What is Metaverse? Where did you come from? Where will it go?
“When Ahong entered the meta universe and surveyed the streets, when he watched the buildings and electronic signs extending into the darkness and disappearing beyond the curved horizon of the planet, he was actually staring at scenes of computer graphics, one after another. The user interface, from countless different software designed by major companies…Everyone’s avatar can be made into any way you like, it depends on how high your computer equipment is to support it. Even if you Just wake up, but your avatar can still be well dressed and well-dressed. In the meta-universe, you can appear in any face: a gorilla, a fire-breathing dragon…”
This is Neil Stephenson’s imagination about the Metaverse in the science fiction novel “Big Avalanche” in 1992. Today, nearly 30 years later, Metaverse does not seem to be a super-future thing anymore. The Metaverse concept stock Roblox, which was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in March 2021, had 42.1 million daily active users in the first quarter of this year.
▲ Roblox Chinese version Roblox game page
Although there is no unified definition of Metaverse, its field is prosperous and lively. Including Manticore Games, Epic Games, Unit2 Games and other projects similar to Roblox received large financing. Facebook, Tencent , byte beating and other social platforms giant has taken the lead in the Metaverse layout area. Facebook has successively acquired Oculus VR and Unit 2 Games, and created a virtual reality social team. From an action point of view, Facebook is more optimistic that metaverse may happen in immersive platforms such as VR. In addition to cooperating with Roblox to release the Roblox China version, Tencent has set foot in or participated in investment in key areas such as games, VR, and music related to Metaverse. ByteDance invested in the code universe known as the “Chinese version of Roblox” .
Behind the hot market, we try to return to the three most fundamental questions: what exactly is Metaverse, where does it come from, and where will it go? In this article, we explored:
Why is Roblox not necessarily the so-called Metaverse?
What are the core characteristics of Metaverse?
How to seize the opportunity of Metaverse development now?
What is the strategic framework for Metaverse development?
Why does Metaverse start from social and finally live forever with numbers?
Before entering the main text, as usual, share a few main conclusions:
Metaverse is used to simulate the real world. It is a macro concept at the same level as the Internet, and is a more immersive Internet. The end of Metaverse may be that users upload their consciousness and integrate the whole person into the virtual Internet, “always online”.
The core features of Metaverse include continuous evolution, always-on, closed-loop economic system and interoperability. Roblox has the basic attributes of Metaverse, but it is not entirely Metaverse. Roblox today is more like a Creator Economy.
Metaverse may have two evolution paths: one is to bring a more immersive online experience through new devices such as VR, and to bring new incremental time, and the other is to transform the time that people spend offline in the traditional sense. To the line.
Entering 2021, with the listing of Roblox, Metaverse has become a hot air outlet. However, it is worth mentioning that Roblox was not made in a day.
01 Is Roblox the so-called Metaverse? uncertain
Roblox goes public, driving the concept of Metaverse to explode
In 2021, the fantasy and yet unclearly defined Metaverse will become the outlet of the venture capital field.
▲ Roblox China version of Roblox APP end page
Currently in the field of Metaverse, Roblox is recognized as a platform closer to the concept of Metaverse. Before going public in 2021, it has undergone 18 years of iteration and evolution. The current Roblox is both an online game creation community and a social game platform, where users can chat and interact in the game. Roblox provides game creators with production tools, allowing users to create games on this platform. Roblox’s revenue mainly comes from paid games and in-game virtual goods. Roblox’s prospectus shows that users under the age of 16 account for nearly 70% of the total users. Among children under 13 years of age, Roblox has used even longer than Youtube.
▲ Roblox has even surpassed Youtube in the user group under the age of 13
Roblox CEO Dave Baszucki said: “Meta universe is a 3D virtual world that connects all people to each other. People have their own digital identities in the meta universe, and they can interact in this world and create anything they want. ”
Since Roblox went public in March 2021, a large number of projects related to Metaverse have been financed and even acquired.
