Is Facebook really right? Who will be the enemy of Facebook VR

In March of this year, Roblox , a multiplayer online creative game platform, was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Before listing, Roblox’s label may be just “4399 full of Lego villains”, but after listing, the market value of the first day exceeded 40 billion U.S. dollars, which is 10 times higher than last year’s valuation. Attention.

For a time, major Internet companies began to scramble for “tickets for the future.” Tencent has participated in Roblox’s investment and financing many times. ByteDance has acquired VR hardware company Pico. It is rumored that the bid is as high as 9 billion yuan; even the prospectus when Soul went public has tried to catch the “Meta Universe” fast lane[1] .

Metaverse has suddenly become a hot spot in the technology industry from unreachable concepts in sci-fi works such as “Avalanche” and “Ready Player One”. But looking back, the biggest meta-universe and VR empire turned out to be Facebook.

As early as 2014, Facebook bought Oculus, a rising star in the VR field, for US$2 billion. After 7 years of dormancy, the sales of VR headset Quest 2 in just a few months have surpassed the sum of all its predecessors. Bosworth, the company’s vice president of VR/AR, even publicly stated that Facebook will reach the goal of 10 million users ahead of schedule [2]. 10 million is the singularity that makes it a sustainable and profitable developer ecosystem.

By spending money, Facebook has also established a dual ecosystem that spans games and office, and even Facebook is still brewing its own operating system. It seems that everything is ready and only owes east wind.

VR is the future and the next-generation computing platform. It seems that Facebook’s use of VR not only fired the first shot against the old enemy Apple, but also tore off the hypocritical mask of China’s so-called technology giant.

But is Facebook really right? Does the 10 million units regarded as the standard in the industry really make sense? Is the singularity of VR in the C-end market really coming?

The answer is not necessarily.

Who is the enemy of VR in the living room?

The reason Zuckerberg got into VR early in the morning was probably because he didn’t want to let his old friend Cook “stuck his neck.”

In 2017, Facebook launched a paid news service. According to the design, part of the content that users see will have a paywall. But on the iOS side, because Apple’s 30% rake could not be negotiated, the service was repeatedly delayed to launch [3].

At an all-hands meeting for employees last year, Zuckerberg pointed the finger at Apple’s App Store, thinking that Apple, as the “gatekeeper of mobile content” and charging “monopoly rents,” actually “hindered innovation. Hindered competition” [4].

Although this rebuttal is sonorous and powerful, Apple is still at the top of the food chain and still controls the “power of life and death” of apps. It not only uses privacy provisions to combat Facebook advertising revenue, but also continues to add features to its own Message application, with the intention of relying on its own hardware advantages to infiltrate social networking.

Zuckerberg, who had no hardware loss , acquired Oculus, a well-known VR device developer , in 2014, and was ready to do a big job to build a grand VR landscape, and since then subvert Apple and social society.

Not long ago, Facebook announced that the latest generation of VR equipment Oculus Quest 2 has only been on the market for half a year, and its sales have exceeded the sum of previous generations. Therefore, the company’s non-advertising revenue in the first quarter of 2021 increased by nearly 1.5 times compared with the same period last year.

Zuckerberg, who was once “knocked”, finally had a “chance to catch others”: Facebook has established a unique Oculus VR platform on the App Store, and some game developers have also chosen to launch their own products first. Oculus. And when there are more and more “exclusive content”, Facebook will also build its own VR ecological wall. This can not only defend the offense of latecomers, but also a step closer to becoming the next-generation platform.

This is exactly why Zuckerberg has smashed the VR industry: The Goldman Sachs report pointed out that VR and AR are expected to become the next generation of computing platforms after computers and smartphones. In addition to the current games and offices, VR will also drive all walks of life. Various industries, such as medical, education, tourism, industry, construction and other fields. At that time, the current electronic market will be reshuffled [5].

The ideal seems very good, but another opponent is quietly attacking Facebook’s basic disk, and even turning Facebook’s VR into a joke. This opponent of Facebook VR is actually another old enemy of Facebook, Bytedance.

At the company’s internal meetings, Zuckerberg once described Tiktok as “so far the Chinese technology giant has done the best consumer Internet product on a global scale.” Under fear, Zuckerberg not only helped the US government’s censorship of Tiktok, but also launched the short video product Lasso to confront it directly [6].

