The Internet says that if there is light, there is a Metaverse.
The victory of the Metaverse in 2021 is the victory of the idea-making utopia. Its proliferation does not rely on the leap-forward development of a certain technology, but rather carries the beautiful imagination of the current Internet people for the future. Therefore, this paper regards the Metaverse as a concept, and hopes to explore its short history as a concept to construct a utopia for Internet people.
In the past 3 to 5 years, in the mobile Internet industry, which lacks changes and is hard to find in increments, there are large and small imaginations for the future, such as sandbox games, interactive dramas, technologies such as VR, cloud games, or even more grand all-around games. The true Internet all hope to find the liberating force for the development of the industry. However, these nouns as outlets lack the power of utopia and are limited to a corner of the industry.
The Metaverse is a seductive utopia and turns these concepts into subsets of its own: it paints the future carried by infrastructures such as cloud technology, AI, VR/AR and blockchain, allowing virtual idols, VR games, cloud games and other categories have a grand world view.
There is no concrete realization of this utopia, so there is an unknown space for interpretation. Some people think that the oasis in “Ready Player One” is in line with the imagination of the Metaverse; some people think that VR is the real entrance to the Metaverse; investors are even more eager to find suitable investment targets.
There is a view that talking about the Metaverse in 2022 is like talking about the Internet in 1995, everyone has heard of it, but no one knows exactly how to do it. The Metaverse is not the Internet, but comparing the Metaverse to the Internet is undoubtedly an invention.
A rather sarcastic way of saying this about the Metaverse
So what we’re seeing is that in 2021, almost the entire industry is claiming a relationship with the Metaverse.
On the other side of the ocean, Roblox’s stock price rose tenfold with the help of Metaverse, and Facebook’s parent company directly changed its name to Meta; in China, Metaverse was considered a rare commodity by Internet giants, and the startup company re-issued a project list with a Metaverse prefix, sandbox games, VR manufacturers , digital human projects all see hope in the Metaverse.
The Metaverse is an enticing future, constructed in the present far from the future. However, too many domestic concept hype and leek cutting behaviors do not really make the Metaverse and the present relationship.
Utopia is not the same as nothingness. According to the historian Maurice Meissner (Masler), there are two types of utopianism, positive and negative. Negative utopianism often takes a pedantic account of the good society. The positive form of utopianism, on the other hand, combines the vision of a future society with an expectation that the advent of utopia is more or less imminent, or at least in the process of coming.
The utopia constructed by the Metaverse is still full of bubbles , speculation and negativity , and is also limited to the market dimension. Our discussions of the Metaverse often devolve into two poles: indulge in a utopian narrative, or denounce its falsity . The crux of the problem is how to actively participate in the construction of ideas and find this positive force in the future.
To tell the future, first build history.
The Metaverse has a history of the origin of a set of concepts when it preaches to the mainland market. In this set of “Origins of the Metaverse”, which has been repeated by countless articles, the English name of the Metaverse comes from the science fiction novel “Avalanche”, which was shown in the movie “Ready Player One”, and the listing of Roblox means that the concept of the Metaverse has come to the present. key node.
Avalanche depicts a virtual world called the Metaverse that humans enter through “avatars”, a concept that was later appropriated to become the origin of the Metaverse
As a game collection platform, Roblox reduces the threshold for making games by combining the UGC features of sandbox games and a physics engine, so that more ideas can be transformed into games. Before going public, the game company’s imagination mainly came from the combination of sandbox and game development, as well as education and other fields.
Before the listing, various domestic reports gave Roblox the title of online game platform, Lego in the game industry, and even a children’s game company. In a report on Beluga’s going to sea last year, the title was “After 14 years, it still lost hundreds of millions of dollars, why did Roblox go public? “.
Metaverse helps Roblox boost its business imagination. Roblox was the first to include “Metaverse” in its prospectus when it went public in March 2021, quoting its CEO, “The Metaverse is something that science fiction writers and futurists have conceived for over 30 years. Now, Devices with powerful computing power are further popularized, network bandwidth is further improved, and the time to realize Metaverse has become ripe.”