Aiming at the adult market, Manticore Games, which is similar to Roblox, received a total of US$100 million in Series C financing from institutions such as SoftBank and Benchmark in April. Epic Games also announced in April that it has completed a huge $1 billion financing to build Metaverse. In June, Unit2 Games, which was built with the Unreal engine, was acquired by Facebook, which was similar in form to the Rolox product.
In China, a large number of companies similar in product form to Roblox were born. Whether it’s UGC game platforms, game engines, virtual idols, virtual communications, virtualized social networking, or R2V (Reality to Virtual, turning reality into virtual) content and technology-related, all have been achieved in the past six months. Some attention and pursuit.
The unsolved mystery behind the explosion of Metaverse: Where did Metaverse come from, and what does it mean? What is the relationship between Roblox and Metaverse?
At present, the industry does not have a unified definition of Metaverse, but there is a consensus on the origin of Metaverse. Metaverse originated from a science fiction novel in the 1990s-“The Great Avalanche” written by Neil Stephenson. This novel uses Metaverse for the first time to depict a digital space that is beyond the real world . In this digital space, everyone can have their own virtual image and can do anything in this virtual space, such as socializing and controlling their own income.
After that, many science fiction novels and sci-fi movies are imagining how people can escape from the physical body and enter the virtual world. It is very interesting that “The Matrix” and “Ready Player One” point out two different routes into the virtual world. “The Matrix” is essentially an imagination about brain-computer interfaces, while “Ready Player One” is more like using VR as a medium to let people enter the virtual world.
Judging from existing practice, the current Metaverse implementation form is based on games (Fortnite) or social (VRchat) applications.
Where does Roblox come from?
After long-term tracking and research, we believe that Roblox has attributes related to Metaverse, but it is not yet Metaverse in the full sense. Roblox, which has opened up the closed-loop content production-consumption, is actually closer to the Creator Economy.
Let’s first look at the process of Roblox’s rise.
Roblox is essentially a UGC game platform. The concept of the UGC game platform can be traced back to the very classic game “Warcraft 3”. In order to solve the problem that the production speed of game content cannot keep up with the content consumption of users, in 2002, “Warcraft 3” opened a map editor. With this editor, players can design maps and level play methods at will, and change the skills of game characters.
The DOTA game is “grown” out of the editor of “Warcraft 3″. Nowadays, multiplayer online tactical competitive games (MOBA) such as ” Honor of Kings ” and “League of Legends” in the game market originated in “Warcraft 3” and DOTA.
The limitation of this editor is that the main art resources and game logic can only come from the game “Warcraft”, and users want more freedom to put things of different themes and styles into the game to create more More ways to play.
In 2009, a new type of game- sandbox games appeared. It is represented by “Minecraft” (“Minecraft”). This game is constructed by pixel blocks. The user can construct his own world completely by building blocks or combining some simple programming.
But sandbox games still limit the user’s freedom, and players cannot change the underlying game framework.
Compared to sandbox games, Roblox, which was officially released in 2006, gave players more freedom. Roblox splits the production link of the game into an independent tool for developers. It is a bit similar to a game engine, but with lower barriers to entry and easier programming. Developers can create different games based on the tools provided by Roblox and put them on the Roblox platform for distribution.
What attributes of Metaverse does Roblox have?
Roblox consists of three parts: creator, cloud server and platform client. Among them, Roblox customer service terminal allows users to explore the 3D digital world; Roblox Studio allows developers and creators to develop and publish games and other content; Roblox cloud ensures that users can smoothly experience the platform’s services and basic content.
Why does Roblox have the attributes of Metaverse?
Because it has several more important basic elements in Metaverse, including people, production tools and virtual economic systems.
Let’s look at the part of people first. The people in Roblox include players and game creators, and these two roles can be switched with each other. Every player has his own social identity (identity). Players can freely enter the games developed by more than 20 million creators, and can also introduce real social relationships into the game, and enter a game with good friends at the same time, “playing black together .”
