Meta stopped developing VR system, Metaverse dream is facing stranded crisis

As the key to the Metaverse, the operating system of the VR headset is obviously extremely important.

In the past Christmas holiday, Meta’s Oculus APP reached the top in the App Store and Google Play in the US, even overwhelming YouTube and TikTok. The Oculus APP is a must-have application for Meta’s VR devices, which means that during Christmas, Meta’s Quest 2 has become a popular Christmas gift among American consumers.

Meta stopped developing VR system, Metaverse dream is facing stranded crisis

While Quest 2 was racing along the road to tens of millions of users, Meta recently “had something wrong.” According to overseas technology media The Information citing sources, Facebook’s parent company Meta Platforms has suspended the development of its self-developed operating system “XROS” for VR/AR, but the reason for its suspension is unclear. It is worth noting that some people familiar with the matter said that this decision was made shortly after the “soul man” of the XROS project Mark Lukowski announced his departure.

It is understood that Mark Lukowski joined Meta in 2017 and participated in the development of Android alternatives as the head of the operating system team. Before joining Meta, Lukowski led the development of Windows NT as the chief architect when he was at Microsoft. After that, he joined Google as an engineering director in 2004 and participated in the design of all important Google search APIs. Later, after returning to Google, Lukowski was quickly entrusted with an important task, as the senior director of Google’s AR engineering and operating system, leading its AR operating system team.

Meta stopped developing VR system, Metaverse dream is facing stranded crisis

The departure of such a key gentleman may be a high probability event that the Meta XROS project, which has lost the leader, stalled, and similar things have happened too many times in the history of the Internet industry for more than 30 years. Of course, Meta obviously will not allow the situation to expand, and soon issued a statement through Gabriel Aul, vice president of engineering of Reality Labs, stating that “we have several technical directions in the process of building the @RealityLabs operating system. Develop a highly specialized operating system for our equipment, and still attach great importance to this work, and will continue to invest the necessary resources to build this work.”

However, a source familiar with the matter said that Meta has informed some employees of the company that it will continue to modify the open source version of the Android system, which is an improved version of Android code-named “VROS”. From the self-developed “XROS” to the improved “VROS” based on Android, what do these changes mean? I believe that it is obviously not the official article of Meta that can explain it.

Meta stopped developing VR system, Metaverse dream is facing stranded crisis

There is no doubt that temporarily shelving the development of the self-developed operating system will have a significant impact on Meta’s virtual reality equipment sales and the future Metaverse strategy. At the moment, the concept of Metaverse is still in the stage where all participants talk to themselves, but among them, only “immersion” is almost universally recognized as the way forward that can realize the transition of experience and make the public clearly aware of the direction of progress. Although in science fiction, the brain-computer interface is a tool that interweaves the two “parallel lines” of online and offline, but in the real world, it is a VR device that assumes this role.

Virtual reality technology is a system simulation of multi-source information fusion, interactive three-dimensional dynamic visual scene and entity behavior, so that users can be immersed in the environment and have a large number of human perception functions, such as hearing, vision, touch, etc. Perception system, and based on this simulation system, allows users to operate at will during operation and get the most realistic feedback of the environment. Now if you look at the industry’s description of VR, it is very likely that this is the basis for the realization of the Metaverse.

Meta stopped developing VR system, Metaverse dream is facing stranded crisis

As the key to the Metaverse, VR headsets have also been considered as the next generation of personal general-purpose computing devices to replace smart phones, so it is of great significance to Meta, and may even be related to the success or failure of Meta’s strategy of occupying the entrance of the Metaverse. Or not. After all, the operating system cannot “pain” independently, and Huawei has demonstrated it in the past two years. For Meta, the dependence of the operating system of the VR device on Android means that it will not be possible to establish a “walled garden” system similar to Apple.

The importance of the self-developed operating system for Meta is to see how Google uses the Android system to conquer its own family bucket in the overseas mobile Internet market, and then prop up its trillion-dollar market value. As for the integration of software and hardware, Apple has achieved a high profit margin on hardware and an “Apple tax” at the software level. With the jewels of Apple and Google in front, how could Meta be willing to fake the operating system to others.

Meta stopped developing VR system, Metaverse dream is facing stranded crisis

Why in the era of mobile Internet, only Apple and Google started the “app store economy”? This answer must be clear to everyone, because Android is in the hands of Google and iOS is in Apple. And the future metaverse is very likely to be the same. It also needs content to be consumed by users. With an operating system, there will be an application store, and the ability to distribute content will also be mastered.

Therefore, the self-developed VR operating system is not only related to Meta’s commercial interests, but also an important part of its realization of the strategy of occupying the Metaverse. Metaverse is essentially in line with the essence of most Internet companies-“cyber landlords”, and it is also the ultimate embodiment of the concept of web2.

“Cyber ​​landlords” are manufacturers that occupy the production materials of the Internet industry, and the production resources of the Internet industry are “flows.” The typical growth path of Internet manufacturers is to gradually accumulate users from the success of a single application. After reaching a certain scale, they begin to platform. Then content creators come in to produce content. Finally, they attract users to consume content, that is, “attract users—” —Minimum volume—master more users—restart volume—occupy the flow channel” growth model.

Meta stopped developing VR system, Metaverse dream is facing stranded crisis

So in the world of the Metaverse, how does Meta keep the traffic in its own hands? Relying on hardware products is obviously not enough, because hardware and users are not bound one by one, and an exclusive operating system can achieve this. In a sense, the operating system and Meta account can be compared to iOS and Apple ID, and the two are also complementary.

Since the operating system is bound to be the underlying infrastructure of Meta’s strategy, although the advantages brought by the use of open source Android to support VR devices are realized in the present. That is, developers can directly use the mature Android ecosystem to produce content for Meta. For example, Quest 2 can now access Zoom, Spotify, and TikTok. The disadvantage of this is that after developers are accustomed to using Android to develop applications for Meta’s VR devices, as Android becomes more closely bound to it, it will be more difficult to develop an operating system.

Meta stopped developing VR system, Metaverse dream is facing stranded crisis

Zuckerberg once pointed out that about 10 million people need to use and purchase VR content on a platform to enable developers to continue research and development and profit. Once this threshold is exceeded, the content and ecosystem will achieve leapfrog development. In other words, it is acceptable to continue to use Android before Meta’s VR device sales exceed tens of millions, but after the VR ecosystem has begun to develop by leaps and bounds, it will be difficult to get rid of Android. So shelving XROS now is a big blow to Meta.

If there is no self-developed operating system, even if Meta achieves the goal of “making the Metaverse cover 1 billion people in the next 10 years”, then the fruit of the final victory may not only belong to Meta.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:
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