Metaverse + Social: Typical Cases and Development Paths


Socialization refers to the communication between people in the society. It is a social activity in which people use certain tools to transmit information and exchange ideas to achieve a certain purpose. Socialization is essential, and the way it does it is constantly changing. The traditional social interaction is mainly based on face-to-face communication. After the emergence of communication technology and the Internet, communication methods such as telephone, information, and video have been brought. The social mode under the Metaverse is not only a continuation of real social interaction and Internet social interaction, but also achieves a number of breakthroughs in technology and social scenarios.

Social interaction itself is a human-centered activity, and how the identity of “human” is deduced and displayed is a fundamental issue. Roblox, an online game creation platform for the Metaverse, proposed eight key characteristics of the Metaverse, of which “identity” is considered to be the first step in building a complete ecology of the Metaverse. In the Metaverse, everyone has an “avatar” and explores and communicates in virtual space. An “avatar” is not just an avatar, it corresponds to the user and represents the user’s personal image.

In social activities, the construction of social places and scenes is also indispensable. Social scenes in the physical world are subject to the constraints of time and space. Although social networking breaks this limitation, it loses the original sense of space and immersion. The scope of discussion of Metaverse social in this paper is broad, including the replication or extension of the real social scene in the Metaverse. People’s life experience in the physical world will be re-interpreted in a binary way in the Metaverse, and the creation of a mirror world or twin world will become a scene for social activities.

This article will start from the actual case of the combination of Metaverse and social, and explore the combination path of Metaverse and social. At the same time, Zero One Think Tank, 01 Blockchain, “Lujiazui” magazine, and Hengqin Digital Finance Research Institute will jointly launch the “Metaverse Scenario Application Exploration Report”. Released at the China Digital Technology Investment and Financing Summit, all kinds of exploring companies are welcome to actively participate.

Metaverse + Social Case Study

  • Case 1: Meta “Horizon Worlds”

Background: On December 10, 2021, Meta opened its virtual reality platform “Horizon Worlds” to the public in North America. Oculus VR headset users can create an avatar without legs, navigate a virtual world, or interact with other users’ avatars.

In February 2022, Meta CPO Chris Cox announced during a virtual conference that its virtual reality platform Horizon Worlds reached 300,000 monthly active users for the first time, a tenfold increase in three months. While currently only available to owners of Oculus virtual reality headsets, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced that a mobile version of the app will be brought to the app this year.

social function

Before starting to use Horizon Worlds, users need to create avatars without legs, including custom body, face, hair kimonos, or create random avatars. After adding other users as friends, you will be able to message them and send party requests. In terms of social functions, the platform currently supports taking and sharing photos, traveling to various spaces with friends, holding crazy parties, and playing various immersive games.

Previously, a female player in Horizon worlds claimed to have experienced “sexual harassment”. She was verbally harassed by several male players, and even some strange users tried to “touch” their virtual characters in the square. To protect avatars from harassment and to create more personal space for users, Horizon Worlds introduced the Personal Boundary feature, which allows avatars in the Metaverse to stay 4 feet away from each other.

Metaverse + Social: Typical Cases and Development Paths

Create and consume

Currently, Horizon Worlds offers some creators an experience of creating and selling virtual items. Users can use the tools provided by the platform to sell accessories created by themselves, such as avant-garde punk-style glasses and retro fashionable trench coats, or create digital spaces for a fee. Such as art galleries or game rooms. According to reports, the permission to consume is open to all users who can enter Horizon Worlds.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that if you can imagine what the Metaverse will look like at some point in the future, it’s clear that the ability to sell virtual goods and pass them from one world to another , will be an important part of it.

  • Case 2: Decentraland

Background: Decentraland is a decentralized 3D virtual reality platform that opened to the public in February 2020. The limited, traversable 3D virtual space in Decentraland is called land, an irreplaceable digital asset maintained in an Ethereum smart contract. The land is divided into parcels identified by coordinates (x,y). These parcels are permanently owned by community members and create environments and applications ranging from static 3D scenes to more interactive applications or games. Currently, according to public data. Decentraland’s monthly active user base is around 300,000, with 18,000 daily users.

Image and Interaction

In terms of image, users can customize the body and appearance such as eyebrows, eyes and other details within the existing options. Avatars wear more distinctively than “looks”, and while there are default wearables for users to use, brands and users can also create custom wearables, such as cyberpunk-themed sneakers, stylish jackets, fun Top hats, etc. These custom wearable devices can also be traded in the form of NFTs.

In terms of interaction, Decentraland supports users to chat “face to face”. When you get close to another user’s avatar, who may be from anywhere in the world, you will be able to communicate with each other by typing, or by voice chat. Of course, you can also create a friend list to interact with specific users.