Let’s look at production tools again. Roblox provides creators with Roblox stuido, a game production platform, allowing creators to develop and publish games and other content. At the same time, Roblox also provides a cloud platform to ensure that users can smoothly experience the platform’s services and basic content.
In addition to people and production tools, Roblox also built a virtual economic system. On the player’s side, Roblox sells virtual currency called Robux, and players can use Robux to buy virtual game items designed by game creators. On the creator side, Roblox provides the Studio Marketplace platform for creators to sell digital assets such as props and modeling.
Why is Roblox not Metaverse in the full sense?
Although Roblox has the attributes of Metaverse, why is Roblox still some distance from the real Metaverse?
This brings us back to the three core features of Metaverse: continuous evolution, always online, completely closed-loop economic system and interoperability. These three qualities are interlocking and gradual. If we disassemble in depth, we will find that the current Roblox does not fully meet these three characteristics.
Metaverse is an infinitely lasting world, you will always be in the virtual world, there is no so-called pause or end. Continuous evolution means that the world of Metaverse can continue to evolve, and it can evolve and develop itself like the real world, and it can produce the content that people need at all stages. In addition, on this multi-party platform, the production speed of content must be able to catch up with the speed of content consumption.
At present, Roblox’s users are limited, mainly young users. According to the prospectus, users over the age of 25 only account for 14% of the total users. Obviously, Roblox has not yet broken the circle. To evolve in the direction of a true Metaverse, Roblox needs to expand the age group of users, so that both adults and children can enjoy it , and strive to extend the user life cycle.
After a continuously evolving world is established, you must ensure that users are always online. Always online means that Metaverse provides a large number of scenarios that simulate the real world, allowing you to incorporate more parts of your life, including work, entertainment, social interaction, and so on. At present, Roblox only meets the needs of users for entertainment and social interaction, and it is still a long way from including all the “people, things, and things” in the real world.
In addition, always-on requires more advanced technical support. Metaverse must have a very powerful infrastructure to ensure that enough people can interact in the same world at the same time. In addition, in order to ensure that they are always online, it is necessary to minimize actions such as fixing bugs and updating, because these actions will interrupt the user’s online.
The ideal Metaverse, like a unified world, can accommodate millions of people or even tens of millions of people at the same time. Behind this requires a powerful high-concurrency real-time infrastructure. Game companies have the strongest technological leadership in this area. However, the current “chicken eating” game, which represents an extremely high level of technology, can only support 100 people in the same room at the same time. A single game room in Roblox can accommodate more than a dozen users.
When you use various work and entertainment scenarios to attract users in, you also need to have a systematic closed-loop economic system to establish connections between people and make people earn a living in Metaverse, that is, in the trading market. Complete the closed loop of the transaction.
At present, Roblox has only opened up the closed-loop economic system of content production-consumption, which is also the realization of creator economy. But the creator economy is only a small part of the entire economic system, and Metaverse should accommodate more diverse economic forms. In the future, scenarios and relationships such as e-commerce, psychological counseling, and fitness may be included in the Metaverse ecosystem.
Interoperability means that in Metaverse, various protocols and formats are compatible, and different platforms and systems can communicate with each other. However, Roblox is currently only a single platform and system, and does not accommodate more external systems.
Regarding interoperability, Tim Sweeney, the founder of Epic Games, said in an interview with the Medium columnist: “Metaverse will become a large-scale participation media that we have not really seen. Metaverse is not built by a certain industry giant, it will be The creative work of millions of people.”
Overall, Metaverse is the vision of platforms such as Roblox. Metaverse may eventually be built by multiple parties, compatible with various platforms and systems, various protocols and formats, and adapt to various hardware such as PCs and mobile phones.
