Internet giants may be the biggest obstacle to entering the Metaverse era

What is the meta universe? This question has been repeatedly asked by many media recently, and most of their answers are almost the same:

” The definition given by Roblox contains eight elements: identity, friends, immersion, low latency, diversification, anytime, anywhere, civilization and economic system”

This definition is frequently seen in meta-universe-related reports, quoted by many media, and included in the “Meta-universe” entry on Baidu Encyclopedia. Search this long text on a search engine, and the number of search results can reach about 543,000. Although the meta-universe has not yet taken shape, people seem to have a consensus on this definition. But this consensus itself is a challenge to the current Metaverse products: Can we really realize the economic system of Metaverse?

“Economic system”, this element is listed by Roblox as the last of the eight elements of the meta universe. But it may be the most important one of the eight elements, and it is also the one that is most easily overlooked by most people. After all, when we are all immersed in the imagination of the bright future brought by gorgeous visual effects, who would be interested in boring digital games?

The coolest user experience may not be so important

Imagine such a scenario: one day after a few years, you come home with the latest VR headset, pedal universal treadmill, immersed in the exquisite audio-visual effects of the next era, strolling in the virtual The streets of the world.

Internet giants may be the biggest obstacle to entering the Metaverse era

(Screenshot of Omni product promotion video)

Here you can immerse yourself in playing games, chasing dramas, watching exhibitions, and even try on your favorite clothes and go shopping with the help of VR technology. Coupled with new consumption methods such as takeaways and express delivery that we are accustomed to now, you can completely stay away from the door for a long time. But just after you have been immersed in the joy of the new era for a month, the problem arises: when you pay the rent, the prompt of “Insufficient bank card balance” pops up.

That’s right, in a month in this virtual world, all your activities are just consumption.

This is enough to show how important a complete economic system is to the meta universe. If Meta Universe is just a more “cool” Internet, then it is far from carrying assets and production activities. Then no matter how advanced the hardware technology is, it will always be just a “playground”, far from being called a “universe.”

As the well-known analyst Matthew Ball pointed out, “Meta universe is not equivalent to virtual space and virtual economy. It will have a fully operational economic system and span the physical and digital world.” Returning to China, Tsinghua University New Media Research Center also has similar expressions, issued by the agency “universe 2020-2021 yuan development report” noted that “the universe is the integration of a variety of yuan of new technology to produce new Internet applications and social patterns of the actual situation …… blending virtual World community and the close integration of real-world economic system, social system, as a system. “

The biggest difference between the economic system of Metaverse and the economic system currently running on the Internet is the integration of the cyber world and the real world.

As you can see in the movie “The Number One Player”, you can work in the meta universe to earn property and use the property to buy living materials in the real world. Vice versa, real-world currency can also circulate in the meta-universe to purchase virtual items and assets.

This kind of economic system that integrates cyber economy and the real world is probably the most difficult part of the meta-universe.

The embryonic form of the meta-universe economy is far earlier than the “meta-universe”

Generally speaking, an economic system refers to a system that organizes production, distribution, circulation, consumption activities and relationships. The system usually uses currency as a medium and takes goods or services as a result.

Focusing on the game world, it is not difficult for us to find that any MMORPG has a pure cybernetic and relatively complete economic system inside. What does the game world of MMORPG have? There are currency in circulation (game currency), commodities (game props, equipment), independent monetary policy (made by the operator), a large number of economic activity participants (players), commodity production, commodity trading, currency circulation and distribution…

Unfortunately, this is an isolated market. How the rare items in the game soar in value will not affect the purchasing power of fiat currency at all; the unlimited QE of the Federal Reserve will not cause the inflation of the currency in the game. It is hardly affected by the external market, and it will not have any impact on our real-world economic system. This system cannot be integrated with the real world and operates completely independently.

People fight, play, socialize, form guilds or legions, and establish identities in the huge world that game designers have delicately constructed. Many players also become friends in the real world.

