XR is the ultimate key to the Metaverse

XR may not be the only key to opening the door to the Metaverse, but it will be a more imaginative one considering the longer-term future.

When the profit margins that can be opened up by traditional technological paradigms continue to shrink, new and attractive things will quickly become new outlets.

The explosion of the Metaverse concept in 2021, that’s it.

From the beginning of the year when Roblox wrote the concept of the Metaverse into its prospectusand became the “first stock in the Metaverse”, and at the end of the year Facebook announced that it would change its name to “Meta”. The intensity of the Metaverse explosion and the response speed of the market were far higher than those of the Internet and mobile phones. When the Internet appeared, companies of all sizes began to enter the market for a while, and there was a rumor in the market that “everything can be a Metaverse”.

Paradoxically, there is still no universal definition in the industry to accurately describe what the Metaverse is and what deterministic changes it will bring to human society.

But in 2022, when it was discovered that the building of the Metaverse may not be so simple to complete, the industry is going through another round of cooling.

Roblox’s stock price fell by 47% from its peak; Meta burned $10 billion on the Metaverse in 2021, but the company’s market value fell by nearly half, and Zuckerberg’s virtual selfie also aroused ridicule; The social product that advertises the Metaverse is short-lived.

However, cooling down does not mean that everyone is not optimistic about the Metaverse, but from the initial “curiosity and ambition” to the “reason and exploration” stage, first focusing on the area where the integration of the virtual world and the real world is less difficult , and then from easy to difficult, from the shallow to the deep.

Therefore, XR is becoming the most valuable treasure in the Metaverse industry.

1. Why XR?

In the past period of time, a number of Metaverse social apps have experienced a boom and then quickly cooled down, pouring cold water on the social application of the Metaverse concept.

The reason is very simple. If it is said that providing several sets of avatars, providing some 3D scene elements, and letting people socialize with virtual identities is the Metaverse, then the Metaverse is too “cheap”.

The deeper reason is that talking about applications without infrastructure construction is itself a thing that does not conform to the logic of development, especially in the grand concept of the Metaverse.

XR is the ultimate key to the Metaverse

As shown in the figure above, according to the seven-layered elements of the Metaverse proposed by Jon Radoff, the realization of the Metaverse, from the underlying technology to the ecological application, requires seven levels of development to achieve landing.

Among them, the key at this stage is to build people’s entrance to the Metaverse, not only to ensure immersion, but also to provide people with a real sense of experience in the virtual world.

From this perspective, advances in technologies related to extended reality (XR) devices are particularly important for three reasons:

First, XR is currently the most feasible path to combine virtual and reality.

To some extent, the Metaverse even represents the way of life in the future – people are in both the real world and the virtual world, and almost any life experience in the real world can be realized in the virtual world.

The coexistence of virtual and real is the key feature, which is reflected in six core elements, including immersion, virtual identity, digital assets, real experience, virtual and real interconnection, and a complete social system.

Deloitte mentioned in a research report that in the future, the development of the Metaverse will, on the one hand, turn from reality to virtuality, realizing the digitization of real experience, and on the other hand, from virtuality to reality, realizing the reality of digital experience.

And XR is the visible path that we can currently achieve, combining virtual and reality.

We see that whether it is VR or AR or VR, there are already practical applications in real life. For example, you can watch a product in 360 degrees through AR in the Apple Store, and you can immerse and completely see what a house looks like through VR on the Ziroom App.

Second, XR hardware is generally considered to be the hardware entrance to the Metaverse era.

In the vision of the future, VR will be able to import the real world into the virtual world. For example, headsets can be equipped with sensors that can reconstruct real-world models in real-time, anddecorate, modify, enhance, and share them.

For example, the current VR viewing is just “seeing”, but in the future, when you wear a VR headset or glasses and other equipment, it may happen that you can not only see, but also enter that virtual space. The room furnishings are adjusted, and it is even possible to experience the experience in bed.

While AR can integrate the virtual world into the real world, some real scenes that are needed now may no longer be needed.

For example, through AR glasses or other, schools may be able to complete teaching in a virtual space, and the physical concept of a real office may no longer be required.

As Michael Abrash, author of Inventing the Future and Oculus Chief Scientist, said, “Human-centred computing can only truly reach its full potential when we live in a world where the virtual and the real are intertwined. , rather than interacting with the virtual world through a flat port, which is what AR and VR are all about.”

