This year’s Christmas C-bit belongs to the Metaverse

Where did everyone go during the Christmas season? They all went to play in the Metaverse.

The annual Christmas holiday is here as scheduled. But this year, with the rapid spread of the Ome Keron mutant virus and the super cold current suddenly sweeping across the west coast, many people had to temporarily cancel their long-distance travel plans. The family’s holiday activities have changed from shopping on the streets to vaccinations, and the greetings between relatives and friends have changed from “Merry Christmas” to “Stay Healthy”. I have to say that this Christmas is a bit “cold” this year.

But in stark contrast to these cold restaurants, shopping malls, and tourist attractions in the real world, it is the full-blown festive atmosphere in the Metaverse. Games and entertainment, social networking, company annual meetings… have all been moved into the virtual world, and everyone has played a variety of new tricks, driving the sales of VR-related hardware and software to soar.

No, Meta, which has just been renamed All in Metaverse, also achieved a breakthrough victory for the first time this Christmas. Oculus, its virtual reality application, won the free application download rankings of the Apple and Google Stores in the United States on Christmas Day, successfully firing the first shot of the commercial expansion of Metaverse.

This year's Christmas C-bit belongs to the Metaverse

List of free downloads on the App Store on Christmas Day 

From the fiery atmosphere of this year, we may be able to see a trend: VR, which has previously been reduced to yesterday’s yellow flower, seems to have begun to rejuvenate and usher in the industry’s “second spring” after being injected with the fresh blood of Metaverse.

Oculus becomes the most popular gift, Meta first tastes the sweetness of the Metaverse

This year, taking advantage of the explosion of the Metaverse concept, the Quest series of Meta virtual reality headsets has become a “sweet potato” and a “dark horse player” on the gift list. As early as Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday this year, Quest headsets were in short supply. This hot trend continued until the Christmas season. Silicon Stars found that Costco, BestBuy and many other stores put Quest series headsets in the most conspicuous position for sale.

This year's Christmas C-bit belongs to the Metaverse

Oculus Quest sold in the Cotsoc store, the picture comes from the Internet

According to the latest report released by KeyBanc Capital Markets on December 26, Oculus Quest 2 ranked first in the most popular technical Christmas gift. The popularity of Quest can also be seen in the number of downloads of its supporting software: In addition to topping the number of downloads of the Apple App Store in the United States on Christmas Day, it is also the number of downloads champions on the Google Store that day. Throughout the Christmas holiday, it ranked among the top 5 downloads in 14 countries except the United States.

According to data from the application analysis company Sensor Tower, between December 21st and 27th, Oculus’ global downloads in the two main application markets of Apple and Android reached 1.3 million, and new downloads increased by 363% every week. In the five years since the launch of the Oculus application, Sensor Tower has counted about 13 million downloads, which means that 10% of Oculus’s downloads came from the past week.

This year's Christmas C-bit belongs to the Metaverse

Oculus download trend in the Apple Store in the US, the picture comes from Quartz

In 2016, Meta launched its own virtual reality application store Oculus Store for the first time. The operation of this store is basically the same as that of the Apple App store and Google Play, except that it focuses on virtual reality-related applications. Its goal is to help more virtual reality application developers to straighten out the entire process from product development to release, and to provide them with a release channel. Oculus draws money from application sales.

As of now, there are more than 200 VR games available for download in the Oculus Store. Since 2019, the number of VR game creators and releases has been increasing year by year, and some small explosions have continued to emerge, such as music rhythms. Kind of games Beat Saber, Star Wars VR series, etc. Last month, Meta also officially opened its own large-scale Metaverse world Horizon Worlds to users in the United States and Canada.

Various gatherings blocked by the epidemic have also been realized in the virtual world. Some companies held small annual meetings in Horizon Worlds. Everyone put on VR headsets to dress up their virtual avatars. Everyone chatted, sang, and performed shows. The company also mailed wine to employees’ homes in advance and toasted together. celebrate.