Judging by Roblox’s eight-element meta-universe standard, this type of MMORPG already has five of them, but lacks “diversification”, “anytime, anywhere” and “economic system.” “Diversity” and “Anytime, Anywhere” As technology advances, it is no longer a problem in more modern games, and the economic system—especially an economic system that integrates the cyber world and the real world—is still very It is difficult to find the clues of the realization of this idea from the existing meta-universe.

In the future meta-universe era, how can an economic system that spans the cyber world and the real world merge?

Returning to the pre-metacosmic era, when the concept of “metacosmic” has not yet been popularized, popular MMORPGs such as “World of Warcraft” and “EVE” may be the closest non-metacosmic products to the metaverse. . In that era when MMORPG still dominated the online game market, the concept of Metaverse was advanced in the pre-metaverse era in a slightly ironic form.

RMT stands for Real-Money Trading. This behavior is widely seen in MMORPG and refers to the behavior of trading virtual items and game currency in real-world currencies. Around this behavior, a huge gold-making studio industry chain has even been born. Professionals build and operate accounts in batches, mass-produce the currency or items in the game, and then sell them in real-world legal tender.

Because this behavior will greatly destroy the immersion of the game, RMT has become a thing that makes players hate it. And because this behavior interferes with the pure cyber economy system designed only for the internal operation of the game, it is also prohibited by most game operators. Even the direct real currency exchange between the player and the player will destroy the sense of presence of the “role-playing” in the game to some extent.

Internet giants may be the biggest obstacle to entering the Metaverse era

(As early as 2004, “Chengdu Commercial Daily” paid attention to the value of virtual property in the real world)

In the pre-universe era, through the widespread behavior of RMT, the cyber economy and the real economy have indeed merged to a certain extent: through the activities of the cyber world, real world currency can be earned, and real world currency can also be purchased. In-game assets-as portrayed in the movie “Ready Player One”.

Although this was not the original intention of the designers, it even ushered in their opposition. But when we stand in front of the gate of the meta universe and look back at that era, we find a rather ironic reality: that era may be closer to the meta universe than we are now.

How did the big factories kill the meta universe?

According to NetEase reports, in early February 2015, the DNF project team discovered that there was a large-scale goldsmithing studio in Heilongjiang. The DNF project team cooperated with the police through the Tencent Interactive Criminal Security Team. In April, after detailed preliminary investigations and careful deployment, Daqing police mobilized the three sub-bureaus to form multiple arrest teams to take a unified action and arrested 4 heads of the studio, 5 core staff of the studio and Guo Mou, the author of the plug-in on the spot. , Seized tens of thousands of computers used to make money, seized 2 vehicles involved in the case, more than 70,000 yuan in cash, more than 10 mobile phones, and a large number of physical evidence such as account books and bank cards involved in the case.

Internet giants may be the biggest obstacle to entering the Metaverse era

(Computer under investigation)

The gang involved a total of more than 4 million yuan, and 10 members of the gang were criminally detained by the police on suspicion of damaging the computer information system. According to the law, the crime can be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not more than five years or criminal detention; if the consequences are particularly serious, the sentence is not less than five years of fixed-term imprisonment.

In the pre-meta universe era, the meta-universe cyber economy system brought legal risks to participants: games are owned by game companies, and users cannot obtain real-world economic benefits in the game’s cyber economic system without permission. This kind of economic system in which operators rule everything is like the current platform economy. Takeout, online shopping, house viewings, live broadcasts, and job hunting, you can do almost anything among them-provided that you have paid the “platform tax” in full.

Collecting “taxes” by regulating the economic system is exactly what the giants of today are keen on. It destroys the embryonic form of the integration of the cyber economy and the real world, but this may be only the most insignificant part of their obstacles to the meta-universe. The more severe test is that under the framework of Dachang, you can never truly own your meta universe assets.

Once, under the Tencent framework, we were very close to the vision of the meta universe: the QQ account is our only digital identity, the QQ show is like the image of the NFT being hyped today, the Qzone is our social platform, and even has the meta universe. The universal currency-Q currency, can be used for any product in the Tencent ecosystem. But this is not the real meta universe.