Third, XR is likely to be the next-generation computing platform.

Zuckerberg believes that XR is the next-generation computing platform, and regards XR as the key to Facebook’s strategy in the next 10 years, and will continue to invest in the long-term; Luo Yonghao also said that AR is the next generation of computing when he started his own business and entered the AR field in June this year. platform.

For this judgment, Deloitte pointed out that the reason why XR is called the next-generation computing platform is not only that XR can bring a whole new world, but it is also an integrator of key technologies in the computing era.

It not only requires current key technical capabilities such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and big data , but also has high requirements for the golden triangle of computing power, algorithms, and data. Software and hardware capabilities such as systems also require higher precision and higher experience standards.

As a hardware carrier that needs to be integrated into consumer-level daily life, XR equipment also proposes higher stability, accuracy, real-time, user -friendliness , and lower cost for each level of technical capability. requirements.

On the one hand, it is a high-tech threshold, and on the other hand, it is recognized as the next-generation revolutionary wave after the mobile Internet. Naturally, XR has become a key game for giants to lead to the Metaverse.

2. The XR battle of giants

In 2021, when Roblox and Zuckerberg are driving the concept of the Metaverse, some large domestic companies are also accelerating the layout of the Metaverse and advancing into the XR field. This is one of the actions.

For example, in June, Tencent’s investment company planned to invest 35 million pounds to purchase part of the copyright of Ultraleap, a British manufacturer of XR tactile simulation technology; for example, in August, ByteDance spent 5 billion yuan to acquire VR startup Pico, which focuses on VR Hardware manufacturing once reached third in the global market share.

This is not the first time that the XR field has ushered in spring, but a recovery after a hiatus. As early as 2017, before the Metaverse concept fire, XR triggered an industry boom on a global scale.

XR is the ultimate key to the Metaverse

In 2014, Facebook spent $3 billion to acquire the VR headset company Oculus, which attracted the attention of the industry, and then large companies such as Google, Sony, HTC, and Samsung added XR.

A data from IDC shows that by 2016, the global XR equipment shipments climbed 383% year-on-year to 9.04 million units, and the Chinese VR market equipment also increased by 367.9% month-on-month, with 204,000 units sold.

At the same time, there is also capital entering the market on a large scale. In 2015, there were 152 financing events in the global XR field, and there were 64 XR financing events in China.

In China, the craze peaked in 2016, when more than 3,000 entrepreneurial teams entered and the number of VR-related applications increased tenfold.

However, after the peak, due to factors such as hardware, software and network environment, the existing terminal equipment could not meet the user experience, and the market quickly cooled.

After 2019, with multiple factors such as the popularization of 5G, the technological progress of core components such as chips in the upstream industry chain, the catalytic effect of the epidemic on onlineization, and the promotion of the concept of the Metaverse last year, the XR industry has recovered rapidly, and more There are many giants.

But when these tech giants deploy XR, their ambition is of course not to be just a hardware manufacturer. After all, hardware is just an entry point, but to build an XR ecosystem and be a “next-generation computing platform”.

To put it simply, to build a complete XR ecosystem requires both hardware support, software technology, rich content, and enough applications, which are similar to the smartphone ecosystem.

On this basis, we can see that the most successful technology companies in the mobile Internet era in the past have more ready-made advantages when they enter the XR field and the Metaverse, including technology accumulation, capital barriers, user operations, industry experience, etc. .

For example, Apple, although its AR glasses seem to be an empty check, but in the past few years, relying on self-research and investment mergers and acquisitions, it has established a basic ecology in hardware, software, applications, and content.

XR is the ultimate key to the Metaverse

For example, Huawei released its first VR glasses “HUAWEI VR” in 2016, launched the VR2 headset in 2017, HiSilicon also released XR special chips, AR glasses Rokid Vision, and in 2018, released the general AR engine “Huawei” AR Engine”, and launched the AR content development tool Reality Studio, etc.

For example, Tencent, in 2020, put forward the concept of “full true Internet”, which aims to develop the underlying platform for developers and open up key links such as hardware, software, and content.

In February of the same year, Tencent participated in Roblox’s 150 million yuan G round of financing and obtained the exclusive agency for the latter’s product distribution in China; in April last year, Tencent’s 48.4% stake in the game company Epic received a new round of 1 billion. U.S. dollar financing, saying it will be mainly used to develop the Metaverse.