In order to describe the characteristics of the Metaverse, the prospectus also proposes eight characteristics of the Metaverse: identity, friends, immersion, low latency, diversity, anywhere, economic system, and civilization.
Despite this, many reports on the day of the listing did not mention Metaverse. In Tencent Technology-related manuscripts, the prefix of Roblox is still “Lego in the game industry”.
On March 13, bluestacks went to sea in “Roblox, the closest to the Metaverse, with a market value of 40 billion relying on American “primary school students”? “Avalanche-Ready Player One-Roblox”, the classic narrative about the Metaverse: writer Neil Stephenson proposed this concept in the novel “Avalanche”, and the oasis in the movie “Ready Player One” is the closest to the Metaverse. world, and the closest thing in the real world is of course Roblox.
The Oasis in Ready Player One is a world that is relatively close to the Metaverse concept, it has a fairly high level of immersion and identity and an economic system, but is still too centralized and just a game world
Driven by the concept, Roblox’s listed stock price rose sharply, and its market value quickly exceeded $40 billion, 10 times its value a year ago. Under the huge capital snowball, China pays more attention to the concept of the Metaverse.
On March 16, Nanshan Capital released “The Chinese version of Roblox is on the way? “Metaverse” may become a keyword for entertainment investment in 2021″, when talking about the Metaverse, the wording is still very cautious: “Even if the “Metaverse” is compared with any previous “window” in the VC/PE industry, there is nothing significant The difference is enough to convince us that the discussion boom at this time may bring warmth to the relatively “sluggish” entertainment industry in the past few years.”
Who would have thought that this warm feeling quickly became a hot current, and even swept the entire Internet.
In many articles, the path from “Avalanche” to “Ready Player One” to Roblox has been repeatedly strengthened, and a set of historical views about the Metaverse has been established. Until this month, when there was a public account to produce popular science articles about the Metaverse, this narrative was still unavoidable.
But both Roblox and this narrative are the quickest reference objects found in China in order to quickly digest the Metaverse, but this can easily lead to deviations in everyone’s imagination of the Metaverse.
Hu Bin, the founding partner of Ease Capital, felt that Roblox is not an ideal Metaverse form. “Is this thing mainly a collection of small games? It is the most non-Metaverse game concept, although it has an economic system and UGC.” He believes that immersion is the core concept of the Metaverse, and as a PC game platform, the immersion brought by “mini games” in Roblox is no different from any online game.
Despite the primitive picture, Roblox has attracted hundreds of millions of users. When “Squid Game” was broadcast before, the creators of Roblox also created a version of Roblox while it was hot, which once exploded on social platforms.
The eight concepts proposed by Roblox, Chen Yuetian, founder of Fire Phoenix Capital, also disagreed. “Once things need more than three attributes to summarize, it is not essential.” The characteristics of low latency and anywhere login in the eight concepts, In the non-Metaverse internet world, it’s also a necessity.
It was originally the talk of Roblox’s listing, and thus became the enlightenment of the Metaverse in the domestic market, but Chen Yuetian believes that there is a gap in understanding.
“The Metaverse is indeed a big pool, but it doesn’t exist in two places, the first is not in the prospectus as defined by Roblox, and the second is not in the future world imagined by science fiction writers. This imagination may be in the present. Seeing some sort of halfway point between Roblox form and science fiction.”
Out of the Metaverse
On September 6, 2021, Zhongqingbao issued an announcement saying that the company is “in the process of developing the Metaverse game “Brewer Master”.
Zhongqingbao’s daily limit for the next two days, as of the end of 2021, Zhongqingbao’s annual increase of 252.7%.Shortly after the stock price rose, Zhongqingbao announced that its chairman Li Ruijie planned to reduce his holdings by no more than 7,860,411 shares. On January 10, Zhongqingbao announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary would purchase Baode Asset Management Hong Kong Co., Ltd. (to be renamed “Paul Lide Metaverse Digital Platform Co., Ltd.”) held by Li Ruijie at a transaction price of 0 HKD. 51% stake.
