Mobile phone manufacturers fall into the Metaverse

No one can deny that the Metaverse has been a rare outlet in the past year.

As a new industry taking over popular tracks such as new consumption and artificial intelligence, the imaginative Metaverse has undoubtedly become a gold mine for competition.

Throughout the entire mining area, changes are constantly taking place. There are newcomers with different purposes and traditional players who are constantly evolving. Among them, the story of mobile phone manufacturers is worth talking about.

If VR hardware is used as a reference standard, as the first batch of players to follow the trend of VR, mobile phone manufacturers have already stood at the forefront of the Metaverse. It’s a pity that as the tide cools and players flee, everything has become history.

Over the past few years, under the drive of Metaverse, manufacturers such as Xiaomi and vivo have all shown the meaning of fighting VR again. It’s just that everything needs timing. Many things can’t be done too early, and they can’t be done too late. Can the mobile phone manufacturers who are returning to VR now rewrite the failed endings of the past?

The inevitable mobile gamer

Under the cold winter, whether it is the Metaverse in the distance or the VR hardware nearby, it is a “life-saving straw” for mobile phone manufacturers at this stage.

As we all know, the current consumer electronics is in a period of hardship, and the mobile phone market has already entered the stock market, and the willingness of users to change phones is decreasing year by year. In this context, micro-innovation is no longer an export. The consumer electronics market needs a powerful medicine, that is, selling the next rigid demand to the market and promoting the next round of hardware revolution to break the situation.

Mobile phone manufacturers fall into the Metaverse

Compared with various types of smart devices serving a single scenario, VR/AR hardware takes into account both functions and entertainment, and has more diverse application scenarios, which can naturally better fit the mass market and gather a large amount of demand. Taking the sense of substitution emphasized by the game industry as an example, even if the manufacturer describes the game scene and puts in a large number of high-end models, the first-person perspective is still controlled by the mouse and handle. In contrast, VR can achieve dimensionality reduction only with hardware characteristics. . It can be regarded as the long-awaited “revolutionary track” by the industry.

Secondly, VR/AR is also a complement to the hardware ecosystem of mobile phone manufacturers. In the current mobile phone industry, almost no players choose to cling to the mobile phone tree, and even the glory that has just risen has put their energy into full-scene smart hardware.

Looking at the hardware matrix of many players, most of them revolve around notebooks, smart watches, headphones, TVs and other products. Players with a stronger ecology may involve smart homes and even car building. It is not difficult to see that the coverage of the hardware matrix is ​​likely to be one of the decisive points in this ecological battle.

Therefore, VR/AR equipment is not only a “ticket” for mobile phone manufacturers to enter the Metaverse, but also an important puzzle for whether the hardware ecology constructed by each manufacturer can fully cover the scene. In this context, it is necessary to launch an iconic VR/AR product for emerging scenarios.

Faced with this battle, mobile phone manufacturers are obviously bound to win, after all, they have the inherent advantage of cutting into the hardware entrance of the Metaverse. From 2016 to 2019, when the Metaverse was still stuck in the concept of “Avalanche”, Xiaomi, vivo, Huawei and other players have all released their own VR hardware, trying to seize the possible outlet.

Although most of the products launched at that time were mainly early adopters, and the hardware parameters were already behind the times, they could not play a synergistic role in the current hardware ecology, but this did not affect the control of the supply chain by mobile phone manufacturers. After all, the established supply chain companies such as Goertek and Lens Technology , which have been cooperating with mobile phone manufacturers for a long time, are entering the VR/AR track one after another, and mobile phone manufacturers no longer need to spend time and cost to rebuild the supply chain relationship.

But is it really so? Not necessarily, because behind the previous hardware advantages, mobile phone manufacturers have a scar that is difficult to fill.

unrepairable heart disease

Mobile phone manufacturers have experienced a wave of VR, but none of the VR products of any manufacturer has been regularly updated, and they have all been put into the cold palace. On the surface, the failure of mobile phone manufacturers in the past was caused by the collapse of the VR outlet, but the essential reason is that mobile phone manufacturers lack the content soil to support a VR device.

Whether it is a VR all-in-one machine for the mass market or a PCVR for gamers, the content itself and the degree of fit between the content and the hardware will become the key factors for users to choose.