Another example is China Mobile. In 2021, its subsidiary Migu released the MIGU evolution roadmap of the Metaverse – from computing power network energy, to a new engine with game interaction characteristics, to immersive social media, and finally to the realization of virtual and real integration. , a multiverse mixed reality Metaverse.

Among them, it has also begun to deploy in the XR field. In 2020, China Mobile released the GSXR software system with independent intellectual property rights, which simplifies AR/VR software development and enables applications to reach a wider range of hardware platforms, allowing AR/VR developers to create a true cross-platform XR experience, promoting meta- Intercommunication of software and hardware in the universe. At present, telecommunications, China Unicom, Huawei, HTC and other companies have all become members of the GSXR alliance.

Of course, they are not the only ones who have made a big layout. Ali, Baidu, Xiaomi, OV, etc. all have related layouts in the XR field.

It is foreseeable that the future competition in the XR field will not be a hardware competition, but an ecological competition, and it is very likely that the competition in the XR field will be more intense than that of smartphones.

3. XR is not the only key

As we mentioned above, in the grand world based on the Metaverse, it is actually not in line with the development logic to talk about applications without infrastructure construction.

Then we need to answer two questions:

First, is the XR device the only key that opens the door to the Metaverse?

The answer is no – the brain-computer interface that Musk has been advocating in recent years may be another key; independent apps and Web AR outside of glasses and headsets are also a key, and we will focus on the latter .

Let’s first look at the app application of the terminal, which is actually limited to the field of AR, which can be realized through the application on the mobile phone, and most of the smart phones support it, and have been applied in many fields, such as innovative education, retail, navigation and sports health.

Looking at Web AR, which is also limited to the AR field, to some extent, it is another complement to the AR solutions currently on the road based on dedicated headset/glasses devices.

To put it simply, the functions of Web AR and independent apps are actually the same, but the implementation methods are different. Web AR is a more lightweight, universal, and cross-platform mobile solution.

Knowing products through AR in the Apple Store mentioned above is actually the most direct application of Web AR.

But their biggest problem is that if you can only experience AR through smart terminals, then human beings will not be able to free their hands, which is actually contrary to the strong sense of immersion and experience emphasized by the Metaverse.

Some time ago, Matthieu Lorrain, Google’s global head of creative and content strategy and immersive partnerships, said in an exchange:

“I think mobile AR and AR glasses will have value for a period of time. At this stage, mobile AR can be applied to social interaction, interaction with the surrounding environment, visual search and other scenarios. Its advantages are convenience and ease of use, stable touch screen interaction and Exactly. And maybe ten years from now, AR glasses will be more common and will weaken the role of mobile devices such as mobile phones.”

Just yesterday, He Xiaopeng, the founder of Xiaopeng Motors , publicly stated on social media that only when the hardware of AR/VR/MR is ready can it be possible to usher in the spring of the Metaverse.

That is to say, from the current stage, although the XR device is not the only key to open the door of the Metaverse, it will be a more imaginative key considering the longer-term future.

Second, beyond infrastructure, what else is needed to reach the world of the Metaverse?

The answer is extremely complex. Roblox CEO David Bashuki once proposed eight elements that the Metaverse needs to have: identity, sociality, immersion, low latency, diversity, anywhere, economic system, civilization.

XR is the ultimate key to the Metaverse

This is certainly impossible to complete within a few years. We only discuss two points that are relatively easy to implement and more realistic: one is the content, and the other is the application scenario.

Huachuang Securities pointed out in a research report that C-end entertainment content may become the most important landing direction in the first stage, and games are one of the most important consumer application scenarios in the entertainment industry.

We have also seen that in the past period of time, players who have poured into the Metaverse have focused on three entry points: XR, social networking, and games.

But at the same time, the maturity of content, the maturity of hardware, and the expansion of application scenarios are actually complementary to each other. It is very likely that before the widespread popularization of AR/VR/MR and other related hardware devices, the richness of the content side It is expected that it will be difficult to usher in a large-scale outbreak.

This article is from the WeChat public account “Shuzhijie” (ID: gh_1eabea2d9bab)

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/xr-is-the-ultimate-key-to-the-metaverse/
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