The Brewmaster claims to be able to bring the wine that players brew in the game into reality, but this is still far from the Metaverse concept generally accepted in the industry
On the second day, the Shenzhen Stock Exchange issued a letter of concern to Zhongqingbao, asking the company to explain in detail the necessity of the above-mentioned transaction, the reason for the proposed change of the target company’s name to the Metaverse-related name, and whether there were intentional hot spots or gimmicks.
The domestic understanding of Metaverse has not yet been digested, and some companies have begun to use the “concept” of the Metaverse to leverage the market. In this way, the concept of “Metaverse” introduced by Roblox in China has been further constructed into a “Metaverse” with unique Chinese characteristics under the entry of “Zhongqingbao” and other companies.
Books such as “Metaverse” and “Metaverse Token” set (full 2 volumes) were launched quickly and received over 10,000 comments. In “The Absurd Scene of the Metaverse: The First to Make Money Selling Courses”, the investment community tells the story of how a blockchain company transformed itself into an online education company in the Metaverse.
The various crazy behaviors caused by the Metaverse in China have once again inspired the narrative of “cutting leeks” on social platforms. Capital builds utopia, and the masses have their own way of deconstructing utopia. “Don’t TM Metaverse, the first wave of leeks has been cut badly” published by the negative review, listed the leeks cutting postures such as knowledge payment and games.
But whether it is the construction or deconstruction of the Metaverse, it is far from the original meaning of the Metaverse.
When communicating with Poison Eyes, Chen Yuetian often used to regard Metaverse and Metaverse as two distinct concepts, “In fact, although one is called Metaverse and the other is called Metaverse, the perception of entrepreneurs in the entire Chinese market must be far behind that of the United States.”
In April 2021, Nvidia CEO Huang Renxun held a “Metaverse” press conference as a digital human. He was “fake” and the leather jacket was fake.
Overshadowed is a public discussion of the realization stages of the Metaverse and its constituent elements. The essence of the Metaverse is conceptual innovation, but it is also driven by technology. Chen Yuetian believes that technology drives the birth of new media, and only after the birth of new media can new content, business and community be created. In the current discussion of the Metaverse, infrastructure is often overlooked.
At the end of 2019, he once discussed four new technologies: cloud, AI, blockchain and VR/AR, “equivalent to this new medium was finally driven by these four technologies, and now it is summarized as A word called Metaverse.”
The Wei Ling era invested by Chen Yuetian is the cloud service provider of the game “Yuan Shen”
While the idea of a Metaverse emerges, these four technologies do not advance to maturity all at once. In the VR field, Byte acquired Pico, and major Internet companies in the AI and cloud fields have layouts. Although the blockchain is developing rapidly, it is still in a gray area in China, and speculation is frequent.
Even in these four fields, liveliness is owned by a few leading companies. A practitioner of a VR content company told Poison Eyes that the popularity of the Metaverse has little substantial impact on the company. The confusion in the market, in addition to the lack of rational discussion, is also related to the fact that there are not many companies that can fit into the Metaverse.
Although the game industry is more associated with the Metaverse, at ChinaJoy last year, the Metaverse was repeatedly mentioned in the forum, but it was rarely seen in the B to B exhibition area. An industry insider also told Poison Eyes that the game industry is not very enthusiastic about participating in the Metaverse.
Taking this as a standard, Chen Yuetian believes that there are still very few investment targets that conform to the logic of the Metaverse. “Six months ago, I thought it was worth investing in maybe 10 or so, but now there are definitely more than 10.”
Before the Metaverse really hits the ground running, pre-emptive technological attempts are risky. A classic idea of the Metaverse is to compare it to the internet in 1995. Hu Bin mentioned another meaning of this kind of thinking, “I am optimistic that it will happen, which is equivalent to Bill Gates’ “The Road to the Future”, but at that time, if someone did e-commerce, they would definitely die.”
Between the underlying technology and the Metaverse vision, there are some intermediate forms of products. For example, the digital human IP that borrows the concept of the Metaverse is popular. The short video released by Douyin account Liu Yexi at the end of October, with the tag of Metaverse, has over 100 million views, making Liu Yexi and Metaverse in a win-win situation.
