Recently, Metaverse has become a hot topic in the technology circle and the capital circle. Tencent, ByteDance, etc. have entered related fields, and foreign technology companies such as Facebook, Microsoft, and Nvidia have also deployed. Many interviewees believe that Metaverse, as a vehicle for the integration of the virtual world and the real world, contains huge opportunities for social, content, game, office and other scene changes.What is the meta universe? What does it mean for the Internet? What kind of “parallel world” will it give birth to?
Equipment, applications, games… Technology companies have deployed meta-universe
In March of this year, Roblox, a meta-universe concept stock invested by Tencent, rose sharply on its first day of listing. Its multiplayer online creative game “Roblox” is compatible with virtual worlds, casual games and self-built content. As early as the end of last year, Ma Huateng, Chairman and CEO of Tencent, said in an internal publication of Tencent: “An exciting opportunity is coming. The ten-year development of the mobile Internet is about to usher in the next wave of upgrades, which we call Real Internet.”
In August of this year, ByteDance acquired Pico, a Chinese virtual reality equipment company. In April, ByteDance invested in “Code Qiankun”, a meta universe concept company. In addition, NetEase, Lilith, Mihayou and other companies also have layouts related to Metaverse.
In addition to Internet giants and game companies, some start-up companies have already had a layout.
Two years ago, when Hu Wen, the founder of Chenjing Technology, founded a company in Nansha, Guangzhou with his two classmates, he did not expect that in just two years, a global science and technology outlet had come before us-Meta Universe. Now, they are building the “digital base” of the meta universe, converting the real world into a “digital language” that computers can recognize, and superimposing various virtual applications on this basis.
For example: Standing on the already-built Mingzhu Development Building in Nansha District, Guangzhou City, the Lingshan Island tip of Mingzhu Bay is still in the development stage. But through virtual reality devices or tablet computers, people can clearly see that the planned but not yet completed buildings are superimposed on the existing real scene at a ratio of 1:1-this is a “mirror world” created by Chenjing Technology for the local government. .
“Through the construction of the meta-universe, the information of the real world will be greatly supplemented by the virtual world, and the way of interaction between humans and the virtual world will be brand-newly improved. On this basis, a business model full of imagination will be born, such as games, social interactions, and entertainment. There will be qualitative changes in consumption, consumption, etc.” Hu Wen said.
Internationally, Facebook,Microsoft, Nvidia and other technology companies have deployed. On October 28th, local time, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook in the United States, announced that the company had changed its name to Meta in order to focus on the meta-universe business. Facebook has invested heavily in virtual reality and augmented reality technologies in recent years, and has developed hardware products such as virtual reality headsets, augmented reality glasses, and watches.
In May of this year, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that the company is working hard to create an “enterprise meta-universe.” In August, Nvidia, a manufacturer of image processing and artificial intelligence chips, announced the launch of the world’s first simulation and collaboration platform that provides the foundation for the establishment of Metaverse.
The underlying technology is becoming more mature, the reality and the virtual are closely integrated
So, what exactly is the meta universe?
The concept of meta-universe first appeared in the science fiction novel “Avalanche” by American writer Neil Stephenson in 1992. The novel depicts a virtual digital world parallel to the real world-“Metaworld”. People in the real world have a virtual clone in the “metaworld”, and people compete with each other to improve their status by controlling this virtual clone.
In fact, the current scientific and technological circle does not have a recognized authoritative definition of the meta universe. Shen Yang, a professor at the School of Journalism and Communication of Tsinghua University, believes that Metaverse is a new type of Internet application and social form that integrates a variety of new technologies. It provides immersive experience based on extended reality technology, and digital twin technology generates a real world. Mirroring, building an economic system through blockchain technology, closely integrates the virtual world and the real world in the economic system, social system, and identity system, and allows each user to produce and edit content.
When Zuckerberg explained why the company changed its name, he used a video to visually show the future of Metaverse: a virtual “home” can be created, familiar people can be invited to socialize, and the device can enter a virtual workspace and Colleagues can work together and even create a virtual world…
Hu Wen believes that the popularity of the meta-universe concept this year is not accidental. After years of brewing, the applications of underlying technologies such as virtual reality, artificial intelligence, blockchain, big data, 5G communications, and wearable devices have become more mature, and the combined application of these technologies Make it possible to build a meta-universe.
Zuo Pengfei, an associate researcher at the Institute of Quantitative Economics and Technical Economics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, believes that there are profound economic and social reasons behind the meta-universe craze—the mobile Internet dividend has reached its peak and is beginning to fade. Meta-universe is a vehicle for the integration of the virtual world and the real world. Contains huge opportunities for social, content, gaming, office and other scene changes. Both traditional digital technology companies and emerging start-ups want to seize the future track opportunities.
The “2020-2021 Metaverse Development Research Report” recently released by the New Media Research Center of Tsinghua University believes that 2020 is the tipping point for the virtualization of human society, paving the way for 2021 to become the first year of the Metaverse. On the one hand, the epidemic has accelerated social virtualization. Under the prevention and control measures of the new crown pneumonia epidemic, the time spent online in the whole society has increased significantly, and the “home economy” has developed rapidly; on the other hand, online life has changed from the original short-term exception state to the normal state The supplement of the real world has become a parallel world with the real world. Human real life has begun to migrate to the virtual world on a large scale, and human beings have become real and digital “amphibious species”.
How far is the meta universe from us?
Many internationally renowned consulting companies are optimistic about the future of Metaverse. For example, Bloomberg industry research report predicts that Metaverse will reach a market size of 800 billion US dollars in 2024, and PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts that the market size of Metaverse will reach 1.5 trillion US dollars in 2030. .
Although the prospects are attractive, most interviewees believe that the current metaverse industry as a whole is still in its early stages. From the perspective of computing power conditions, network technology, and expanded reality, the industry still needs 10 to 20 years of development time.
Shenyang believes that the current meta-universe industry is at an early stage of development, with the characteristics of immature and unstable emerging industries. There are still many uncertainties in the meta universe, and both the industry and the market need to return to rationality.
Zuo Pengfei believes that under the combined effect of technological upgrading and demand upgrading, the realization of the meta-universe scene is only a matter of time, and it also represents the general direction of the future. It is recommended that my country support the meta-universe industry from the aspects of technology, standards, application, and law. develop.
“From a technical point of view, technical limitations are currently the biggest bottleneck facing my country’s metauniverse development. In particular, the underlying architectural information technologies such as mobile communications, big data, and artificial intelligence need to be improved. my country should increase investment in basic information technology research and development. , Encourage and support relevant enterprises to strengthen basic research, enhance technological innovation capabilities, and steadily improve technological maturity.” Zuo Pengfei said.
Industry insiders suggest that, at the legal level, summarize and refine the governance experience in the development of the network platform, strengthen Metaverse’s forward-looking legislative research, and pay attention to issues such as regulatory review and data security.