Socializing in the Metaverse is so cool, how does BUD become a new choice for Gen Z social platforms step by step?

BUD is becoming the new choice for Gen Z social platforms.

Socializing in the Metaverse is so cool, how does BUD become a new choice for Gen Z social platforms step by step?

Socializing in the Metaverse is so cool, how does BUD become a new choice for Gen Z social platforms step by step?

GGV has this to say:

GGV Investment Notes is what GGV Capital has seen, heard and thought about investment, business, and technology, and discusses everything about the world.

For nearly a year, the Metaverse trend has swept the Internet and Gen Z. Under the background that the traffic of traditional social platforms has peaked, a new generation of social platforms is gradually emerging.

As a new generation of UGC social platform, BUD not only has the immersive experience of the Metaverse, the distinctive personality of UGC, and the intelligent recommendation method of massive 3D digital content, but also integrates hotspots, fashion, creativity and other expressions that are more easily accepted by Generation Z. Expand the extension of future social platforms.

Specifically, BUD enables each user to create personalized 3D interactive content using easy-to-use, no-code tools. Due to the integration of hotspots, fashion, creativity, beauty and other elements that are loved by Generation Z, BUD is becoming a new choice for Generation Z’s social platform.

At present, there are more than 15 million UGC original 3D works on the BUD platform, and the total number of 3D material transactions has exceeded 150 million. Risa, co-founder and CEO of BUD, said: “Since the global launch of the product in November 2021, BUD has ranked among the top 10 social apps in 38 countries in North America, South America, and Southeast Asia.

The following is  the 117th issue of the GGV investment note series .

Interviewees: Risa, Shawn

Editor: Zhang Ying

Everyone longs for free and diverse expression and creation, especially in a 3D world full of possibilities. Under this clear general direction, Risa and Shawn, who used to work at Snapchat, founded the Metaverse UGC platform BUD. Risa studied at Cornell with a double major in computer science and mathematics, majoring in computer graphics, and Shawn studied in Tongji. , and then went to the United States to study a master’s degree in computer science. After two people met, they hit it off and created BUD. No professional programming or modeling knowledge is required. Xiaobai users can use BUD’s built-in geometric modules and interactive props to build their desired 3D interactive scenes, and interact with friends. Check in together and participate in interactive games such as parkour, racing, and plot maps. Since the global launch of the product in November 2021, BUD has ranked among the top 10 social apps in 38 countries in North America, South America, and Southeast Asia. 

Socializing in the Metaverse is so cool, how does BUD become a new choice for Gen Z social platforms step by step?

What surprised Risa and Shawn even more was that as soon as the product was launched, extremely creative BUD users began to create many scenes on their own, from “following the hot spots” to “pinching” various levels of the hit drama “Squid Game”, to Re-enacting the classic scenes of “Titanic”, users can create faster than they can imagine. Half a year after its launch, a close and efficient communication method has been established between BUD and users: users’ strong creative desire and more demand for product functions continue to promote BUD’s product modules to be more enriched and improved. 

Socializing in the Metaverse is so cool, how does BUD become a new choice for Gen Z social platforms step by step?

User creation is the most important boosting force of the UGC platform 

Before November 2021, BUD is still in the product polishing stage, and the general direction is to create a UGC social platform that can take the lead in the new Internet social battlefield. At that time, the concept of “Metaverse” had not yet emerged. 

After the official launch, BUD ushered in rapid growth in North America, South America, Southeast Asia, and even the Middle East. This product, which allows users to design 3D interactive scenes with maximum freedom, add text, pictures, music and video, and even adjust lighting and environmental backgrounds, quickly welcomed its first spontaneous promoters. They began to try to shape their favorite scenes in BUD and share them on their favorite social platforms.

Overseas users shared the creations on BUD on TikTok, YouTube and Instagram, and Chinese users shared them on Douyin and Xiaohongshu for the first time. More users began to be attracted by the interesting content on these platforms, and then joined BUD for creation. BUD successfully achieved a closed loop of user growth. 

Socializing in the Metaverse is so cool, how does BUD become a new choice for Gen Z social platforms step by step?

Well-known game scenes freely created by users 

Risa and Shawn further described the user portrait of BUD: The mainstream users of BUD are a group of aboriginal people who use pictures and videos to socialize on the Internet. They will not only continue to pay attention to picture and video platforms to discover interesting things, but also have great willingness to share.

When users create with BUD, they will record the screen and share it on their favorite social platforms. The beautiful pictures and personalized and diverse character setting styles of BUD are enough to attract new users on social platforms.Compared with the characters, what attracts more fans is the user’s interactive scenes on the BUD, such as gardens, cafes, auditoriums, etc.

