Metaverse in 2021 Internet in 1999

The realization of the meta-universe still needs a long process.

“Actually, he is in a computer-generated world: the computer depicts the world on his eyepieces and sends the sound into his headphones. In jargon, this fictional space is called the’super meta domain’. “

This is a description of the meta-universe in the science fiction novel “Avalanche”.

In the past few months, the concept of “metauniverse” has aroused widespread discussion around the world. From the capital circle to the science and technology circle, the academic circle to the government level, people from all walks of life have shown eager attention to the metaverse.

The business opportunities and subversion that the new world pointed to by Meta Universe will bring about the changes brought about by the Internet in 1999 and the impact of the mobile Internet wave in 2013 by the industry analogy, people are full of expectations for the possibilities.

If the block chain craze of the past few years carried the vision of crypto geeks to subvert the centralized system, the meta-universe is a higher level, and it is about the exploration of human beings to break through their own limitations and seek another state of existence.

Right now, domestic and foreign technology giants and capital are running into the market, and this industry change that may be related to the future of the fate of mankind is fermenting.

What is the meta universe?

The term “Metaverse” (also translated as “Super Metaverse”) originated from the science fiction novel “Avalanche” published by American writer Neil Stephenson in 1992. In the novel, the meta-universe is a virtual space parallel to the physical world. People can enter it through a terminal with the help of headsets, glasses and other devices for social, entertainment and even value exchange.

The movie “Number One Player” released in 2018 is considered to be a good film and television presentation about the meta universe. The characters in it only need to wear a VR (Virtual Reality) helmet, put on a sensing device, and step on the motion device. You can fully immerse yourself in the virtual space.

The meta-universe described in such books and film and television works is a virtual ecosystem with self-operation capability parallel to the real world. It has its own set of production and life operation rules; people can enter the meta-universe through related equipment anytime and anywhere; At the same time, in this virtual space, people no longer need to follow the laws of the physical world, they can change their images, fly or move quickly, etc. at will.

Regarding the definition and form of the meta universe, there have been many discussions from various circles in the society, but there is no conclusion yet. With the development of the times and the improvement of technological levels such as AI, 5G, AR, VR, and blockchain, the metaverse that people understand has also expanded to a certain extent compared to the original version.

For example, “Meta Universe First Unit” Roblox has given 8 basic characteristics of “Meta Universe” in its prospectus-identity, friends, immersion, low latency, diversification, everywhere, economic system and civilization.

According to these 8 basic characteristics, Metaverse is a parallel virtual space that allows participants to achieve creation, entertainment, social interaction and value exchange, and can log in or withdraw anytime and anywhere, with an independent economic system and a highly perfect immersive experience.

Mark Zuckerberg, who has recently performed high-profile in the field of Metaverse, believes that Metaverse is an upgraded version of the mobile Internet, which is a social platform with a super immersive sense of immersion that integrates virtual reality technology and uses exclusive hardware equipment. .

Venture capitalist Matthew Bauer also put forward several key features of the metauniverse in an article on the metaverse early last year: “The metaverse is a permanent, synchronized and real-time universe”; it must cross the physical world and the virtual world. ; Contains a fully mature economy; can provide “unprecedented interoperability.”

In China, as early as the end of 2020, Ma Huateng put forward the concept of “Full Internet” similar to Metaverse, pointing out that Metaverse can help users “from reality to virtual” and “realize a more real experience.”

Although the expressions are different, we can see the basic commonalities of several meta-universes:

First of all, the meta-universe is a virtual space parallel to the real world, which is sustainable and synchronized with the real world in real time;

Secondly, users can enter the meta-universe anytime and anywhere through related devices. The low latency and high immersion of the system allow users to have an infinitely close to real experience;

Third, Metaverse has an independent economic system and operating rules, in which people can have their own virtual identities and carry out cultural creation, social entertainment, value exchange and other activities;

Finally, the meta-universe spans the physical world and the virtual world, enabling seamless interaction between the two worlds.

But different from the “Metaverse” in “Avalanche” or the “Oasis” in “Ready Player One “, such an ideal metaverse is no longer just a world hidden behind interactive devices, but can realize the physical world and The fusion and interaction of the virtual world.

Behind the explosion of the meta universe

The launch of Roblox, a game platform in March 2021, is considered to be the direct factor that detonated this meta-universe boom. The stock price of this “Meta Universe First Share” skyrocketed 54% on the day of its listing on March 10, and its market value exceeded US$40 billion, a year-on-year increase of more than 10 times.

The skyrocketing stock price and high market value have driven capital and enterprises to accelerate the layout of the meta universe.

In April 2021, Epic Games, a world-renowned game developer, completed $1 billion in financing, setting a record for the highest financing of the meta-universe track; in May, Microsoft chairman and CEO Satya Nadella officially announced the enterprise meta-universe solution Plan; At the end of July, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg expressed his hope that in the next five years or so, Facebook will be built as a “meta universe company.”