“Fried hot”

Decentraland consists of 90,601 pieces of land, and the land exists as a virtual asset in the form of NFT, which users can purchase through the cryptocurrency MANA based on the Ethereum blockchain. Like real-life parcels, the pricing of different parcels in Decentraland depends on a variety of factors, including parcel size, location, roads, and foot traffic. This means more focused areas will be more expensive.

Plots in Decentraland have grown very fast, with the average plot price being around $1,000 between 2018 and 2020. In 2021, the average price reaches $10,000, a 10-fold surge.

Part of the factors that affect the price of virtual land parcels is the increase in demand for land parcels. According to a report from Skyvest Capital, 2021 is a breakthrough year for Decentraland. The platform saw a 90% increase in transaction volume, with a total of 3,939 transactions. At the same time, the sharp rise in the price of the official token MANA also pushed up the price of the plot. MANA has increased by about 2182% from about $0.08 at the beginning of 2021 to $1.8257 at the end of the report.

virtual scene

On the purchased land, users can create and develop buildings and landscapes as they wish. Currently, Decentraland already has a rich architectural scene, including the virtual gallery of Sotheby’s, one of the oldest auction houses in the world, the Metajuku virtual shopping district featuring the Harajuku style of Tokyo’s shopping district, artist Philip Colbert Created an art town featuring the image of a lobster, a virtual showroom for Maserati, a lounge for the top US investment bank JPMorgan Chase, a virtual flagship store for Samsung, and even a virtual embassy for the Barbados government.

In addition, various carnivals are also held in Decentraland, and in October 2021, a multi-day Metaverse Festival (Metaverse Festival) will be held in this virtual land, and the concert will invite more than 80 artists to participate, presenting various A blast of DJs and grand orchestral performances. In March 2022, Metaverse Fashion Week (MVFW), Metaverse Fashion Week, invited more than 60 brands, artists and designers to launch wearable collections, digital art spaces and various breakthrough events.

Metaverse + Social: Typical Cases and Development Paths

  • Case 3: Baidu “Xiyang”

Background: On December 27, 2021, at the Baidu AI Developers Conference, the Metaverse product “Xi Rong” was released, a multiplayer interactive space that is parallel to the physical world, spans virtual and reality, and persists forever.In terms of shape, Xiyang is a Mobius ring planet, and the urban design incorporates a lot of Chinese elements. Chinese landscapes, Chinese culture, and Chinese history will all be integrated into urban construction and interactive experience.

“After more than a year of development and testing, Xiyang’s version number is still a negative number, and there are still many imperfections. It still has a huge room for growth from the goal we envisioned.” Baidu Vice President Ma Jie said frankly, “Real-time real-time High-brush immersive experience screen effects”, “has high computing power to meet the multi-person interaction in the same space”, “reduces the production cost of VR content and forms an ecological closed loop” are still three points that Xiyang needs to break through.

“Pinch your face”

In Xiyang, users need to interact with friends in the virtual world by creating virtual identities. Before entering Xiyang, users need to create a virtual avatar for themselves. Users can upload their own photos and automatically generate an image according to the user’s appearance. You can also “pinch your face” for your avatar according to your own preferences, design your own face shape and facial features, and choose your hairstyle and favorite wearing style.

At present, the “pinch face” function launched by Xiyang is still in its infancy, and it is more of a limited “customization” of the avatar in a specific template. The similarity of each avatar is high, and it cannot support the personalized needs of the Metaverse for avatars. There is also a lot of room for improvement in the expressions and actions of the avatars. In this regard, the official said that in the future, each user will have a customizable set of exclusive 3D avatar images, and subsequent versions will open up a higher degree of freedom pinching system.

Immersive interaction

Metaverse social networking requires not only the upgrade of the identity system, but also the basic technology to support the interaction of users under the same server, putting forward higher requirements for low network latency, anytime, anywhere and immersion.

In terms of hearing, Xi Rong has created a “10,000-person concert-level” real sound reproduction. As long as you put on headphones, you can enjoy the immersive sound and visual effects of the 100,000 people in the venue. When the microphone is turned on, when the user is close to other users, the real-time voice interaction button will be automatically triggered. After turning on the microphone, you can communicate with other users in real time.

Xiyong held Baidu Create 2021, which is also the first domestic conference held in the Metaverse, and can support 100,000 people to interact on the same screen at the same time. When talking about the technology of 100,000 people on the same screen, Ma Jie, vice president of Baidu, said that the core technology to achieve 100,000 people on the same screen is the construction of large-capacity and high-concurrency servers, and all users need to be on the same server to achieve a smooth interactive experience.

“Life” in the Metaverse

At present, Greece has gradually built various social scenes. From art galleries, schools, banks, technology centers to marketing centers, more and more offline scenes have been moved into this virtual universe, creating many spaces for users to communicate, as well as life scenes such as exhibition, consumption, and learning.

