The hot Metaverse: a trap or a pie?

An Amazon butterfly flapping its wings occasionally may trigger a big storm on the other side of the Pacific Ocean; and the rebranding of the technology giant Facebook Meta to metaverse, it has set off a double shock in the technology field and the capital market.

On October 28, Facebook, the world’s largest social software platform, announced that it would change its company name to “Meta”, which is the prefix of Metaverse Metaverse, as well as the company’s logo. In this regard, the founder Zuckerberg said that Metaverse will be the next frontier. From now on, Metaverse will be given priority instead of Facebook. It is hoped that within the next ten years, Metaverse will cover 1 billion people and carry thousands of people. Billion-dollar digital business.

Facebook is not alone in the exploration of Metaverse. In fact, domestic technology companies are already eager to try. For example, Tencent put forward the concept of “True Internet”, ByteDance acquired VR hardware company PICO and so on.

The A-share market has also heard the wind. The meta universe concept stocks headed by Zhongqingbao (300052.SZ) have recently shown a smooth upside market, and related targets have also been investigated by institutions. Among them, GoerTek shares ( 002241.SZ) received 429 surveys from 429 institutions within one week (October 25th-October 31st).

However, just under the great fire of the meta universe, how many people know the true meaning of the meta universe? Why are the tech giants scrambling to lay out? If Metaverse really develops, which fields will it bring investment opportunities? In other words, which segments will benefit first?

Under the divergent opinions, what is the meta universe?

Zhou Zhiyi, a researcher of the Boshi Fund Industry Research Department, said in an interview with a reporter from Economic Observer that Metaverse is actually a relatively broad concept that covers most of the previously familiar fields, such as games, VR, AR technology or It is hardware, and AI, etc., all belong to the whole big meta-universe framework.

The Chen Xiao team of Guotai Junan believes that Metaverse can be divided into a broad sense and a narrow sense. Broadly speaking, the meta universe is a concept that lacks clear definition and is imaginative. Its general meaning is a virtual world parallel to the real world. Users enter the virtual world through terminal devices to perform most of the activities similar to the real world.

In a narrow sense, Meta Universe is a brand-new ecology based on next-generation network technology. Behind the development of mobile Internet, the advancement of 3G/4G communication technology, the advent of iOS and Android operating systems, and the popularization of smart terminals are the main driving forces. Products of the mobile era such as instant messaging, mobile games, content communities, and short videos are gradually replacing MSN. , Web games, BBS forums and other PC era applications. Metaverse is similar to the mobile Internet. Its development needs to be supported by 5G/6G networks, cloud computing, edge computing and other infrastructures. It uses wearable devices, brain-computer interfaces and other terminal devices as interfaces to reach consumers, and through blockchain The iterative upgrade of technology and AI technology improves the ecosystem, and a large number of emerging applications are expected to achieve exponential growth.

For Metaverse, Cao Yuan, vice chairman of the Hainan Blockchain Association and co-founder and director of Probe Group, has a more unique understanding. He told a reporter from the Economic Observation Network, “There are currently different opinions on the interpretation of the meta universe, or we can explain it from another dimension, so as to better understand .” He believes that the meta-universe is actually a specific form of “digital existence”, because as early as 1996, Nicolas Negroponte’s best-selling book “Digital Survival” described many scenes after the human society entered digitalization. But at the time, there was no clear outline of what these scenes were connected to; 25 years later, the metaverse gave the answer.

Cao Yuan pointed out that the meta-universe constructs the essential elements for digital survival, just like the standard model of particles that constitute the universe. Among the essential elements of the meta-universe, the first category is interactive devices, which digitize the physical world, including current human-computer interactive devices, IoT devices, network devices (5G), VR\AR, etc., data generated by interactive devices A bit like the role of fermions, which is the basic element that constitutes the meta-universe; the second type of mechanisms that generate relationships between data, such as digital identities, digital relationships, smart contracts, etc., can allow data to transfer information to each other, and to data Combine to form usable elements, more like bosons in the universe.

