Metaverse head player illustration

How should it land?

Is the digitization of the real world? Or the actualization of the digital world?

Although 2021 is called the first year of the Metaverse, it did not fly into the homes of ordinary people.

The concept is red, it is really red, but for the “universe” to land, I am afraid that no one can tell the best landing point.

Microsoft embraces games for US$68.7 billion, ByteDance and Tencent bid for 9 billion yuan for Pico, Mata loses US$10 billion for this, NVIDIA “changes” to engage in infrastructure, and a group of Internet giants are buried in VR/AR/XR/MR… …

In short, heroes see differently.

What is the end of the Metaverse? What bets have the top players already placed?

The origin of the universe is a game?

“The essence of the Metaverse is the game”.

This is what Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a recent interview. Interestingly, Microsoft just acquired the gaming company Blizzard.

It’s not like he’s bragging. According to the 8 basic elements of the Metaverse, identity, friends, immersion, low latency, diversification, anytime, anywhere, economic system and civilization, the underlying logic and virtual experience displayed by sandbox games are recognized as the closest to the Metaverse concept.

Metaverse head player illustration

On January 18, Microsoft acquired Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. It was the largest acquisition in Microsoft’s history, and it also made it the third-largest gaming company in the world, behind Tencent and Sony.

The gaming field is indeed very active in embracing the Metaverse, because games are the easiest to make experiential and the easiest to embed in economic models. At the same time, the audience for games is relatively young.

Roblox, known as the first share of the Metaverse, is a platform that provides online games and game creation. It was officially released in 2006 and listed on the New York Stock Exchange in March 2021. The current market value is around $37 billion, with a peak of nearly $800. It is currently the most influential sandbox game company in the world.

In Roblox, users can be players, playing games developed by others, or creators, developing games for others to play.Therefore, the biggest difference between Roblox and other game companies is that they do not make and operate games, but only provide tools and platforms to give developers free imagination.

At the same time, you can also think of Roblox as a large community interaction platform through which players can chat, interact and create with their friends. Here, everyone has their own digital identity that they can use to socialize. Robux currency earned on the platform can also be converted with real currency.

It is because of these qualities that Roblox is considered by the outside world to be the most Metaverse platform at present.

Since it is in the game field, how can there be a lack of Tencent, the second largest game company in the world. Tencent established a strategic partnership with Roblox long before it went public. The two parties formed a joint venture company in 2019 and jointly created Roblox’s national service version – “Roblox”.

In addition to Tencent in China, ByteDance invested 100 million yuan in the game company Code Qiankun last year, which launched a youth-created social platform “Restart the World”, the concept is very similar to Roblox. NetEase launched the “Beaver Project” original game community to provide low-threshold game development tools.

In addition, in the “2020-2021 Metaverse Development Research Report” by Tsinghua University, Mihayou and Lilith were also included in the five typical enterprises of the Chinese Metaverse. The former threatens to create a virtual world in which one billion people around the world are willing to live in 2030, while the latter is developing a UGC creation platform that benchmarks against Roblox.

Indeed, game makers have figured out a commercialization system for the Metaverse.

Huatai Securities also believes that boutique game developers are expected to provide the cornerstone for the construction of the Metaverse. But the Metaverse is definitely not the same as games, but for now, games are a better way of expressing the Metaverse.

However, better performance does not mean easier market acceptance.

Metaverse head player illustration

For example, “Roblox”, which was launched in July 2021, was quietly taken off the shelves after only 5 months of operation. The official only issued an announcement inside the game that the file deletion test was over.

This Metaverse concept game, which is very popular among foreign youth groups and has high hopes in China, has not made much splash in the domestic market. To a certain extent, this also shows that there is a certain deviation in the cognition of the Metaverse at home and abroad.

It is true that games like Second Life, Fortnite, and Minecraft have many fans abroad, and they have also successfully cultivated some young consumer groups. But in China, there is still a long way to go to improve the general public’s understanding of the Metaverse through sandbox games.

The explosion of the universe, relying on social interaction?

Outside of the game Metaverse, the social Metaverse is also a form of Metaverse that has formed a system.

In the social field, as the company with the largest number of users in the world, Facebook has a particularly positive attitude towards the Metaverse. In October last year, Zuckerberg announced that the company’s name would be changed to “Meta.” He has previously said that he will transform Facebook into a Metaverse company within the next five years.

