WeChat was 298,000, and the cumulative download volume in the past three days was 1.013 million.

In the social era of the Metaverse, who can challenge WeChat?

At the same time as reaching the top, this app featuring 3D avatars also quickly swept across social media platforms such as Weibo, Xiaohongshu, and Douyin—young users were always happy to share the daily outfits of avatars and show off their friends. Interesting status, looking for netizens with the same hobbies to be “neighbors”.

In the eyes of the outside world, the reason why Jelly suddenly stands out is inseparable from its own “Metaverse” halo.Create your own virtual image by pinching your face with AI, and then conduct gamified online social networking on the square interface. Based on this core gameplay, even if the gel does not actively label it, the outside world will firmly bind it to the concept of the Metaverse and regard it as a A new exploration in the Metaverse Social Track.

However, while the outside world was eagerly waiting for the follow-up performance of this new exploration, Jelly was revealed to be suspected of leaking user privacy and plagiarizing virtual outfits. On February 13, Jelly issued an announcement denying the rumors and saying that in order to solve the app stuck problem, it would take the initiative to take off the shelves and suspend new users from entering.

With a high-profile appearance and a hurried end, people are curious about this new social favorite, how the characteristics of the “Metaverse” are reflected in the gel? Will it keep up the heat when it hits shelves again? How will the social track develop under the Metaverse concept?

01 “Friendship Apartment” became popular overnight

“A friendly apartment that only belongs to you and your best friend”, in the description of the Apple App Store, the Jelly App introduces itself to users.

In the social era of the Metaverse, who can challenge WeChat?

Open the app interface and display various colors of jelly beans, which seem to have nothing to do with “jelly”, but the homophonic stem that “comes to jelly” is about equal to “come here” is also somewhat interesting. No one knows why the social app is called “Jelly”, not even the internal developers. In the real world, a gel is a translucent, sticky substance. If it has to be related to the “virtual world”, the imagery of “jelly” is reminiscent of the viscous liquid that Neo and Trinity soaked in after being wrapped in film in “The Matrix 4”.

In the social era of the Metaverse, who can challenge WeChat?

As an app for socializing with acquaintances, Jelly only allows users to add 50 close friends to build “the most intimate online space”.

After receiving a friend invitation from a friend, 23-year-old Ah Zhuo (pseudonym) downloaded the gel app on February 4, “The first impression is that there are many expressions and clothes to choose from, and they are really good-looking. Not soil.”

Pinching your face, changing clothes, and creating your own exclusive avatar are the first steps to entering the gel.According to the incomplete statistics of the reporter of “Daily Economic News”, the gel app provides users with 14 kinds of eyebrow shapes, more than 50 kinds of hairstyles, more than 100 pieces of clothing and other dressing elements, which can achieve unique matching under different aesthetics.

In the social era of the Metaverse, who can challenge WeChat?

Also attracted by the rich outfits, Zhou Xiao, who just graduated from graduate school, registered a gel account before New Year’s Eve. After going through “crazy dressing up like ‘Nuan Nuan'”, she found that the status settings of characters in the app seemed more interesting.

Just like the “WeChat Status” launched by WeChat in 2021, the Jelly App sets more than 20 states for virtual characters in four categories: mood, daily life, rest, work and study, and each state has a corresponding action scene. “Looking at the state of this ‘awsl’, the little man buried his head in the love pillow; and ‘laying flat’ is a little man lying upright, very cute.” Azhuo showed to the reporter of “Daily Economic News” took multiple screenshots.

Entering the home page square in the app, users can see the different status of their friends. Li Yi, who works in Guangzhou, opened the gel after get off work one day, and several friends in Jiangxi, his hometown, were busy on the same interface, “I saw some people burying their heads in their studies, while others were working on fish. Because work is usually very busy, There is also the impact of the epidemic, and there are very few opportunities to meet and chat. This app can know everyone’s real-time status, which is very close.”

In the social era of the Metaverse, who can challenge WeChat?

Regarding this setting, “Super Huang”, a well-known Internet researcher with ten years of product experience, told the “Daily Economic News” reporter that the homepage square can be regarded as a visualization of the friend list, “a screen is covered with your own The image of friends, compared with the previous rigid tree-shaped friend list, gives people a stronger visual stimulation and perception.”

In addition to the status display, if the friend authorizes the geographic location, the user can also see the friend’s real-time location, weather and even real-time mobile phone battery information in the square.

On the square, users can chat and interact with friends through functions such as “poke a poke” and “what are you doing”. “Jelly’s friend sent a message with a long vibration,” Azhuo introduced. “I kept this app’s message reminder when I knew my friend. I felt the romance of friendship.”