“In fact, there is another kind of mechanism that goes beyond the meta-universe itself, but all elements in the meta-universe need to comply with it. For example, the laws and regulations of the physical world, religious ethics, etc., will still affect the operation of the elements in the meta-universe. These’extraterritorial’ relationships , A bit like the Higgs boson (Higgs field) in the universe. In short, the meta-universe is a “universe” constructed by humans in the digital world, but it is not completely parallel to the real world, but more like A new world spawned,” Cao Yuan told reporters.

Cao Yuan further pointed out that there are actually some misunderstandings in the current market interpretation of the meta-universe. There are three main ones. ” First, is the meta-universe equivalent to some large-scale open games now? Of course not, the fundamental of meta-universe and games? The difference is that the rules of identity and assets of the meta-universe are universal, rather than only used in a certain game. Second, the meta-universe is a digital twin? A digital twin only digitizes things in the physical world and only creates the meta-universe. “Fermions”, its rules still follow the rules of the physical world. Third, the meta-universe is a virtual world? The virtual world creates a world in the digital world where you can define rules at will. It has nothing to do with the real world; it only creates The boson in the meta-universe lacks interaction with the real world”.

And Jia Mingzhi, a researcher at an investment institution in Shenzhen, pointed out in a telephone interview with reporters, “According to the definition of Roblox , the first stock of Metaverse , a true Metaverse should have identity, friends, immersion, low latency, diversification, The eight characteristics of everywhere, economic system, civilization, etc., have actually drawn a clear outline of the meta-universe. Of course, the meta-universe, as a new concept, is profoundly changing the development of the digital economy by connecting the physical world and the digital world. There will be differences, and there must be consensus for development. Therefore, it is understandable that there are certain differences and consensus in the understanding of the metaverse in the market, and it is also a phenomenon that must exist in the early stage of development.”

Why do technology giants deploy meta-universe one after another?

How did the concept of meta universe become popular? Zhou Zhiyi told reporters that this actually started from the U.S. stock market, “At the beginning of this year, a company related to Metaverse went public in the US market. At that time, the concept of Metaverse was put forward and recognized by many investment institutions. Because some domestic companies There is some connection with it, so as time goes by, the A-share market has gradually begun to pay attention to this concept, and now it is superimposed on Facebook’s name change and other factors, so it suddenly became popular.”

The US-listed Meta Universe listed company mentioned in Zhou Zhiyi’s mouth refers to Roblox, the first stock of the Meta Universe concept. In March 2021, Roblox successfully went public and grew into the world’s largest online game creation platform, thus igniting the global pursuit of the meta-universe concept. With the continuous penetration of the meta-universe concept, major manufacturers such as Facebook, Google, Huawei, and Tencent have actively deployed meta-universe in terms of infrastructure, games, content, and social platforms.

On October 28, Facebook held its annual Connect conference, announcing that the company officially changed its name to Meta, and the company’s stock code will be changed to MVRS from December 1 to realize the transformation from a social media platform to a meta-universe ecosystem. At this conference, Facebook said that it will divide the company’s business into two parts: Family of Apps and Reality Labs; and plans to increase Reality Labs’ research and development expenses this year to 10 billion U.S. dollars, and In the near future, 10,000 Metaverse-related jobs will be established in Europe.

In fact, Facebook’s strong advancement into the meta-universe field is not a whim. In an interview with the media in July this year, its CEO Zuckerberg made it clear that he hopes to transform Facebook from a social media network into a meta-universe company in the next five years. .

In fact, since 2020, technology giants including Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Huawei, Tencent, ByteDance, HTC, Nvidia, etc. have all launched explorations in the field of meta-universe, such as Huawei’s release based on virtual reality For Huawei’s “River Map” engine, Tencent put forward the concept of “True Internet”, Mihayou invested in “Social Meta-Universe” SOUL, and ByteDance acquired VR hardware company PICO and so on.

