There are not enough games, marketing is making up, how can bytes continue to “beat” in the Metaverse?

Pico advertising spared no effort, Zhang Yiming wanted to steal Xiaozha’s business.

There are not enough games, marketing is making up, how can bytes continue to "beat" in the Metaverse?

“Core Tips”

The epidemic is at home, not only the “Liu Genghong girl”, but also the Pico VR all-in-one machine. Open Douyin, Xiaohongshu, and Station B, whether it is a celebrity or a top blogger, almost all of them use Pico to dance, exercise, and play games. ByteDance intends to replicate Facebook’s success in VR after spending heavily to acquire Pico last year.However, can you dominate the virtual world just by dancing and fitness? 

With the repeated epidemics, the trend of home entertainment has made a comeback. In addition to “Liu Genghong Girl” setting off a trend of home fitness on social media, ByteDance’s Pico VR all-in-one machine has also become a “favorite” for many people.

This year’s 618, Zhou Siyu, who just got paid, went to the offline store to experience the grass planted by the Internet celebrity, and then quickly started to buy one. She said to “Leopard Change”: “I really like the six-in-one sports in Pico, and the amount of activities is enough. It’s big, it’s fun, and it makes you sweat every time.”

Byte insiders told Leopard Change: “Recently, Pico has made great strides in marketing .” Open Douyin, Xiaohongshu, and Station B, the top bloggers seem to have a Pico in hand, focusing on “fitness, Games” and other functions share their own experience. At present, the Douyin topic “Play VR to choose Pico” has been played 940 million times.

For technology giants such as ByteDance and Meta, virtual reality also means huge commercial value.

Data database Statista predicts that the global VR/AR market will exceed $12.1 billion in 2024. In January 2021, Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be renamed Meta, which directly showed his optimism and yearning for the Metaverse.Zhang Yiming also said in his resignation letter last year that he should focus on virtual reality.

ByteDance’s marketing efforts on Pico are a testament to how seriously it takes VR. Oculus acquired by Facebook has become a leader in overseas VR. Can Byte copy Facebook and become a domestic VR leader?

“Pico chase, I can’t fly”

After being acquired by Byte, Pico appears to be a bit “rich”, and promotion is everywhere.

“Grandma stop emo, I’ll show you the fun that our young people are playing now.” In the video, Grandma Tian, ​​who was crying because her grandfather was hospitalized in the first second, was wearing a Pico and waving the handle the next second.” Left hook, right hook”, immersed in the game of boxing.

On June 7, “I’m Tianmao”, who has more than 30 million followers, posted this short video on Douyin under the topic of “playing Pico not emo”. The top message in the comment area is the link to buy Pico Neo 3.

“Playing Pico without emo” is a 618 event of Douyin and Pico. Posting videos with topics will receive exclusive traffic support from Pico. In the example video, in addition to the video of Grandma Tian playing boxing, there are also tear-jerking videos such as “A little girl uses VR to draw a deceased mother.”

The marketing of Pico’s co-stars and Internet celebrities has lasted for half a year.

During the Spring Festival this year, Pico began to invite celebrities to experience “Fancy VR for the Spring Festival”. For example, the host Yang Di gave her mother a Pico Neo3 as a New Year gift. After Yang Di’s mother played it, she was immersed in the VR world and couldn’t extricate herself.

Even in variety shows, Pico is often seen. In “Ace Vs Ace 7”, the guests experienced the VR painting function. Jia Ling wore a Pico and called out “the beautiful scenery of the West Lake is all under the eyes”. The second season of “Praise for the Song” also featured Pico’s custom VR stage, allowing audiences to have an immersive Livehouse experience.

When this year’s 520, Pico planned a “VR romantic escape plan” on Douyin, and brushed a wave of presence in front of users.

In the first half of this year, from celebrities, top celebrities to waist bloggers, all of them “just” arrived at the “rice” of Pico. The ubiquitous “Amway” directly drove the growth of sales. According to official data, the sales volume of Pico’s omni-channel Spring Festival increased by 32 times year-on-year, and the turnover increased by 29 times compared with last year’s Spring Festival.