In China, Internet giants are also vying to lay out the meta-universe.

Tencent participated in Roblox’s financing as early as 2019, and then won the exclusive agency rights of its Chinese version of the game “Roblox”, which was officially launched on July 13, 2021. At the end of August, the news that ByteDance spent huge sums of money to acquire Pico, a domestic VR hardware manufacturer, further triggered a wave of domestic attention to Metaverse.

In the domestic primary market, representative capital has also entered the meta universe. For example, Sequoia Capital invested in F2P social game platform Rec Room, and Wuyuan Capital invested in Oasis VR in the social field, Bolygon as a game engine, and so on.

From the perspective of industry insiders, after more than ten years of development, the mobile Internet has been sluggish in terms of growth, and the market needs new concepts and new things to activate liquidity.

As a new concept with long-term value, Meta Universe is behind the growth of demand for online economy, virtual economy and the development of Meta Universe’s supporting technology. Both capital and enterprises do not want to miss this wave of enthusiasm.

From the demand side, under the wave of global digital upgrading and transformation, the demand for efficiency and experience improvement in production and life is increasing, which promotes the development of the digital industry. At the same time, the epidemic has forced people’s work and life scenes to move from offline to online, further magnifying related needs, allowing everyone to think, discuss and pay more attention to the embryonic form of the future metaverse, driving the online economy, The development of the virtual economy.

On the supply side, the different levels of technology needed to build the meta-universe are becoming more mature. The development of AI, blockchain, 5G, AR, VR and other technologies in recent years has gradually solved the problems of infrastructure and technical equipment. The development of technology and the popularization of its due scale are also regarded as the key to the advancement of the meta-universe.

“From a technical perspective, the realization of the meta-universe world needs to solve three key issues: one is how to enter the meta-universe, the second is what kind of meta-universe to enter, and the third is how to maintain the self-operation of the meta-universe.” Qingtong Wang Jiaqi, Investment Director of Capital Yuan Universe Circuit, introduced EqualOcean to EqualOcean.

To solve these problems, 5G, VR, AR and other technologies are required to provide interactivity and immersion; AI and other technologies are required to provide technical support for corresponding scenarios; and blockchains are required to build a trusted trading economic system for digital assets.

Among them, the most critical part is how to enter the meta-universe. Therefore, interactive technologies and hardware devices such as AR and VR have also become the focus of many enterprises.

As early as 2014, Facebook acquired the VR equipment team Oculus, but there has been little improvement in the following years. It is estimated that in 2020, Facebook will only sell 5.5 million sets of VR headsets. High prices and imperfect technology have prevented this type of interactive products from becoming popular. Zuckerberg also said that Facebook’s current overall goal is to expand the adoption rate of VR headsets.

In China, at the end of August this year, VR hardware company Pico issued an internal letter announcing that it had been acquired by ByteDance. It is rumored that the acquisition amount may reach billions of yuan. This move by ByteDance is also considered to be the key to its meta-universe business.

In addition to interactive devices, the development of blockchain technology is also regarded as an important driving factor for the development of Metaverse. In the description of the metaverse by all parties, the independent economic system and the identity authentication system are very crucial in the metaverse world, and the realization of these two functions, the blockchain technology will play a major role.

“Whether it is the movie “Top Player” or “Out of Control Player”, a key issue is mentioned, that is, when the metaverse is realized, who will manage and control the metaverse. The emergence of blockchain technology is at least from a conceptual level. , This problem has been solved.” According to Cai Wei, a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (Shenzhen), the confirmation of digital assets based on blockchain technology will enable a digital world like Metaverse to realize value transfer and equality. The key to the operation of democracy and autonomy.

NFT is considered to be one of the key infrastructures of the future meta-universe world. With the help of NFT, the unique identity, digital image, and ownership of digital assets of each person in the object meta-universe can be protected.

“Behind the upsurge of the meta universe is related technologies, especially VR, AR and other perception interaction technologies, which have developed to a critical point of large-scale applications.” According to Chen Aohan, the co-founder and CEO of UINO Technology, every game is revolutionary. The transformation of China is inseparable from the large-scale popularization and application of technology.

Chen Aohan pointed out that the improvement of related technology and the decline of corresponding product prices will be the key to the realization of the metaverse virtual world. The influx of capital will undoubtedly accelerate this process.

Meta-universe business opportunities under the bubble

“There is a joke in the venture capital circle in the primary market. Many VR, AR, and artificial intelligence projects have their original names last year and have become Metaverse this year.”

From the perspective of the industry, it is self-evident that there is a speculative element in this meta-universe craze, and all kinds of phenomena with meta-universe names and money can be seen everywhere. However, the industry and the market still firmly believe that Metaverse has irreplaceable value and will bring broad business opportunities.