According to the information on the industrial and commercial information query platform, as many as 408 domestic companies related to “Meta Universe” have been registered in China in the past year; in addition, NetEase has applied for registration of “NetEase Yuan Universe”, “Leihuo Yuan Universe”, and “Fuxi Yuan”. “Universe” and other trademarks, and Baidu has also applied for the registration of the “metaapp” trademark and so on.

While Meta Universe is still in its initial stage of development, technology companies have rushed into the market. Is this to follow the trend and speculate, or is it really optimistic about the development prospects of Meta Universe to contribute to it? In other words, what are the reasons that prompted these technology giants to lay out the meta-universe field one after another?

In this regard, Cao Yuan said: “Facebook’s change of name to embrace Metaverse seems to be nothing more than the company’s own business, but it reveals that the industry is aware of the value of Metaverse. This is of great significance. Because in the long run, Metaverse and Metaverse The value generated by the union of the physical world in the future will be a hundred and thousand times that of the current physical world.”

Cao Yuan said that the basic principle is that the meta universe can use less energy to transmit more energy and information. The universe is the interaction of energy and information. The existence of information entropy requires energy to be used in order to use information. The essence of the leap of human civilization is also how to transmit more energy and information with less energy. For example, the horse’s food energy conversion rate is 10%-20%. Most of the energy is used in the life-sustaining system, and the energy conversion rate that can undertake transportation may be less than 1%. The thermal efficiency of the steam engine has been increased to 20%, and that of the gasoline engine has been increased to 40%. These three energy efficiencies represent the three stages of human civilization: agricultural civilization, the first industrial revolution, and the second industrial revolution.

In the meta-universe, after digitization, its use of information and the energy to transmit information have dropped drastically. For example, in the telemedicine scenario, the existing telemedicine is an agreement between two medical institutions, which requires a lot of energy and time to negotiate and match. However, in Metaverse, the global doctor identity is a system, service standards follow a set of agreements, and the payment for service completion is also a mutually recognized currency agreement, which can quickly handle global telemedicine.

And the greater value of the meta universe comes from the original value of the meta universe. In Metaverse, based on the convenient flow of data, the maturity of the privacy protection mechanism, and the perfection of the digital asset transaction mechanism, a large number of original information will be created, which is reflected in the output of a large amount of UGC and PGC content on the product. Its creative power and content transaction speed far exceed the Internet era, and human ingenuity can be produced and transformed into value faster.

Jia Mingzhi pointed out that although Metaverse is still in its early stages, according to the user data of Roblox, the first stock of Metaverse, it has attracted more than 43 million daily active users as of June this year, and has shown continuous and rapid growth. Momentum, which reflects the market’s continued acceptance and recognition of Meta Universe. At the same time, the latest data from Bloomberg Intelligence shows that the global meta-universe market is expected to reach 800 billion US dollars in 2024, which means that the compound annual growth rate will reach 13.1%. A clear development path and a broad market space are the main motivations for large companies to lay out the meta-universe in advance.

“In recent years, the successive layouts of Metaverse by leading companies have actually marked that Metaverse has become the new consensus of global technology giants on the development trend of the Internet. Then, whoever takes the lead to become the super giant of Metaverse will be able to compete in the next generation of Internet. China has a strong voice and an advantageous position in the industrial chain,” said Jia Mingzhi.

When Meta Universe goes out of the circle, which areas will be the first to benefit?

The technology giants are overweight and the development prospects are attractive. It is indeed a matter of course for the meta universe to go out of the circle. As a barometer of the economy, the A-share market has also set off a popular meta universe craze recently: led by Zhongqingbao (300052.SZ) The concept stocks of Meta Universe recently showed a smooth upswing, and related targets have also been investigated by institutions. Among them, Goertek (002241.SZ) was even within a week (October 25-October 31). ) Received surveys from 429 institutions.