In addition, in terms of content publishing, different from social platforms such as WeChat and Weibo, the Jelly App stipulates that users can only publish photos of the day, and “there is no grouping, no blocking, and no three-day visibility.”

In this regard, many users mentioned the “highly private” experience in interviews. Zhou Xiao felt very relaxed about sharing on Jelly, “I no longer post very personal content in WeChat Moments, but I don’t need to worry too much here, I can live more realistically.” Similarly, Azhuo also said that he would be in the WeChat Moments every day. Jelly posted a content that “won’t appear on other platforms”.

From this point of view, the good-looking avatar, interesting functional design, and relaxed close friend space seem to be the “three axes” for Gel to win young users, and the launch of the app coincides with the Spring Festival holiday, so it is not surprising that it has become popular. .

02Crisis all over and suddenly removed from the shelves

However, for Jelly, the overnight success story is not easy to continue.

After becoming popular, Jelly immediately fell into a plagiarism storm. A number of Xiaohongshu users posted comparison pictures of their outfits, claiming that the Jelly App completely copied the clothing items or outfits they designed. The accessories brand THE JINGINGLAB also claimed that its products were copied by the Jelly App as “flower bags”, and asked, “With the prevalence of the Metaverse Jelly App, what should designers do to plagiarize?”

Soon, many netizens found that some of the clothing in the Jelly App suddenly disappeared, and it was suspected that the clothing elements accused of infringement had been removed from the shelves.

At the same time, negative news about Jelly App’s alleged leakage of user privacy has also been widely circulated on the Internet. Some netizens posted screenshots of recently received harassing calls and text messages on Weibo, Xiaohongshu and other platforms, claiming that it was because of the use of the gel app. Azhuo also reported to the “Daily Economic News” that she had received multiple harassing calls on a Sunday. After seeing similar experiences of other users on the Internet, she suspected that it was also because of the use of gel.

On the afternoon of February 12, the product manager of Jelly App posted a long post on Weibo denying the rumors, “Is it our rise, who moved the cake?” On February 13, Jelly App released an announcement stating that the rumors were organized malicious. Rumors have been reported on the matter.

There is more important news in the announcement. In order to solve the server lag problems such as delay, crash, and inability to enter, Jelly App decided to take the initiative to remove it from the app store and suspend the entry of new users.

In the social era of the Metaverse, who can challenge WeChat?

As an “old user” of Jelly, Zhou Xiao encountered “extraordinarily many bugs” when using it: the battery was not displayed, the characters were wearing models, and the app was often unable to log in. Zhou Xiao had to use the download link provided by the official QQ group of Jelly to download it again. App, “There were more than 50 people in the group, and after two weeks, there were more than 800 people.”

On the one hand, the server almost crashed due to the number of users far exceeding expectations, and the popularity of the gel was forced to press the pause button; on the other hand, after the temporary removal, the existing users seem to be abandoning the gel.

These days, Zhou Xiao’s frequency of using gels has dropped significantly. “I can’t invite new friends when it’s off the shelves, and I’m tired of playing. Occasionally I’ll take a look at it when I have time on weekends.”

There are not a few users like her. Searching for “jelly” on Weibo, Xiaohongshu and other platforms now, you can see many posts saying that the gel has been uninstalled, and the reasons are nothing more than “too much power consumption”, “boring”, “useless” and so on.

In this regard, Ma Shicong, a senior analyst in the marketing channel industry of Analysys, explained to the reporter of “Daily Economic News” that Jelly App lacks subversive innovation, and its user retention ability will become a challenge. “Currently it is only based on WeChat, Zenly and other social platforms. It combines innovation and integrates a new gameplay.”

Super Huang has also repeatedly emphasized the importance of new recruiting and retention capabilities to Jelly, “Currently (Jelly’s) focus is not on revenue, but on rapid growth, pulling up the market, and making user interaction high frequency. Only when the entire market exceeds one million daily activities can Jelly get the next chance to survive.”

Some people in the industry believe that Jelly is similar to the QQ show, which has already been a successful precedent.However, Super Huang believes that it is difficult to find an answer to the problem of jelly’s new recruiting on the QQ show.

“QQ Show is the first QQ to consolidate social relations, and then there are QQ Show and Super QQ Show to enhance the user experience. But Gel is upside down, it needs to continuously strengthen the virtual image to attract users to settle in, and build on this basis. chain of relationships.”

In the social era of the Metaverse, who can challenge WeChat?

He predicts that once the user’s freshness is lost and the cost of rebuilding social relationships is high, Jelly users will eventually return to WeChat or QQ to socialize. In addition, at present, the post-00s generation treats Jelly as a game more, and this product positioning determines the overall product structure and the minds of users, and it will be difficult to change this positioning and overall strategy through minor adjustments in the future. Whether it will be a “flash in the pan” is the concern of many people.