With the start of the first wave of 618 activities, the price of less than 2,000 yuan after the Pico discount also drove many users to place orders. According to data from the Cicada Mama platform, on May 23, the average live broadcast sales of Pico’s official brand flagship store was only 107,000 yuan.

Zhou Siyu, who was “lost” in the overwhelming marketing, smiled helplessly and said, “I run away, Pico chases, I can’t fly.”

In addition to online business, Pico is also developing offline channels. At present, there are 213 offline authorized stores in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Chongqing and other cities. There are 43 offline dealers in Beijing.

In February this year, Pico opened its first direct-sale flagship store in China on Changyingtian Street, Longhu, Beijing. The experience store with dozens of square meters is roughly divided into four parts. The middle is the display table of Pico products. One area is mainly for customers who experience games, and the other side is divided into three small compartments for customers who experience movies and videos. The slightly larger green screen room is mainly used for recording game videos and so on. 

“Leopard Change” found that during the Dragon Boat Festival, the paid VR eggshell seats in Longhu Changyingtian Street were almost unattended, while the Pico flagship store was very lively. The salesperson said: “There are quite a lot of people who have come to experience recently, and sometimes they are a bit busy.” 

A user who just finished consumption told “Leopard Change” that he originally planned to go shopping in the supermarket to buy something, but he felt very novel when he passed by the experience store.

However, some people are disgusted with over-marketing, and think that things that are very windy need to be started with caution. For example, Xiao Gao, a post-00s gamer, was a little moved by Pico’s overwhelming publicity, but after careful strategy, she finally chose to buy Facebook’s all-in-one VR Oculus Quest 2.

Xiaogao told “Leopard Change”: “I feel that the content ecology of Quest2 is better, but the network is more troublesome, so I directly placed an order on Taobao for the activation version.”

Games are not enough, video and social networking come together

In terms of hardware parameters, Pico neo3 has been upgraded in all directions against the Oculus Quest2. Pico’s foundry, Goertek, is also a supplier of VR brands such as Sony and Oculus, so Pico is even comparable to Quest2 in terms of hardware.

The hardware configuration determines whether users can pay after the experience, and the content ecology is the foundation of retaining users.

Li Lian is an in-depth game lover. He spends several thousand yuan every year on buying games. As early as 2016, when the Sony VR headset was released, he started with one, and he is still eating ashes at home.

He told “Leopard Change”: “Because the VR headsets a few years ago were cumbersome and had to be plugged in a lot of cables to play. I am waiting for the release of PS VR 2, and I should buy another one at that time, after all, PS VR2 is connected to PS5. Yes, the game has a trophy system for the PS platform.”

For VR headsets, the most mainstream application scenario is games. But Byte itself has insufficient game genes, and it seems difficult to harvest users with VR games. Compared with the lively marketing on social platforms, there is very little news about Pico on the gaming site.

Every night, Li Lian habitually opens the game website to browse game information, but he has never swiped Pico’s news on the game website. The “Leopard Change” search found that there is no evaluation or information about Pico Neo3 on game websites such as Jinu.com and GameTime.com.

At present, there are more than 130 games in Pico’s application store, including sports simulation, action design, adventure puzzle, multiplayer online and other types, and maintain the update rate of 1 to 2 games per week.

However, there are few benchmark works that Pico can arouse the interest of deep game lovers. The TOP-level medium-to-heavy VR game “Half-Life: Alyx” is only sold on the Steam platform, the VR version of the masterpiece “Resident Evil 4” only supports the Quest 2 headset, and the casual game “Rhythm Lightsaber” is also exclusive to Oculus.

The threshold for VR game development is high, and the development of “killer” games has not been realized in a short period of time. It is difficult to introduce game masterpieces, resulting in a large gap between Pico and the more mature Oculus and Steam VR platforms abroad. 