Socializing in the Metaverse is so cool, how does BUD become a new choice for Gen Z social platforms step by step?

The middle two are BUD founders Shawn and Risa 

The picture shows a group photo of everyone in the BUD 

In addition, when the “Squid Game” produced by Netflix was just launched, the level of the game was re-engraved by users on the BUD; The four maps of Ji Park, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Kung Fu Panda Base restore the newly opened Universal Studios Beijing. Many users will see some hot topics or online celebrity venues on other social platforms, and then spontaneously form groups to “pick up” the scene and create it on BUD. 

Risa is amazed by the creativity of users every day. She finds that users’ creations on BUD are very professional, and many scenes are close to the masterpieces of small and medium-sized domestic game companies. For example, the subway runner game “Subway Surfers”, which has been online for 9 years recently, has regained the top spot in the casual game rankings in the United States. BUD users have also created a BUD version of the runner game; some users have played a second time on the BUD character image. Modified and made a new image of high quality, even “comparable to IP posters”. 

The BUD team gradually realized that this kind of immersive creation itself is the biggest attraction to attract users, so it pays more attention to user feedback. For example, shortly after the launch, users began to “request” the official for new details, such as whether their characters could wear a dress and a pair of wings, and BUD also continuously updated materials based on user suggestions; some users also created in the scene Create your own Museum to display materials, and these materials can be shared with other users. BUD officials are also constantly developing new interactive functions, such as setting attack props and character health, and supporting users to create PVP interactive games (player versus player) and survival games. 

Socializing in the Metaverse is so cool, how does BUD become a new choice for Gen Z social platforms step by step?

Sometimes, BUD users will write “small essays” in the community or in the backend of the product, and carefully convey the new features and details they want to the BUD product team. Risa said that in the iterative process, it is not only necessary to observe the specific tools and functions that users want to add, but also to explore the underlying needs of users. For example, behind a certain suggestion is the desire to add new social elements, or let the character image more personality.

Another arena where product teams interact with users is social media. On TikTok, the cumulative number of BUD topic views has exceeded 3 billion; for each version update of BUD, the official will produce a corresponding YouTube video to bring users to a 3D theater scene, and introduce this version with the help of the large screen of the theater Users can communicate and comment directly in the theater; the official image of BUD in Xiaohongshu is the human-like “official dad” and “official mom”. Show more possibilities for creating on BUD through interesting little stories. 

Socializing in the Metaverse is so cool, how does BUD become a new choice for Gen Z social platforms step by step?

Start to win in positioning 

The launch of BUD is reminiscent of the world’s largest multiplayer online creation game Roblox, Microsoft’s large-scale sandbox game Minecraft (Chinese name “Minecraft”), and Nintendo’s release of the simulation business game “Collect!Animal Crossing, etc. 

However, Risa and Shawn’s positioning of BUD is different from the above Metaverse products. Although BUD and Roblox also contain virtual worlds for users to build their own content and play in the casual games, the goal of BUD is to lower the user’s creation threshold as much as possible. Roblox has attracted a large number of professional developers. These developers have designed more than 20 million games in Roblox, while junior high school and elementary school users are game players. Roblox will also distribute game revenue to developers. 

The target users of BUD are not those high-level professional developers. It hopes to let people without any programming foundation and game development experience get started quickly, create their own worlds, and invite their friends to interact, rather than forming a clear two camps of developers and players. It is also the positioning of this low-threshold 3D UGC platform that has attracted the attention of investment institutions such as GGV Capital. 

Socializing in the Metaverse is so cool, how does BUD become a new choice for Gen Z social platforms step by step?

In the long run, the UGC platform contains huge business opportunities – this is the judgment of Risa and Shawn at the beginning of the business. They have witnessed the success of products such as Douyin and TikTok in this era, and they have also seen the growth of platforms such as Facebook and Twitter in the previous era. Therefore, they hope to seize the opportunity of the next generation of mobile native 3D UGC platforms to cover a large enough area. rather than creating a niche but high-end game. 

Today, 70% of BUD users are generally girls, mainly young people aged 13-24. They are not hardcore gamers, and they hope to manage their own image on the platform and create their own world. At the same time, BUD is gradually “breaking the circle”, and a more diverse player group has begun to appear. 

In the process of exploring, Risa also noticed the user expansion of other social platforms. In her opinion, today’s Xiaohongshu has become more cross-dimensional, developing from a shopping exploration platform to a platform for young people to show their lifestyles, which is one of the reasons why BUD users like to share content on Xiaohongshu. 