All of these identities, props, images, and virtual currencies are just data, and the ownership of these data does not belong to you.

In the cyber world, every piece of data corresponds to huge commercial value, and even the existence of some data is value itself-now it is a rare Dota2 accessory, ten years ago it may be a rare QQ show.

It is worth noting that the user agreements of large companies have long been well-established and legally addressed. Most of your Internet accounts do not really belong to you, but are owned and authorized by large companies.

Internet giants may be the biggest obstacle to entering the Metaverse era

(Source: Tencent “QQ Number Rules”)

Taking the QQ account as an example, it is clearly stated in the terms of use that the QQ account “ownership belongs to Tencent” and the user only has the “authorization to use”. Moreover, without Tencent’s permission, the initial applicant for registrant may not give, borrow, rent, transfer, or sell to others, and other people may not use the QQ number by any means including inheritance. In case of violations, Tencent reserves the right to pursue the legal liabilities of the above-mentioned perpetrators.

And this is not Tencent’s “Overlord Clause”, and many other Internet platforms also have such clauses. For example, the Steam terms of use clearly state that the game purchased by the user is only an indefinite right to use, and does not own the ownership of the game. Steam can take back the game in the player’s game library at any time.

In the Internet age, the ownership of an “entertainment tool” may not be sensitive to ordinary users: “The big deal, I will play in another place.” But in the meta-universe era, all this becomes crucial. What the meta universe carries is your identity, social networking, and digital assets. This is a “universe” that is integrated with the real world.

Are you willing to give your bank account and ID card to a company? If the user does not hold the ownership of the data, the future metaverse will be a version like this: leaving the operating platform, you will have nothing.

Under the framework of formatted terms of use, users do not control data, and companies have ownership, is this really a meta “universe” rather than a meta trap under the framework of this natural disadvantage?

As mentioned above, a meta universe without assets and economic system is just a “playground.” And under the dominance of the current account system and the Internet economy, we cannot truly own our own assets in the meta universe. Will the future of the meta universe be bleak?

How Blockchain Makes Metaverse Fairer

Tim Sweeney, CEO of gaming giant Epic, believes that Metaverse is an unprecedented large-scale participatory medium with a fair economic system.

“Fair economic system”, this mechanism is particularly important. Just as capital always flows to the place with the highest rate of return on capital, so (under ideal circumstances without information barriers) human labor will always flow to the place with the highest rate of return on labor. If the meta-universe economy is still like the monopoly giant’s platform economy, where the platform merchants reap the profits, then there is no reason for people to embrace and invest in the meta-universe.

Cao Yin, the managing director of the Digital Renaissance Foundation, believes that “Internet companies such as Tencent actually want to open up all their product lines in Metaverse, which is to turn the original portal website into a gateway to Metaverse. Enter their After the meta universe, users can definitely achieve sensory enhancement through 3D/VR/AR and other technologies, and have a real sense of immersion, but the user is still only in the world controlled by it, which is very centralized.”

The wide application of Blockchain gives us ways to fight against big companies: Blockchain, DAO, Token.

Data and storage are based on a decentralized Blockchain, which ensures personal data sovereignty. No one can arbitrarily delete the contents of your account, except yourself.

The new organizational form DAO replaces the rule of large companies over products. Shareholders and the board of directors are no longer the final service objects of the product. The community composed of ecological contributors will truly control the ecology.

Token replaces game currency to equalize everyone’s assets, and operators no longer dominate the small cyber economy system. The cyber economy and the real world can be freely integrated. Your virtual assets truly belong to you and can generate value in the real world.

Decentralized data storage, users’ complete control of their own data, true ownership of cyber assets…When the cyber economy merges with the real world, we can truly enter the world of the meta universe. And when the door of the meta universe has opened a gap to us, the vision of “meta universe” dominated by large companies cannot improve the unfair position of ordinary users in the current Internet world.

If we will eventually enter the meta-universe in the future, are you willing to hand over your “universe” to traditional Internet giants? 

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:
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