The quality and quantity of games on Pico are not enough to attract deep gaming users. On the other hand, in terms of gaming experience, Pico doesn’t do enough.

Cong Cong, an agent of a digital video game in Beijing, told Leopard Change: “Although the hardware parameters are similar, Oculus not only has rich game content, but also has much better positioning technology than Pico.”

After comparing Quest2 and Pico, Cong Cong said: “Playing VR games that require high positioning capabilities, you can immediately experience how bad the positioning delay and tracking compensation of Pico are, and even the Oculus rift cv1 in 2016 can hang it. . This year, Pico Neo 3 has been optimized and upgraded, and the positioning stability has been improved a lot from the beginning, but there is still a big gap compared to Quest 2.”

Perhaps knowing that the game is very difficult to play, Pico has taken a different approach to focus on lightweight, low-threshold game content, develop more diverse content services, and vigorously develop video, social and other functions.

After Byte acquired Pico, it provided more possibilities for its content ecology. According to “LatePost”, the head of Watermelon Video, Ren Lifeng, the head of Douyin’s variety show Song Binghua, and Douyin’s entertainment director Wu Zuomin were all transferred to the VR team. Byte insiders also told “Leopard Change” that many of Pico’s current staff are from the Douyin team.

Video and movie viewing are one of the application scenarios that Pico focuses on promoting.

Using VR to brush Douyin is also a unique function of Pico, but many users think that this function is a little tasteless. As Xiao Gao said: “The characteristics of short videos themselves are that they are fragmented and can be played anytime, anywhere. Is it a bit ‘killing chickens with a knife’ to use VR to play Douyin?”

In addition, under the premise that the number of users has not formed a certain scale, it is also a problem whether Pico’s social function can retain users. For example, Pico’s multi-player theater function simulates a movie theater. As a homeowner, users can invite friends to share the theater and watch movies together remotely. The premise must be that the homeowner and the homeowner’s friends have a Pico. But with the gradual opening of offline cinemas, how many people are willing to use this function?

However, it is worth mentioning that the online concert of Xicheng Boys “breaks the circle” for the first time. Later, Luo Dayou and Stefanie Sun represented the video account and Douyin account and competed in secret. There was also Zheng Jun’s “We Are” VR concert in Pico. Quietly test the waters. Compared with watching live concerts on 2D screens such as mobile phones and computers, VR is slightly better in terms of visual effects and immersive experience. According to people familiar with the matter, Zheng Jun’s VR concert has been effective, and Byte is planning the next VR concert.

After Zhou Siyu bought Pico, the enthusiasm did not last long, she told “Leopard Change”: “Pico bought it and played it a few times at home, and found that the game it gave was a bit boring. . Now it has been given to my dad as ‘Old Man Le’.”

VR track, the war is not extinguished

In the past ten years, the craze of virtual reality has risen and fallen, and the concept of “VR” has been brought up again every once in a while.

In 2012, sci-fi fan Palmer Rocky used a crowdfunding site to raise money for his VR headset, the Oculus Rift. The VR headset, which is claimed to “may change the way people play games in the future”, seems to make the sci-fi world in “The Matrix” a reality, and it also makes the business world realize the possibility of consumer VR for the first time. In 2014, Oculus Rift was acquired by Facebook for $2 billion, and the VR industry made waves again, and many people call this year “the first year of VR”.

After 2015, Google, Samsung, HTC, Sony, etc. entered the VR track one after another, but due to the immature hardware and content ecology, the popularity of VR has always been far away. Until 2021, when sales of the next-generation head-mounted display “Oculus Quest 2” surge, the industry will not truly see the light of day.

In January 2021, Facebook CEO Zuckerberg held an online press conference, officially announcing that Facebook would be renamed Meta, which means Metaverse. Zuckerberg believes that if you want to avoid becoming a vassal of Google and Apple, you must have your own hardware platform and system.