Socializing in the Metaverse is so cool, how does BUD become a new choice for Gen Z social platforms step by step?

BUD has become very popular around the world since its launch, and the data increment has exceeded expectations. Risa is also thinking about the reasons behind it.

In her view, product positioning and product strength are the most critical. The developers of Roblox are relatively hard-core, and the users are relatively young. Although they cover their own user groups, they also leave a “pain point” in the market. For this group of young users, before the BUD came out, it was difficult for them to find a UGC platform with attractive pictures that they could create and interact with their friends at the same time.

In Risa’s words, when they saw BUD, they fell in love with it like a user with a desire for video sharing who saw an easy-to-use video editing software for the first time. At the end of the day, BUD occupies a vacant market.

Not only that, Shawn believes that the maturity of the game engine has also boosted the development of BUD.Developers no longer need to research and develop a game engine, which shortens their development cycle and speeds up the iteration of BUD. 

Socializing in the Metaverse is so cool, how does BUD become a new choice for Gen Z social platforms step by step?

Find the “balance” between low threshold and freedom 

The products that have been implemented and are constantly iterating are the biggest advantages of BUD. For Risa and Shawn, who used to work at Snapchat, even though they are familiar with social products, developing an editor that users can freely create is still a challenge, which determines the possibility of users creating on the product. 

Both Risa and Shawn came from engineering backgrounds. Risa graduated from Cornell University with a double major in computer science and mathematics. Since then, she has joined the core AR filter team of Snapchat and has created a number of global popular filters; Shawn worked as an intern at Facebook and joined Snapchat earlier than Risa. 

While at Snapchat, they studied the combination of CG with AR and VR, and started exploring and building an easy-to-use 3D editor. But the basic version is far from enough. They have been looking for a balance point: they want users to have a high degree of freedom and can create scenes from scratch; but they don’t want to increase the difficulty of the operation, so that only the most hardcore gamers to get started. So, how can users without modeling and programming experience play with BUD and create a free 3D world in it? 

Socializing in the Metaverse is so cool, how does BUD become a new choice for Gen Z social platforms step by step?

Judging from the current ecological development and production speed of BUD, BUD has accurately grasped this balance.

In terms of modeling, the design concept of BUD is: the platform does not provide PGC materials, and users can build their own world based on the most basic elements and create new materials at the same time. These UGC materials are equivalent to a real-time material library, which can be shared across all platforms. Novice users can start their own creations while standing on the shoulders of giants.

As a platform, BUD will provide some guidance on the use of materials at the beginning of the user’s use, and let users find the materials they need according to artificial intelligence recommendations. Risa believes that maintaining the freedom of materials and gradually building a creator economy is the biggest task of the BUD platform. 

Socializing in the Metaverse is so cool, how does BUD become a new choice for Gen Z social platforms step by step?

(Editor on BUD platform)

Socializing in the Metaverse is so cool, how does BUD become a new choice for Gen Z social platforms step by step?

The BUD team must not only meet the diverse needs of users, but also minimize the difficulty of operation, so that users can realize various scenarios by dragging and dropping, and also need to consider the adaptation of all materials and real-time online effects. This is not a single easy thing. Although BUD has revolutionized professional 3D modeling and construction into a UGC platform with powerful editor functions that is easy for the general public to use, and everyone can create their own 3D world, Risa and Shawn are not Satisfied with simply becoming this revolutionary “pioneer”, they are still iterating on the editor, polishing the product, and bringing users a more extreme interactive experience. 

When the creation of BUD gradually increased, it began to gain the dividends brought by globalization. For example, the levels of “Squid Game” made by users can be used by users all over the world. Risa is amazed at this versatility. In her opinion, the global universality of the 3D UGC platform will be further than that of media based on pictures and videos. At the same time, BUD is also localized. Users in different regions can see the local content recommended by the algorithm on the homepage, and can also find cross-regional creations. 

Since its establishment, BUD has firmly positioned itself as a global player, and has taken overseas as its dominant market.Risa and Shawn, who have a clear general direction, are facing new challenges. They hope that BUD will become a product team that respects users and is innovative. At the same time, I also hope that more enthusiastic and talented friends who agree with the Metaverse track can join BUD and work together to build the next-generation UGC social platform. 

Socializing in the Metaverse is so cool, how does BUD become a new choice for Gen Z social platforms step by step?

Socializing in the Metaverse is so cool, how does BUD become a new choice for Gen Z social platforms step by step?

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