Standing at the moment, investors are more concerned. Since Metaverse is the general trend in the future, which segments will benefit first? In other words, what investment opportunities will Meta Universe’s outings bring?

In this regard, Tonglian Data senior industry research expert Wang Min said in an interview with reporters that in the Internet era, Facebook establishes a connection between people through social networking sites. The next era will be supported by basic technologies such as 5G, AI, and hardware products. Revolutionary changes will take place. Through VR/AR equipment, connections will be established in the virtual world, and the dimension will not be limited to communication. In the future, Metaverse will migrate various scenes of the real world to the virtual world, which will be the entire TMT industry. Great opportunity.

Wang Min emphasized that the investment opportunities brought by this wave of metauniverse are not limited to the network infrastructure supporting the development of metauniverse (including 5G/6G networks, cloud computing, edge computing, etc.), but also widely include computer vision and machines. AI industries such as learning and NLP; electronic game industries such as game engines, game production and distribution; industries that support interaction such as sensing, brain-computer interaction, MR/AR/VR, and blockchain industries that support virtual world credit systems, etc. . Even with the application of related industries in meta-universe scenarios, it will bring a wide range of upgrade opportunities in various industries similar to Internet+.

The Hu Jian team of Guosen Securities believes that immersive experience is one of the basic characteristics of Metaverse, and VR/AR devices are necessary hardware to support immersive experience. Therefore, the development of Metaverse requires the support of VR/AR hardware. Just as the transition from the PC as the main Internet terminal to the mobile phone, it will now also be the transition from the mobile phone to the VR/AR device. The development of Metaverse is inseparable from the support of VR/AR hardware. In the future, the application field of VR/AR will not be limited to a certain field, but will be widely used in games, social networking, office, media and other scenarios.

Jia Mingzhi emphasized that “meta universe is hot, games go first.” He said that on the day that Facebook changed its name, it actually revealed that the company will conduct a comprehensive layout of Metaverse from three levels of hardware, application, and content. In terms of game content, the company, as an upstream hardware provider, will continue to develop and develop high-quality games. Cooperation with vendors to build a VR/AR hardware ecosystem with a rich content matrix. On the one hand, the company will cooperate with Vertigo Games, the developer of “Arizona Sunshine”, to develop 5 new VR native games; on the other hand, classic games on the PC/host side will also be “VRized”, further building on the existing high-quality content. Increase immersion.

“From here we can see how much Facebook attaches importance to game content in the process of transforming the meta-universe. In fact, as the most immersive form of entertainment, games are the closest to the features of the meta-universe in terms of product form. , It can be called the entry-level application of Metaverse. Therefore, from the perspective of the beneficiaries, the game field will become the first sector to benefit from the Metaverse era,” said Jia Mingzhi.

Datayes! Relevant data shows that there are currently 31 stocks in the A-share market that involve the concept of Metaverse, with a total market value of about 249.9 billion yuan, but the net profit attributable to the parent is only about 17.34 billion yuan. Among these 31 stocks, there are P/E ratios below 20 times, such as Century Huatong (002602.SZ), Hisense Video (600060.SH), etc.; there are also P/E ratios above 100 times, such as Wanxing Technology (300624.SZ). SZ), etc.; more performance losses, such as Jebsen (300182.SZ), etc., have mixed good and bad.

In this regard, Jia Mingzhi emphasized that although the prospects of Metaverse are very attractive, it is a big investment cycle; it will take a long time to realize from the rise of the current Metaverse concept to the actual penetration of the scenes of production and life. . Moreover, the initial products of Metaverse are often controversial, which leads to strong uncertainty in the performance of related listed companies; “The concept of Metaverse is indeed very full, but the process may be very skinny; who is the last among the current batch of Metaverse concept stocks? To be able to run out, there is a lot of uncertainty; therefore, investors need to be cautious.”

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