03Is the end of the social track the Metaverse?

Although the popular gel seems to have a bumpy road ahead, it still has stories that capital loves to hear.

In an interview with the “Daily Economic News” reporter, Ma Shicong said that the concept of Metaverse that comes with Jelly is very hot, and capital will also prefer Metaverse social products, “Every track is using the concept of the Metaverse to sell products, the concept of the Metaverse Might be helpful in marketing.”

In fact, since Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg set off to the Metaverse in 2021, whether it is a social platform that is in the midst of growth anxiety, or an Internet giant that has not yet entered the game, they are eager to deploy the Metaverse Social, in order to borrow the Metaverse The Dongfeng of the company took off as soon as possible, and many companies have won huge financing.

For example, on February 14, the global Metaverse social platform BUD Technologies, Inc. announced the completion of a $15 million Series A+ financing. This round of financing was led by Qiming Venture Partners, and the old shareholders Source Code Capital, GGV Jiyuan Capital, and Yunjiu Capital participated in excess investment.

In this emerging track that has attracted much attention from capital, the record-breaking jelly is not only interpreted as the new layout of the parent company Beijing Yidianwangju Technology Co., Ltd. A new wave of social networking, changing the pattern of the social field dominated by WeChat and QQ.”

This scene seems familiar.

In 2019, several social apps came out one after another. “Toilet MT”, “Bullet SMS” and “Multi-Flash” all wanted to shake the dominance of WeChat and QQ, but they all quickly returned. This time, at the beginning of 2022, the battle of social apps has rekindled, and a new weapon has been added-virtual social networking in the context of the Metaverse concept.This is also the reason why the jelly became popular, aroused speculation in the industry, and was regarded as “phenomenal”.

In the social era of the Metaverse, who can challenge WeChat?

In January 2022, ByteDance was revealed to be testing an immersive virtual social product “Party Island”, which was regarded as a Metaverse social concept by the outside world at that time; ByteDance also launched Pixsoul, a virtual identity social product overseas. . When the jelly was on the rise, Tencent’s virtual social function “Super QQ Show” was officially launched on QQ, and the XR business layout was also launched on the Internet. At the same time, Tencent has completed a 49.9% stake in Soul, a social app for strangers under the banner of “Social Metaverse”.

In the social era of the Metaverse, who can challenge WeChat?

At the end of last year, Baidu held its AI developer conference on the “Xi Rong” app, claiming that “Xi Rong” was the first domestic Metaverse product released by Baidu. On the day of the conference, 100,000 viewers could interact on the same screen at the same time. Although he was ridiculed for being “rough” by the group, Xi Rong was considered to be running away from the Metaverse Social.

At present, it seems that a small step for gel is still a big step for the industry. Super Huang said that Jelly does not have the characteristics of a Metaverse social platform, “First, there is no immersion, and users and virtual characters are separated; second, the square is very small, and users can easily know where the boundaries are; third, there is no virtual currency. There are almost no virtual goods; fourth, the upper limit of user capacity is only 50, and if there are more, mobile phones and servers will be blocked.”

Internet analyst Zhang Shule also believes that because Jelly lacks the core elements of the Metaverse, that is, the online community under the VR or AR experience, it cannot be regarded as a true Metaverse social platform.

He said that the current technology for building the Metaverse social platform is still immature, so the social status of Tencent-based social platforms in China is still difficult to shake for the time being.

In the social era of the Metaverse, who can challenge WeChat?

Metaverse socialization is destined to be a game for big companies due to the huge investment of money and technology required. “The big factories are staking their horses on the track. Although there is still a gap in technology, the big factories do not need to be the king at the beginning. They can build first and then improve. The accurate posture of small and medium-sized factories on the track should be that they do not have a technical advantage. Occupy the creative advantage, and now everyone who claims to have opened the Metaverse platform is basically a gimmick.” Zhang Shule said.

Talking about the future of the social track, he admitted that the future trend may not necessarily revolve around the Metaverse, because the Metaverse is just a tool, and any product may cut in. For existing and future social products, the first thing is to survive. Whether it is in the social field of acquaintances or strangers, social platforms should try their best to open up the vertical track and find their foothold in the segmented field.

At present, it seems that the emergence of mature Metaverse social platforms is still in the “future tense”, and the gel that only rubs up on the concept of the Metaverse is far from being able to shoulder the heavy responsibility of leading the social media of the Metaverse. However, the story is not over yet…

What kind of new look will the jelly come back?

What kind of answer will it show to the industry?

The wind of the Metaverse is in the social field, who will blow next?

Who can really paint the future of the “social Metaverse”? Everything is still to be explored.

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