Zuckerberg hopes to move the social experience of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp from a virtual plane to a virtual reality world.

The rebranded Meat released a virtual reality app called Horizon World in December last year, a Metaverse social/work platform for users to create content and interact with.

Last year, Tencent started internal testing of the new function Super QQ Show to deploy virtual social networking. The previous 2D virtual characters have been upgraded to 3D images, and users can DIY the faces, facial features and outfits of the characters.

At the same time, Tencent also announced that it will launch the country’s first virtual music carnival, TMELAND, where listeners can create their own avatars and interact with well-known musicians.

NetEase invested in virtual social platform IMVU last year. The platform IMVU focuses on avatar scene social networking. It has VCOIN tokens and a user-generated platform WITHME, which can freely design avatars, chat and make various actions in night scenes, beaches, gardens, mansions, KTV and other scenes.

Metaverse head player illustration

At the end of last year, Baidu’s new social app “Xi Rong” was officially launched. Users can create an avatar that resembles the real world and customize the look and outfit. In addition, Mihayou invested US$89 million to participate in the private placement of the “social Metaverse” Soul.

The social Metaverse constructed with social as the entry point can form a complete operating ecology. The social platform in the head can build the channel advantage of the Metaverse era through the spread and fission of users.Therefore, many companies regard social networking as an important factor driving the Metaverse, and it is the first stop to build the Metaverse ecology.

In addition, Ma Jie, vice president of Baidu, believes that the Metaverse will take the lead in industries such as game entertainment, advertising and marketing, conferences and exhibitions. Among them, games and entertainment are important areas of strength at the current stage, and areas such as office and social networking will be followed by the Metaverse. follow up in the implementation.

Whether it is cloud office or virtual enterprise activities, this enterprise-side application scenario can actually be regarded as an extension of social application scenarios.

In the post-epidemic era, companies have moved a large part of their offline activities online, such as employee training, product launches, and more. Many companies also use this field as one of the main paths to explore the Metaverse.

Metaverse head player illustration

For example, in August last year, Facebook launched Horizon Workrooms, a remote office software that allows users to enter virtual workspaces through Oculus VR devices.

Microsoft announced not long ago that it will expand the Metaverse of commercial use based on the Teams meeting software. This virtual image office application is expected to be launched within this year.

Yaotai is an immersive cloud conference system developed by NetEase Fuxi and NetEase Yunxin. Compared with traditional online conference software, Yaotai can realize immersive interaction, avatar customization, and three-terminal communication between cloud games/PC/mobile phones. At present, Yaotai has held many large-scale events, including NetEase Cloud Music Bell Ringing Ceremony.

Is the hardware worth the extra code?

VR (Virtual Reality), AR (Augmented Reality), XR (Extended Reality) and MR (Mixed Reality).

At present, the Metaverse hardware field is indeed more lively than the content ecology field. Some people believe that VR-type hardware devices are one of the prerequisites for entering the Metaverse.

As shown in the movie “Ready Player One”, after putting on the headset, the protagonist can enter a completely virtual world from a dilapidated hut.

Zuckerberg once said that the Metaverse will integrate games, work, social interaction, education, fitness, etc. in the future, and VR will also be incorporated into the Metaverse general computing platform, just like today’s smartphones/laptops.

Apple CEO Cook even believes that the essence of the Metaverse is augmented reality.

At present, many companies are adding weight to the VR field.

Metaverse head player illustration

For example, Facebook acquired VR equipment developer Oculus in 2014, and announced in October 2016 that it would invest $500 million to support the Oculus content ecosystem.

Oculus’ VR products are mainly divided into two categories: all-in-one machines and head-mounted displays. The all-in-one machine has an independent processor and forms its own ecology, while the head-mounted display generally needs to be connected to external devices such as PC and host.

Last year, Meta sold more than 10 million Oculus VR headsets. This year, Oculus will release the Project Cambria high-end VR headset, and the first AR glasses, Project Nazare, are also in development.

In addition to the VR gear, Meat showed off a haptic glove last November. With this glove, users can achieve tactile interaction with the virtual world, making what they see more realistic and three-dimensional, and the user experience more immersive.