It sounds abstract, but we can try to find references in the real world. Metaverse is not a game, because the audience of the game is limited, and the content production efficiency of the game usually cannot satisfy the content consumption. It will be different from the virtual/digital economy, because the mobile Internet has done a good job in moving the traditional economic form to the Internet. It is obviously not an online Disneyland, because Disneyland is dominated by one company in all content production and services, which is at odds with Metaverse’s multi-party co-construction. In addition, it is unlikely to be a new app store. Apart from the fact that we may not need a new way to open apps, the underlying structure of the app store is also different from Metaverse. The app store is essentially one part of people producing content for another group of people to use, but in the world of Metaverse, everyone will participate in the creation and everyone will participate in the consumption.
02 Fengrui’s point of view: What is Metaverse?
We believe that Metaverse is a simulation of the real world, it is a macro concept at the same level as the Internet, and a more immersive Internet. The end result of Metaverse may be that users upload their consciousness and integrate the whole person into the virtual Internet, “always online”.
This endgame may sound very far away, very mysterious. However, looking back at the development path of the Internet, we find that the development of the entire Internet is driven by the continuous increase of users’ online time. After the upgrade of networked equipment and the reduction of network cost, people gradually got rid of the physical and moved to the digital space. The development path of Metaverse may be similar to that of the Internet.
In the PC era, limited by the inconvenience of mobile devices and expensive Internet access, people’s online time is limited, and the application software on the computer is not abundant. Later, when the PC-side networking method changed from narrowband to monthly broadband, people had fewer restrictions on Internet charges, leaving only equipment restrictions.
With the emergence and popularization of smart phones, our devices have changed from non-removable PCs to mobile phones, and our daily contact with devices has undoubtedly become longer. Overlapping the construction of 4G and 5G infrastructure and the continuous decline in mobile phone traffic charges, people’s online time has further increased.
According to data released by QuestMobile, during the week from February 10 to February 16, 2020, the average daily usage time of mobile Internet users across China’s entire network reached 456 minutes (7.6 hours).
The online time of nearly 8 hours a day is very saturated for users, and there is not much room for growth. To a certain extent, people’s daily time allocation for using mobile phones has become relatively fixed, that is, they will know more clearly how much time they spend on WeChat and how much time they spend on Douyin and Taobao. We are becoming less and less willing to download new apps.
Therefore, Metaverse wants to move towards “always online”, and the biggest question before it is: How to continuously extend the user’s online time and find incremental user time?
03 Where are the opportunities for the development of Metaverse?
Regarding the growth of user online time, we currently think of two ideas. One is that new devices such as VR create a more immersive online experience, which in turn brings new incremental time. The other is that in the traditional sense, people will spend online The duration of the download is converted to the online.
Providing users with new devices means that when users do not use mobile phones, they can invest time in the new scenes brought about by the new devices. For example, assuming that the length of time the mobile phone is used does not change, and the user spends an extra minute on the game console or in the VR device every week, it will also produce a 1-minute online time increment. In addition, new devices such as VR themselves contribute to a new dimension of perception of the world, which can improve users’ online experience and increase users’ online duration.
Another evolution path is to look for clear opportunities for offline scenarios to be online. Many young people now listen to live offline, play script kills, sing k , and go to exhibitions. These activities take up 4 or 5 hours. If we can transfer these offline behaviors to online, it will also increase users’ Online Time.
There is a very popular game in the United States called “Fortnite”, its status in the United States is equivalent to “King of Glory”. During the 2020 epidemic, the well-known American hip-hop rapper Travis Scott gave a concert in “Fortress Night”. This concert attracted 12.3 million viewers, refreshing the music Live score with the most players online at the same time in the history of the game.
After the concert began, Travis Scott’s huge virtual avatar came on a spaceship. During the performance, the game scene kept changing with the rhythm of the song. From land to overseas, wonderful scenes are displayed in front of players. Travis Scott’s virtual avatar even grabs two stars and collides with each other to create meteors in the sky.
As an expression of Metaverse, this concert has become a landmark event, causing a sensation in Europe and the United States, and even in China.