When Oculus was first acquired by Facebook, it was just an “empty shell”. Facebook created a new ecosystem through continuous investment in research and development. According to information disclosed by Meta on its fourth-quarter 2021 earnings call, the Quest content platform has surpassed $1 billion in revenue.

Meta’s Quest 2 has sold 14.8 million units since its launch, making it the most successful VR headset to date, according to the latest data from IDC. IDC also claims that VR sales will grow 97% in 2021 and 242% in the first quarter of 2022. 

ByteDance focuses on the development of Pico at this node, and its ambition is evident, that is, to “copy” the success of Quest, quickly seize the market, and use Pico to become the leader of domestic VR. 

After ByteDance acquired Pico, it continued to recruit talents for new businesses . In May of this year, it was reported by IT House that Ma Jiesi, the former head of Xiaomi VR and founder of Beijing Bo Particle Technology Co., Ltd., updated Maimai’s personal authentication to “Head of ByteDance Pico Social Center”. In the direct employment of Boss, Pico related optical engineers, software development engineers, project managers and other positions are also continuously recruiting.

However, as a commercial blue ocean that has not yet been fully developed, on the domestic virtual reality track, Byte’s opponents are also making efforts.

iQIYI’s Adventure VR is closely following Pico. On the night of the first sale of 618 this year, Qiyu VR sales increased by 12 times year-on-year, ranking second in both JD.com and Tmall VR category sales and sales.

In addition, in terms of games, iQIYI has obtained the copyright of the AAA VR game “After the Fall”, which once generated more than 1.4 million US dollars in 24 hours. NetEase has won the agency rights of “Beat Saber”. This game has entered the top 3 sales list in the history of paid VR games, with a positive rate of 97%.

In addition, NetEase not only continuously develops VR game content, but also has new actions in hardware. According to the Tianyancha App, on February 15 this year, NetEase obtained a patent authorization for “virtual reality interaction method and device, storage medium, and electronic equipment”.

According to previous media reports, Pico raised its annual sales target from 1 million units to 1.8 million units due to the marketing effect far exceeding expectations. A Pico employee told “Leopard Change”: ” 1 million is the sales target for this year, and the data of 1.8 million is not true, but this year’s sales are really good.

I have to admit that Pico’s growth rate is indeed very fast. In the second year of the acquisition, Byte set a sales target of 1 million. After Facebook acquired Oculus that year, it took 6 years for the sales of Oculus Quest 2 to exceed 1 million units in 2020.

But even giants like Meta have spent seven years perfecting the appearance and performance of their VR products, investing a lot of money until they reach 14.8 million shipments in 2022. Meta’s first-quarter 2022 earnings report showed that Reality Labs, the company’s division responsible for developing AR/VR devices such as the Quest headset, had operating costs of $3.7 billion, up from $2.4 billion in the first quarter of last year.

Also, Meta’s overall profit fell by $10 billion last year due to its investment in VR/AR. In addition, the financial report shows that in the last five quarters, Reality Labs has been in a state of loss, with an average loss of more than 2 billion US dollars per quarter. Zuckerberg also said at last year’s shareholder meeting that the company would continue to “lose” money on the project over the next three to five years.

Although Byte quickly seized the domestic market after acquiring Pico, from the perspective of the development of the Meta VR business, it is clear that Byte has to be prepared for “long-term investment and no short-term return”.

In 2020, Pico founder Zhou Hongwei said in an interview with 36Kr that domestic VR game consoles “will be an inflection point when the market volume climbs to 500,000 to 1 million units”, and Byte has begun to approach this goal. But Zhou Hongwei also mentioned that in order to achieve this goal, product experience, brand, marketing, and content need to work together.

Therefore, how to improve the hardware level and content ecology is a problem that Pico needs to pay more attention to. After all, the real experience of users determines whether Pico can go a long way. If you want to truly become an industry leader, marketing alone is obviously not enough.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/there-are-not-enough-games-marketing-is-making-up-how-can-bytes-continue-to-beat-in-the-metaverse/
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