Mobile phone manufacturers fall into the Metaverse

The content is precisely the common heart disease of mobile phone manufacturers. Take two phenomenal products, Meta Oculus Quest 2 and Valve Index, for example. The content base of the two is highly related to Meta’s Internet background and Valve’s game background.

On the other hand, in the mobile phone track, although there are players like Xiaomi who shout Internet slogans, the so-called Internet business is above advertising, and Xiaomi games that are really related to the content lack the self-research ability of high-quality games, and most of them are just as publishers. At the same time, it is also difficult to grab the publishing rights of high-quality third-party games in the environment of more wolves and less meat.

It is worth noting that the person in charge of Xiaomi Cloud Games once said on a forum last year that Xiaomi will make a comprehensive layout in cloud games, AR/VR and the Metaverse. It has to be said that cloud gaming is indeed a major export that balances the portability and performance of VR devices at this stage, but Google, the industry’s big brother, has already used it for Stadia’s trial and error – at this stage, cloud gaming still cannot solve the problem of input lag, and once the problem is For VR scenes that focus on perspective interaction, the poor experience will increase by an order of magnitude.

Therefore, the VR track emphasizes the characteristics of content, which will infinitely dilute the hardware and supply chain advantages of mobile phone manufacturers. What’s more, the current level of competition in the VR market is no longer comparable to the past.

Meeting on narrow roads, whoever wins the content wins

Before the Metaverse concept broke out, due to well-known factors, the content advantages of Oculus Quest 2 and Valve Index in the domestic market were inevitably reduced, and mobile phone manufacturers were able to gain more competitiveness under the umbrella.But at the moment, with more and more players coveting the Metaverse, mobile phone manufacturers have lost their last breathing space.

In 2021, ByteDance announced the acquisition of VR manufacturer Pico, which was one of the few VR manufacturers on the track after the tuyere collapsed and mobile phone manufacturers fled.

In June of this year, Tencent was also revealed to have officially established an extended reality (XR) department. Earlier, there were rumors that Tencent acquired hardware manufacturer Black Shark Technology to make VR headsets. It is worth mentioning that both the early acquisition of Riot Games and the recent increase in Ubisoft’s holdings convey the meaning of Tencent building content barriers, and the person leading the XR department is none other than Tencent Games Vice President Shen Shen. Li.

This means that the big Internet manufacturers want to use hardware to enter the Metaverse, and then grasp the hardware entrance, and the advantages of big manufacturers in terms of content will become a stepping stone to the traditional hardware players represented by mobile phone manufacturers.

After all, in hardware, the upstream device industry is not only highly similar, but supply chain companies may also defect. Pico, which Byte previously acquired, has a close relationship with the VR supply chain giant Goertek. Although Tencent has not made any specific acquisitions at this stage, it is clear that the situation will be clear if one only needs to consider whether the supply chain recognizes the relationship or the money.

And if they fight for content, Byte and Tencent will win without a fight. As a simple example, Bytes only needs to put Douyin into the hardware-exclusive Metaverse social application, and it can rub the mobile phone manufacturers on the ground. Even if mobile phone manufacturers want to rush to repair content barriers, they will be dragged down by extremely high content procurement costs in a highly competitive environment.

On the other hand, the income structure of mobile phone players is relatively simple, that is, the profits brought by selling hardware. But at this stage, VR/AR hardware cannot guarantee stable shipments and demand. If manufacturers want to replicate the way of making money with dividends in the mobile internet era, they will be under a lot of pressure before the dividends are brought.

Before VR/AR becomes a product that everyone needs, it is the key to attract emerging users at a cost-effective basis. This is where the Oculus Quest 2 wins – the hardware is profitable, and the content is paid. Obviously, mobile phone manufacturers lack the ability to diversify revenue, but they have to fall into the competition of cost-effectiveness. The situation is difficult to describe.

Therefore, just to create increments, the new products launched by mobile phone manufacturers are likely to be submerged in the ocean of similar products on the track, and are always at risk of being replaced. Whether it is the Metaverse or the pure VR/AR track, hardware thinking is becoming a thing of the past. Only by grasping the “content” and grasping the first batch of users can we truly deal with this upcoming big test.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:
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