In addition to holding a concert in the game, many overseas companies have begun to evolve along this offline scene to the online route, such as virtual concert suppliers supported by many Hollywood stars, musicians and record companies. Wave etc.
Eventually, people will enter the stage of immersive Internet. At that time, the user’s online time may be about 8 hours of mobile phone online time, plus the online time of the newly added device, plus the time to transfer offline behavior to online.
04 What does the strategic framework of Metaverse development look like? What are the stages?
After analyzing the concept of Metaverse and discussing the development opportunities of Metaverse, we combed out a strategic framework about Metaverse: IAP, including Identity (identity), Assets (asset), Platform (platform).
The IAP framework also means the three development stages of Metaverse.
The first is to establish a personal identity (Identity), which requires the use of virtual idol technology and the content it generates. In the world of Metaverse, whether it is a virtual idol or an avatar of an ordinary user, all users can have a virtual identity. (Welcome to click on the blue link to read our thoughts on virtual idols “Why are we optimistic about virtual idols? | Fengrui Research Institute”)
With After the virtual identity, we have to create in the virtual world assets (Assets), and virtual assets through the creation of cross- easy to live action, forming a closed loop economy. For example, Roblox’s virtual trading currency Robux, it can link creators and player users within Roblox, forming its own economic closed loop in game transactions.
When you have an identity and form an economic closed loop, becoming a platform will be a matter of course. After forming the platform, we can move offline scenes to online, such as concerts, art exhibitions, international travel, script kills, etc. mentioned above.
Fortune Capital has investigated many projects related to Metaverse, and has deployed several companies in the field of personal identity and platforms . On the Identity side, we focus on how to use technology and content to give organizations and individuals the ability to create virtual identities. On the platform side, we focus on online products that can cover real-world scenarios. Entrepreneurs and industry experts in related fields are welcome to continue to communicate with us (email@example.com).
05 Metaverse final conjecture: starting from social, finally digital eternal?
Based on the development strategy framework of IAP, how will Metaverse land? How to meet the specific needs of users?
We tend to think that Metaverse may start socially and finally live digitally.
Social networking is one of the core needs of users. During the 2020 epidemic, when everyone is trapped at home and social interaction in the real world decreases, people’s social needs are more realistically and fully mapped. According to Tencent 2020 first quarter results announced: “QQ micro-channel and let the user during home quarantine and pro Youbao maintain contact both their long year have achieved double-digit growth in the number and use of the total message of the day.”
One possible way to break the game is to provide users with various scenarios and combine the characteristics of Metaverse to launch a brand-new social product. In the process of polishing the product, gradually bringing the product closer to the core essence of Metaverse.
There are already some products on the market that meet the social needs of users by building virtual scenes and avatars. For example, in the game “VRChat”, players can create “rooms” and communicate with each other through fictional characters, playing small games such as capture the flag and grab the bank. Players can also develop their own character models through the software development kit. Some players even show space walks and pole dancing in “VRChat” through external VR devices.
▲ VRChat game page (Source: Sina VR)
After anchoring the starting point of social interaction, Metaverse has been fully developed, and the ultimate goal may be to get people out of the physical body, become one with the machine, and finally achieve an always-on state. Of course, this endgame is still far away. To reach the endgame, technologies such as brain-computer interfaces, AR, VR, and AI may need to be developed to a high degree of maturity and interactive collaboration. The current starting point of the industry is to find the space where Metaverse can grow and develop.
In this article, we put forward a conjecture about the development of Metaverse. You are also welcome to share your observations and thoughts:
How do you understand Metaverse and what opportunities do you see in it?
Posted by:CoinYuppie，Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/metaverse-development-conjecture-starting-from-social-finally-digital-eternal-life/ Coinyuppie is an open information publishing platform, all information provided is not related to the views and positions of coinyuppie, and does not constitute any investment and financial advice. Users are expected to carefully screen and prevent risks.