When Zuckerberg thought he would open up a new battlefield and reduce dimensionality to hit a lot of competitors, he ignored a cruel reality: Oculus, which is also a living room entertainment device, may be the vibrato that can be played while lying down.

When more and more content products are available, netizens are almost out of stock. When the short video turned out, it robbed the business of chat software, games, and iYoteng. As shown in the figure below, these different categories of products have always been in the phenomenon of ebb and flow.

In the final analysis, everyone is doing business that takes time. While Facebook heavily subsidized a VR ecosystem, it might have overlooked that Oculus’s current enemy is not the PS, but the existing mobile phone ecosystem. What’s more troublesome is that the current VR is far from rivals.

The first is ecological scarcity. Oculus may seem new, but it still meets old needs. What’s more, today’s VR in the living room scene is still in the stage of losing money and hitting the ecology. For more than a year, apart from a half-life, no classic has been released. For example, who would use a new phone with only a few apps?

Secondly, the experience is not good. In the current living room VR experience, there is still an impossible triangle of price-comfort-configuration.

To put it simply, VR equipment with a very good experience will be very large and heavy, and expensive, and VR equipment suitable for home must not sacrifice the experience. The reason is that to have a good VR experience, you need to stack hardware parameters: field of view, refresh and delay, and degrees of freedom. Behind this, higher requirements are placed on the design of the lens, the performance of the screen and the processor, and the number of sensors. Do not increase the price, reduce portability.

VR is right, but in the short term, VR in the living room is wrong. For mobile phones that are rich in ecology, they will eventually taste new things for a while, and they will eat from this corner.

So, how can VR not be hit by the mature mobile phone ecosystem dimensionality reduction?

VR is great, but what should I do?

The answer to this question is simple: dimensionality reduction is enough to hit others.

Recently, a news that “China’s existing KTV companies are less than half of seven years ago#” appeared on Weibo hot search. People suddenly discovered that the number of traditional KTVs has fallen sharply in recent years. As of March this year, only the existing KTV companies are left. 64,000, which is half less than the peak period. As early as February last year, the general manager of K Song King stated in an open letter circulated on the Internet: “Starting from 2019, the benefits of (KTV industry) are far from those of previous years. It’s so big, it’s astounding.”

The decline of KTV seems to be just a microcosm. The KTV, movie theaters, and even offline shopping malls that contracted most of the Chinese leisure and entertainment in the past are all facing the dilemma of reduced passenger flow.

So, is this the offline format that is gradually declining?

In fact, otherwise, a whirlwind of offline VR experience hall is quietly blowing. Take the top brand-“Future Battlefield” as an example. Only one year after opening large-scale stores, it has covered 74 cities across the country and has 109 stores. In the next four months, the official plan says There are 500 stores nationwide, and the speed of store opening can be called Haidilao in the VR industry[7].

Behind the support for the high number of stores is a positive profit cycle. STEPVR, the VR technology service provider that created the “Future Battlefield” brand, is the only profitable VR company. In the past, it has accumulated more than 1 million paying users. It is expected to attract more than one million paying users in 2021. The net profit this year is expected to exceed 80 million.

STEPVR, established in 2013, is the veteran of the industry. In the past, it has provided VR technology research and development and overall solutions for e-sports sports, virtual video and other industries. Under the premise of sufficient technology accumulation, it completed a purely technical business in 2017. Transformation. It is unique in that it does VR in the B-side scene .

Cutting into VR from the B-side has the advantage of avoiding the mature ecology of mobile phones, and reducing dimensionality to hit others, such as KTV, script killing, live CS, playgrounds, and so on.

First of all, offline VR game venues have a sense of immersion that other formats cannot match, and are widely welcomed by Gen Z who love early adopters. Secondly, offline VR game venues are better than real-life CS, amusement parks and other projects. It can be said to be Disney in the commercial center. Finally, the confrontational nature of VR games also brings social stickiness and repurchase rates.

This has also made the “future battlefield” the king of drainage for an increasingly deserted offline business entity: the fastest offline store’s record of return for this is one and a half months, and the average quarterly repurchase rate is as high as 68%.

In addition to staying true to the business model, offline VR can also hit the C-side living room VR from the experience. The reason is simple. A good VR must be a VR with five senses. However, a VR product that is mass-produced for consumers must take into account the comfort and competitive price advantage of the supporting equipment-all of which are at the expense of the premise of the configuration. Under the circumstances, it is difficult to have complementary products.