To a certain extent, Liu Yexi’s video has once again promoted the enthusiasm for discussing the Metaverse in China
Chuangyi Technology, the company behind Liu Yexi, was founded in 2018 and entered the short video track, but CEO Liang Zikang quickly discovered the ceiling of short video MCN, and found a way to break the game, “In order to become an IP that can generate breaking circles We have found many paths, one of which is the virtual human of the Metaverse.”
In fact, digital humans are one of the product forms in which technology has landed in the Metaverse. Chen Yuetian believes that the digital human is a comprehensive product that combines cloud, AI, and VR/AR, and is one of the important components in the Metaverse.
Liang Zikang believes that a person may have several digital identities in the Metaverse, and the emotional connection brought by the digital identity determines which Metaverse people will enter. However, Liang Zikang also told Poison Eyes that Liu Yexi does not yet meet all the standards of the Metaverse, but things are still at the stage of development.
Although there is no domestic company that perfectly meets the standards of the Metaverse, Hu Bin believes that the concept of the Metaverse is very communicative. Alive.”
Under the connection of concepts, many entrepreneurial projects are worth watching again under the logic of the Metaverse, “If everyone talks about the name, everyone will not read the name, but if you say that the Metaverse has to look at it, it will be revitalized again. another wave of excitement.”
“So after the Metaverse comes out this year, we will watch a little more entertainment projects?” During the exchange, Poison Eyes asked.
“Yes, the words are well used, aptly, ‘look a little more’.”
Disciple in Parallel Universe
On the first day after the long holiday in October, Wang Ran, the founding partner of Yikai Capital, published a long article of nearly 20,000 words in the circle of friends. At the beginning, he mentioned: In just a few months, the three words of Metaverse are almost “bad street”. .
Wang Ran continued to be optimistic about the prospect of the Metaverse, he mentioned in the article, “If there is anything in the next five to ten years that can disrupt the global entertainment industry like Tesla has disrupted the global auto industry, I think it is ‘Metaverse + VR’. +NFT’ this combination.”
Among the chicken feathers of the Metaverse, the domestic market also needs new stimulation. And it was Zuckerberg and his Facebook that really made the Metaverse concept hot again in the mainland market.
In the early morning of October 29, Facebook announced on Thursday (October 28) that it would change the company name to “Meta”.
At the conference, Zuckerberg put forward the concept of Metaverse in his eyes, participation (Presence), virtual image (Avatars), personal space (Home space), teleporting (Teleporting), interoperability (Interoperability), privacy security ( Privacy and safety), Virtual goods, Natural interfaces.
Facebook, which started out through social software, is the catalyst of the past. But now, the old-fashioned Facebook is losing young users. According to a study by Pickup Data Center, the proportion of 13-17-year-olds using Facebook is decreasing year by year, replaced by more trendy software such as Snapchat and Instagram.
Losing young people, Facebook may lose its dominance of social software in 10 or 20 years. Facebook needs the future.Instead of writing the concept into the prospectus like Roblox, it is better to engrave the Metaverse on the forehead and announce it to the world, and “Meta” was born.
After changing its name to Meta, Facebook and its founder Xiao Zha made their appearances in various hot news, and Facebook’s stock price also ushered in a slight rebound after two months of greening.
In front of the media and the public, Xiao Zha vowed that the Metaverse is the future, and that in just 5 years, people will no longer regard Facebook as a mobile Internet company, but as a Metaverse company.
Although there are many doubts from the outside world, Chen Yuetian believes that the transformation of meta is based on the foundation of Metaverse, “Metaverse has been fermenting in the North American venture capital circle for more than a year. After a long period of consideration and software and hardware reserves, the transformation is natural at this time. What happened, rather than a staged leap-type change, even if this kind of leap-type change occurs in China, the cognition still hasn’t arrived.”