For example, in the “Lynk & Co Paradise” created by the car brand Lynk & Co, users can experience immersive car viewing and car buying. On the campus of the Virtual Communication University of China, users can walk around the campus as virtual avatars, or experience virtual campus life in VR equipment. In the “Blue Universe” marketing space under BlueFocus, platforms such as automobiles, apparel, and consumer goods have settled in, allowing users to “go shopping” in the most avant-garde way. In the Fengyuzhu Digital Art Museum, users can immersely watch the exhibition and buy their favorite digital collections. The platform will also introduce more works of top artists at home and abroad in the future.

Metaverse + Social: Typical Cases and Development Paths

There has been a wave of building a Metaverse social space in China. In addition to Xiyang launched by Baidu, there are still many Metaverse social platforms, most of which are still in the construction stage or the closed beta stage.

Metaverse + Social: Typical Cases and Development Paths

A Preliminary Exploration of the Metaverse + Social Path

The fusion scene of the Metaverse and social networking has been initially implemented. Although it is still in its infancy in terms of technology and scene, major institutions have begun to conceive and build a social platform for the Metaverse.From the above cases, the following will take stock of the development path of Metaverse and social integration.

social role

One of the differences between Metaverse social interaction and current remote social interaction is the creation of characters. Offline, we are used to communicating with people face-to-face. From eye contact, body movements to facial expressions, every physical detail is involved in the social process. In addition, people will also express their individuality by dressing up, changing their attire according to different occasions to cope with different social occasions. It is undeniable that the figurative sense of the body as a social “medium” is gradually weakened in online communication, and the Metaverse will pick up this part again.

Externally, each avatar will be different and recognizable. People can upload photos, create mirrored avatars directly, or create custom looks. The body movements and facial expressions of talking to people will also be simulated through virtual reality equipment and rendering technology. The avatar also needs to build a “wardrobe”, creating or buying a variety of clothing to dress up and respond to different social situations. Starting from the creation of a figurative “body”, enter the Metaverse to socialize.

social space

The Metaverse provides new ways and functions for socializing. Under the Internet, people’s interactions are limited to the size of the screen, there is no concept of space, and time is discontinuous. In contrast, the Metaverse is the evolution and transcendence of the Internet space, which increases the dimensions of space and time, and provides a panoramic, open, all-weather social space.

Of course, unlike gaming platforms, Metaverse is not built by the company behind the platform, but instead supports the co-creation and operation of participants. The Metaverse also has a complete economic system, and everything in the Metaverse, including plots, buildings, avatars, and equipment, can be confirmed. Metaverse can be measured by value, and the platform comes with a set of economic systems, which will make the Metaverse have developable commercial value.

social scene

The construction of social scenes will give the Metaverse more practical significance. Apart from the construction of the scene, the Metaverse is more like an upgraded social platform, or a game platform that supports co-construction. The Metaverse seems to be a virtual “Eden” created by humans. The construction of the scene is an important part of realizing the vision of the Metaverse. The realistic social function and the virtual space for creation bring more scenes related to human interaction, and bring the possibility of landing in the service industry, commerce and industry. .

At that time, the Metaverse will open up a virtual world that is parallel and connected to the physical world. At this stage, people have been able to use the Metaverse platform to make friends, hold parties, and work remotely and take classes remotely, and more and more companies have settled in the Metaverse. In the future, the needs in the physical world may be moved to the Metaverse, such as employment and production directly in the Metaverse, and more scenarios that break through the current cognition will gradually emerge.

Recommendations for Social Metaverse

The integration and development of the Metaverse and social networking may seem simple, but there is still a long way to go from “immersive” social interaction. In addition, derivative scenarios for social activities in the Metaverse have yet to be built, and rules and regulations for social-related activities have yet to be established.

  • Actively develop Metaverse technology to support social activities. At this stage, the development of Metaverse technologies, such as cloud computing, Internet of Things, big data, mobile Internet, artificial intelligence and other information technologies, cannot support the development of Metaverse.
  • For the social field, develop the technology of digital virtual “avatar”. There is still a big gap between the current virtual avatar technology and the figurative sense of interaction with real people, and there is still a lot of room for improvement in Metaverse social interaction in avatar creation, perception and interaction.
  • Build a Metaverse scene. To enhance the authenticity of the social system constructed by the Metaverse, in addition to the simple chatting and making friends function, it is also necessary to build real-life scenarios, such as office and consumption scenarios extended by social functions.
  • Metaverse social spaces need to establish ethical regulations and business rules. Similar to the real world, the Metaverse social space also covers various civil and commercial activities, so it will bring problems such as property rights infringement, commercial disputes, and even fraud. Therefore, it is necessary to learn from the rules and regulations of the physical world to establish a Metaverse adaptation system.

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