Microsoft has launched the HoloLens series of enterprise-grade MR headsets, providing MR solutions to the industry and allowing enterprises to customize. The consumer-grade AR headset HoloLens 3 is expected to come out in the next 2-3 years.

In China, Baidu has been deploying VR since 2016. At present, the products and technologies of Metaverse are mainly concentrated in the fields of AI, cloud computing and VR. Baidu VR Community (public beta) was officially launched on May 31, 2016, and the goal at that time was to build the first VR media community in China.

Last year, ByteDance acquired Pico, a domestic VR equipment company, at a rumored price of more than 9 billion yuan.NetEase has successively invested in a number of companies related to VR technology, such as VR streaming company NextVR, VR equipment manufacturer AxonVR, virtual image and artificial intelligence modeling Genies.

At present, devices such as VR/AR are indeed the main bridge connecting the real world and the virtual world, and will play an important role in the Metaverse world in the future. By laying out this track in advance, it is easier for companies to seize early users and build brands and reputation. But it is only a medium, and it is not a sufficient and necessary condition.

Metaverse head player illustration

Chen Xu, founder of the Metaverse think tank MetaZ, believes that there are two core problems that cannot be solved by achieving the ultimate immersive experience. First, the content ecology of the Metaverse is far from being established, and no matter how hot the development of hardware equipment is, it is useless. What’s the use of buying a good TV if you don’t have a good TV show? Therefore, on the track of the Metaverse, the construction of the content ecology cannot at least lag behind the hardware equipment.

Second, the underlying foundation is not ready, that is, the current computing power is still enough to support the underlying construction necessary for the Metaverse. Hardware equipment manufacturers continue to invest in technology research and development, waiting for the computing power problem to be solved, they must consider the cost issue. This means that only companies like Meta have the strength to make continuous large-scale investments, choose to gradually accumulate hardware equipment capabilities, and integrate innovation.

The Internet giants mentioned above have a common point in that they basically have games or social platforms, and they are all their own fist products. The focus of their efforts lies in the layout of the entire industry chain and the content of the scene, in other words, both software, hardware and ecology must be grasped.

Of course, we only exemplify these leading companies here, but these are actually just the tip of the iceberg. Metaverse involves a wide range of industries and fields. There are companies that provide Metaverse construction services, application scene construction companies, data service companies, and so on.

For example, Nvidia hopes to become an infrastructure provider for the Metaverse. Ali’s Dharma Academy is helping merchants build holographic stores and holographic home scenarios. It is expected that its Metaverse-related applications will focus on the consumer field. Some people define it as the e-commerce Metaverse.

Written at the end: Is the end of the universe taboo?

Do we really need a Metaverse if we don’t consider capital behavior, but only from the perspective of technology and industry?

The New Media Research Center of Tsinghua University believes that the main bottleneck of the current Internet industry is the involute platform form, which has long lacked breakthroughs in content carriers, dissemination methods, interaction methods, sense of participation and interactivity, and there is no new growth point. The emergence of the Metaverse can break this shackles and allow the Internet industry to get out of involution.

Dr. Xiao Feng, Vice Chairman and Executive Director of China Wanxiang Holdings, believes that the Metaverse can help mankind realize the leap from “online” to “presence”. That alone makes the Metaverse worthwhile.

Metaverse head player illustration

Although the Metaverse is highly expected by the entire Internet and technology industry, it is considered to be the new industrial direction in the next decade. However, by observing the layout of the Internet giants above, we can still see that our exploration of the Metaverse is still at the conceptual stage, and the real competition is still far away from us.

As Netease CEO Ding Lei said, the Metaverse is indeed a very popular concept, but no one has come into contact with the Metaverse yet.

There is a key point here, that is, the core element of the Metaverse is decentralization, but this is precisely what the Internet giants are reluctant to mention.

For example, Oculus announced in October 2020 that it would only be possible to log in through a Facebook account.Obviously, this account is not free, and the “life and death” of the account is still in the hands of the developer.

According to the judgment standard given by Chen Xu, founder of the Metaverse think tank MetaZ, if a project cannot provide users with an independent digital identity, it is not a Metaverse.

True parallel virtual worlds still have a long way to go. Even if the current exploration of technology and industry is far from reaching the threshold of the Metaverse, such an attempt is still very necessary.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:
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