So, how can the living room VR, which is frugal , survive the rich and willful venue VR?

The most intuitive example is the choice of technical route. The living room VR represented by Oculus adopts the optical route due to cost and other reasons. However, the optical route cannot achieve positioning in a large space, the threshold is very low, and the ceiling is lower. On the contrary, STEPVR cuts in from the B side, and can use higher ceiling laser technology, which can bring richer gaming experience such as large space positioning and multiplayer online VR competitions.

Is Facebook really right? Who will be the enemy of Facebook VR

(STEPVR achieves the industry’s first record of “a real-time motion capture access to 40 people on the same field in a space exceeding 1,000 square meters”)

The theory is good, but is it too small for the VR industry to defeat KTV?

VR, not just defeating KTV

Starting from the B-side VR, defeating KTV is only the first step. The biggest mission is actually to create the hardware infrastructure of the next-generation computing platform and the embryonic form of the software ecosystem through the continuous iterative optimization of the B-side.

Before answering whether it is too earthy to defeat KTV, we can review the previous generation of computing platforms. In fact, due to the cost and size of the equipment at the beginning of its birth, we started to serve customers from the B side. For example, the popularization of computers started from Internet cafes, and the popularization of mobile phones started from telephones on the roadside.

There is an unchanging logic behind this: it is basically impossible for a new thing to be directly pushed to the C-side to a certain extent, and it needs to cross the user education, cost reduction, ecological and experience improvement several large thresholds. The long iterative cycle and the inestimable capital investment required, in turn, have become the shackles of the proliferation of new technologies.

Starting from the B-side, replacing “purchase” with so-called “rental” and “shared” is actually the best traffic portal for ordinary people to contact VR: spending less money to try out the best and experiencing the best equipment is an acceptance Higher process.

More importantly, the “Internet cafe” model starting from the B side is an ecological starting point that can be positively cycled.

In this system, companies can first ensure that they make money in every link, from those who operate Internet cafes, to technology providers, and ecosystem builders. Reflected in VR, the same is true: to build a VR ecosystem, instead of relying on subsidies and spending money, it is better to make every link first make money.

Specifically, the B-side attempt will help it eventually reach consumers from three perspectives: ecological development, channel construction, and product polishing. In the accumulation of the B-side, VR products complete user education with “non-discounted experience”, open up the entire supply chain, and continuously improve and polish their products from market feedback.

As mentioned above in STEPVR, cutting the B-end is only the starting point, and the end is still the C-end household product.

Of course, STEPVR’s current technology implementation is far more than creating an offline traffic portal for Meta Universe’s head. It has been successfully implemented in VR virtual video, VR education, VR party building, and VR medical care.

These business models are not new. There was a blast as early as 2015, but they were still unsuccessful due to immature technology, lack of operations, and inability to keep up with content.

It is through years of exploration at the B-side that STEPVR has accumulated industry-leading technical advantages and operational capabilities, so that it can successfully implement VR technology in multiple fields. The current STEPVR has a full-stack technology from hardware to software, from basic technology to application products, and has 73 patents and 9 software copyrights. At the same time, the STEPVR technical team has also accumulated profound experience in user operation and merchant operation during the exploration.

From a higher perspective, these explorations in different fields will eventually lead to the “real world”. In the vision of STEPVR founder Guo Cheng, in the future, biological humans will use VR to become digital humans, while agents will be located in the real world instead of biological humans for exploration. This substitution will comprehensively revolutionize entertainment, sports, automobiles, education, etc. industry.

In this upcoming wave of VR, STEPVR is working hard from being a VR device to being an operating system in the VR industry.


What is the source of people’s madness towards the meta universe?

Meta universe means a whole new story. Its substitutability for the real world makes it possible for all real world industries to be recreated in the meta universe. This is why Facebook, which has been constrained by Apple for many years, claims to transform into a meta universe company within five years.

When the new generation of computing platforms appeared, the investment point that most impressed investors was the investment terminal: this is not only the door to the new world, it will also play the most important role of technology and commercial value in the new order. The new story of the VR industry has just begun.

But technological changes are never castles in the air. These current stories seem to be far away from the stars and the sea, but great changes often begin with the right first step.

The full text is over. Thank you for your patience to read.


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