“To look at the value of Metaverse today is like thinking about the value that the Internet will bring in 1999.” Xinghan Capital founding partner Yang Ge pointed out to EqualOcean. In his view, even though Metaverse is still in its early stages of development, its development will undoubtedly bring about huge social changes, promote the further upgrade of the entire consumption pattern and daily life, and bring about a huge market linkage effect.

Product applications represented by games and social networking, hardware represented by AR and VR, and technologies represented by chips, cloud computing, and blockchain all have larger market opportunities.

The most directly driven are the games and VR and AR markets.

The meta universe is not just a game, but it starts with a game. At present, the game is the closest form to the meta-universe world, and it is also the vehicle through which people can feel the meta-universe world most directly. In overseas markets, after Roblox, investment and financing related to game projects has surged. In China, major manufacturers and capitalists represented by Tencent are also actively deploying their game projects.

Since September, the meta-universe concept game company in the A-share market has moved even more. Eight listed companies, including Zhongqingbao, Tomcat, Baotong Technology, Shunwang Technology, *ST Aige, Kaiying Network, ST 35, and Shengtian Network, rose more than 10%. Zhongqingbao ranked first with a 147% increase.

Metaverse in 2021 Internet in 1999

However, after September 17, the upsurge in the gaming sector seems to have declined. According to the data, as of October 17, except for ST 35 and Shengtian Network, the stock prices of the other eight companies have fallen. Among them, Zhongqingbao, Tom Cat and Baotong Technology fell 29.55%, 22.05% and 22.22% respectively.

From the perspective of industry insiders, there is still a big gap between the current meta-universe concept game and the ideal meta-universe form, and further improvements are needed in terms of screen presentation, gameplay design, and economic system settings.

At the same time, current game products are also a sensitive point in domestic policy. Therefore, it is not easy for start-ups that lack technical strength and financial strength to succeed in the game project of the meta universe concept.

Before the concept of Metaverse was released, the market’s layout for VR and AR had already begun, and investment and financing of VR and AR had been going on around the world. Since the realization of Metaverse needs to rely on high-performance interactive devices, technologies such as VR and AR and related hardware devices have also been regarded as the entrance to the virtual world and have received high attention again.

The “2021 China VR/AR Industry Research Report” (hereinafter referred to as the “Report”) pointed out by Yiou think tank, from the perspective of the industry development process, technological development drives the market penetration rate to accelerate, and the VR/AR industry is surpassing the trough and ushering in recovery, 2021 The year will become “the starting point for the second take-off of the industry.”

The “Report” shows that in 2020, the global VR/AR industry capital enthusiasm will return. In the second half of the year, the scale of industrial financing mergers and acquisitions has grown against the trend, and the amount and volume of financing mergers and acquisitions for the whole year have increased by 15% and 11% respectively year-on-year.

Metaverse in 2021 Internet in 1999

Metaverse in 2021 Internet in 1999

Specifically, the businesses carried out by related companies are mainly AR, VR technology, content, applications and games. In addition to giant companies such as Bytedance, GGV Jiyuan Capital, Cornerstone Capital, Gaocheng Capital, and Wuyue Capital have also launched their layout on the track.

However, although interactive technologies such as VR and AR have been developed for many years, they still cannot fully meet the needs of the immersive experience required by Metaverse. Whether it is Roblox or “Second Life” and other meta-universe concept games, the user experience is still rough.

The industry view generally believes that the opportunities brought by Metaverse not only belong to the leading companies and large companies, but small and medium-sized enterprises with technical strength will also have more opportunities to compete with the large companies.

In Yang Ge’s view, Meta Universe is still at a very early stage. There are two keys to promoting the realization of Meta Universe in the future: on the one hand, it depends on the speed of transformation of the market’s practitioners, the cooperation of large companies, and the combination with policies; on the other hand, On the one hand, large companies and small and medium-sized enterprises cooperate. Whoever can take the lead in launching applications that detonate community culture will gain market advantage.

Write at the end

The imagination and yearning for parallel worlds and virtual space-time have also appeared in many other works besides “Avalanche”, such as the movie “The Matrix”, etc., which all reflect people’s imagination of another virtual world.

The development of AI, edge computing, blockchain and other technologies has allowed people to see the possibility of the meta-universe becoming a reality, and it also supports people’s bold vision of the meta-universe and confidence in the future of the meta-universe.

However, despite the fierce market, the realization of the meta-universe still needs a long process.

As pointed out by CITIC Securities, Meta Universe was proposed as a vision for the future development of the Internet, but the realization of Meta Universe still requires continuous development and breakthroughs in many aspects such as digital infrastructure, terminal equipment, content, and virtual currency.

As the meta-universe singularity is approaching, Yiou think tank is writing a meta-universe insight report, which is scheduled to be released in December. The report will deconstruct the current state of the technology and future development trends of building meta-universe, and analyze key application scenarios, so stay tuned.

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