Facebook may not be a hothead. As early as 2014, Facebook acquired the VR company Oculus for $2 billion, and VR hardware is also regarded as an important entrance to the Metaverse. Data from early last year showed that Meta’s Oculus Quest 2 has become the most popular headset on the market, outselling Sony’s PSVR and Byte’s Pico.
The entry of Meta has once again stimulated the enthusiasm of the mainland market and various media for the Metaverse. For example, as an account hobbyist for all kinds of knowledge popularization, I took this as an opportunity to release “What is the Metaverse?” Change Facebook’s name? “, in the form of comics, to popularize the Metaverse to the people who don’t know the truth, and the most liked comment is “This is the number one player”.
Shortly after Meta changed its name, it launched its first Metaverse product – VR social platform Horizon Worlds
For a time, domestic related Metaverse concept stocks rose on the news, and the capital market responded to all this with great enthusiasm.
The popularity of the Metaverse has also caused cognitive anxiety, and some companies that have no substantial relationship with the Metaverse have also squatted on the Metaverse trademark. Even Luo Yonghao expressed his concern for the Metaverse. He reposted Shaan Puri’s view of the Metaverse, saying, “Everyone’s view of the Metaverse is wrong. The Metaverse is not a space, but a time. It is a digital life than physics. Life’s more important singularity.”
But when Meta entered the game, it was the major domestic manufacturers that touched the most. After all, Meta and Roblox aren’t the only ones who want to make the universe.
At the end of 2020, Tencent CEO Ma Huateng proposed the concept of the so-called true Internet to describe the next outlet. However, this concept, which now seems to be quite similar to the Metaverse, is only spread in Tencent-related news , is not widely recognized.
According to a report from the Internet Jianghu, a friend who used to work at Tencent talked to his old colleagues after seeing Quanzhen Internet, “but it seems that Tencent does not seem to know this concept very well.”
In May, Ma Xiaoyi, senior vice president of Tencent Group, said that the Metaverse “is actually a subset of the ‘super digital scene’ (a concept proposed by Tencent in the gaming field).” But this set of efforts to incorporate the Metaverse into Tencent’s self-made concept only exists in Tencent’s own discourse system.
At the third quarter earnings conference, Ma Huateng responded positively to the topic of the Metaverse for the first time, “The Metaverse is an exciting topic, I believe that Tencent has a lot of technologies and capabilities to explore and develop the Metaverse, such as in games, social media and artificial intelligence. We all have rich experience in intelligence-related fields.”
Big factory CEOs still add their own footnotes to the Metaverse. When Ma Huateng specifically explained the Metaverse, he mentioned the combination of virtual and real. “To make the virtual world more real, and to make the real world more virtual experience, this is a fusion direction, and it is also a major direction of Tencent.”
After November, at the financial reports of major companies, Dachang executives further clarified their views on the Metaverse. NetEase CEO Ding Lei said, “NetEase is well-prepared in terms of Metaverse-related technologies and rules. We believe that on the day the Metaverse really comes, NetEase has the ability to quickly run away.”
When NetEase Cloud Music was split and listed in December this year, Ding Lei and his two digital clones rang the bell together. If you pay attention to NetEase’s business, you will find that NetEase has spent a lot of effort in training its AI virtual human anchors, and has invested in a number of innovative companies in the virtual human field. The “Metaverse Listing” ceremony, like a free advertisement, exposed NetEase’s virtual human business.
Ma Jie, vice president of Baidu, said that Baidu’s accumulation of products and technologies related to the Metaverse is mainly concentrated in the fields of AI, cloud computing and VR. And this is the field that Baidu has invested heavily in a few years ago.
The Metaverse is a brick, where it needs to be moved. The pragmatic attitude of domestic manufacturers may reflect the role of the Metaverse in the present. Most of the grand concepts created by the big manufacturers in recent years are circulated internally. Now the Metaverse has become a resource that can be used, interpreted and reshaped. the concept of.
Ships, Metaverse and Colonies
On November 12, an article titled “Liu Cixin Angrily Criticizes the Metaverse: “The Metaverse Will Lead Humanity to a Dead End” circulated on the Internet. In the words of Liu Cixin, the article mentioned, “The future of human beings is either to go to interstellar civilization, or to indulge in the virtual world of VR all the year round. If human beings realize a highly realistic VR world before going to space civilization, this will be a great opportunity. disaster.”