Some relatives and friends whose travel plans were temporarily cancelled due to the epidemic and unable to reunite at Christmas also met in Horizon Worlds across thousands of miles, chatting and shopping together, playing games together, participating in activities together and so on. When you’re happy, you can raise your wrists, take a “click” selfie and save it, and you can even cut the video of everyone playing together in the Metaverse into your own Vlog.

This year's Christmas C-bit belongs to the Metaverse

A selfie of friends in Horizon Wolrds, the picture is from CNN

Affected by the surprise performance of the VR business during the Christmas period, Meta’s stock price rose by about 3% after the opening of the holiday, setting the highest single-day increase since the full transformation of Metaverse, and first taste the sweetness of Metaverse.

Related game platforms are even more so hot. Roblox, the game platform known as the “Metaverse First Unit”, has steadily ranked first in the world, the United States and Europe in downloads during the Christmas period. It is the favorite game platform for children and young people.

In addition to the popularity of VR and Metaverse games, there is also an obvious trend that many traditional mobile games and web games are also transitioning to VR and Metaverse. For example, the previously smashing werewolf game Among us launched a new VR version and officially landed on Quest at the beginning of this month, allowing you to wear a headset and feel the excitement of being “stabbed” behind you.

VR hardware may usher in an outbreak, Meta will fight Apple?

Compared with the sudden emergence of Oculus and Roblox, the number of visits to Amazon and Google sites during the Christmas season appears to be much flatter, and Metaverse is undoubtedly the biggest winner this year. Although Oculus only briefly climbed to the top on the 25th, the trend of Metaverse to drive the overall rejuvenation of the VR industry is very obvious.

Although the hardware market as a whole has been strongly impacted by supply chain shortages this year, according to the statistics of the market research company IDC, the global shipments of VR headsets in the first quarter of 2021 will still increase by 52.4% year-on-year. The shipments of headsets are expected in 2021. Will reach 7.15 million units. In addition, user acceptance of VR and AR has also ushered in a substantial increase. As of December, 58.9 million and 93.3 million people in the United States use VR and AR at least once a month, accounting for 17.7% and 28.1% of the total population of the United States, an increase of approximately 14% over the same period last year.

At present, Meta has an absolute advantage in the field of VR head-mounted display equipment and its share is growing rapidly. Oculus’ shipments accounted for 34% of global shipments in the first quarter of 2020, and this year this share has expanded to 75%. It can be said that Meta is fully promoting the expansion of the VR market with its own efforts.

This year's Christmas C-bit belongs to the Metaverse

The share of the world’s major VR/AR equipment manufacturers, the picture is from statista

However, due to the relatively small scale of the entire XR market, Meta’s current temporary lead does not mean that it will also lead the way in this field in the future.

Recently, news has revealed that Apple has successfully hired Andrea Schubert, the head of communication and public relations of its virtual reality department, to its team from Meta. It makes the outside world guess that Apple is secretly preparing to release its first mixed reality lens. The device will be available as soon as next year.

In fact, the rumors that Apple will launch virtual reality headsets have been around for a long time. In the past year or two, at every Apple development conference, a group of fans tried to find traces of this device in invitations and promotional posters, but they were always disappointed. Looking at the entire hardware market, it has been a long time since there has been a product as revolutionary as the iPhone that surprises the public, and this time Apple’s MR device has high hopes.

According to some current exposure news, Apple’s device can not only be used for VR, but also seamlessly switch between AR and VR, and it is lighter than existing head-mounted display devices. Affected by this news, Apple’s stock price has continued to rise in recent days, and large institutions have raised their expectations for Apple.

This year's Christmas C-bit belongs to the Metaverse

Concept image of Apple MR glasses, picture from MacRumors

You know, once Apple announces to join the battle, it will definitely rewrite the current rules of the game, and it will definitely become Meta’s number one rival. At that time, whether Meta can continue to maintain its current position as the industry leader, there may be a question mark.

However, as more and more head manufacturers join the battle, more and more people are beginning to try to enter and accept this virtual interaction method, and Metaverse may no longer be just like the previous VR/AR boom. Conceptual gimmick, Oasis World really has the opportunity to shine from dreams into reality.

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