Although the follow-up Liu Cixin’s confirmation and feedback on this point of view is lacking, this article provides a third dimension of criticism for the opponents of the Metaverse. In addition to the criticism of creating market bubbles and cutting leeks, they believe that the development of the Metaverse is not A divergence in the development of civilization.
This is also related to the current confusion about the Metaverse on the market. In Chen Yuetian’s view, talking about VR and games in the Metaverse is actually a narrowing of its concept. In addition to entertainment, there are actually many possibilities in the Metaverse, “There are many existing ways to organize everyone’s production and labor. , in fact, it will be changed.”
In fact, the game platform Com2us has developed an office platform that can work online
But this debate is still meaningful, that is, to socialize the concept of the Metaverse and conduct conceptual analysis outside the logic of the market. The Metaverse does not happen in a vacuum. For example, Matthew Bal, a venture capitalist who has studied the Metaverse for a long time, mentioned that the Metaverse will be operated in a decentralized manner by many different players, not owned by a single company. This decentralization concept will undoubtedly cause changes at the social level.
But a senior executive of a big factory also told Poison Eyes that the Metaverse is unlikely to be a completely decentralized world. It seems very pragmatic and wise for big manufacturers to avoid talking about “decentralization”. After all, this world is a centralized world. During the birth of the Internet, it also experienced a decentralized utopia and a re-centralized reality.
That being the case, a new dimension should be introduced. As early as October 30, the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations released “Metaverse and National Security” on its official account, which included the meaning of the Metaverse in the field of national security, technological hegemony, technological security and technological change. Dimension, and finally concluded, “These national security implications make the development of the Metaverse need to match the necessary supervision and guidance.”
Politicizing the concept of the Metaverse also means the application of some cognitive frameworks in the past in the field of the Metaverse. On December 28, Observer.com published “The Metaverse is a Western Colony”. When discussing the Metaverse, it was mentioned that the Metaverse is a colony concept, whether it is Musk, who is obsessed with Mars, or the one who advocates the Metaverse. Zuckerberg is all about finding colonies to resolve internal conflicts.
But China is not. “We agree that it is a new space, but it is an integral part of our entire social space, and we still have to govern it from the standpoint of fairness, democracy, and common prosperity.”
On November 20, Xinhua News Agency released “What is the Metaverse? Why pay attention to it? “, in addition to popularizing the Metaverse, he deliberately discussed at the social level, “We need to be alert to issues such as capital kidnapping, ethical risks, and gaps in legislative supervision.”
Once the Metaverse begins to enter the mainstream, it also needs to be disciplined and reshaped by the mainstream to a certain extent. An entrepreneur told Poison Eyes that there may not only be a Metaverse in the future, but “we want to create a Huaxia Metaverse.”
At the end of 2021, the magic of the Metaverse seems to be gradually disappearing, and the concept of web 3.0, which also originated in Silicon Valley, is gradually becoming popular. Pinwan said in an article “Web 3 Full Interpretation: The Metaverse is on the side, and now the technology giants are most concerned about it”, “Web 3 will be an era that will not depend on any central organization and is completely controlled by users. Its arrival will completely break the monopoly of the current technology giants, rewrite the current way of operation of the digital economy, and trigger a lot of bottom-up innovation.”
It sounds like web 3.0 still lacks the sexiness of the Metaverse. However, such predictions and descriptions of the future will definitely need to be re-examined and reconstructed by various domestic concepts. They must also preach on the foundation of the Metaverse and clarify the relationship between the origin and the current. It appears that the Metaverse is a ring universe.
Borges, in The Theologian, speaks of the twelfth book of the Citizens of God, and the “ring” faction of religion, proclaiming that history is a circle and that everything that has happened in the past will happen in the future,” the book says It was Plato who preached in Athens and declared that after many centuries everything would be the same again, and he would preach it again in Athens to the same audience.”
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