Li Mi has recently become a novice player of VR games. Not because he likes playing games, but because the concept of metaverse is too hot. He wants to learn about metaverse through VR games.
Although metaverse has not been clearly defined, meta (formerly Facebook), Microsoft, NVIDIA, Tencent, byte beat and many other major manufacturers in China are accelerating the layout of metaverse. AR and VR devices are considered as hardware entrances in the metaverse era. Metaverse concept stocks have already set off a wave of rise in the secondary market.
Li mi found that in AR devices, except that Microsoft hololens 2 can provide a relatively high-quality mixed reality interactive experience, there are few products that can really surpass it. In contrast, VR has more options and the price is more people-friendly. Therefore, Li mi plans to start experiencing VR.
In some VR player communication groups, product model abbreviations such as Q2 (Facebook’s oculus Quest 2) and P3 (Pico Neo 3 of domestic manufacturer Pico), game abbreviations such as BS (beat saber) and VC (vrchat), and streaming tools such as VD and air link have become “slander” in the circle.
Many VR players told shenran that the main experience of VR at the C end is watching movies and games. However, if you just watch videos, you will be overqualified. At present, the best-known VR all-in-one machine Quest 2 on the market has achieved 80 points in comprehensive experience, and a number of well-produced and well-known VR game masterpieces have appeared in the field of VR games, including half-life: Alex and Arizona sunshine. However, due to the limitation of content ecology, many heavy users have gradually fallen into the situation of no new games to play, and VR devices have to be shelved.
Everyone knows that there is still a long way to go to truly realize the metaverse in avalanche, which is parallel to the real world and can communicate and entertain in three-dimensional space through “Avatar”. Building metaverse, which is at the forefront of metaverse, is also accelerating the R & D of VR head display, touch gloves and other hardware levels. However, at present, compared with the iteration of hardware, enriching the content ecology and improving the sociality is the voice of users.
What are VR players playing?
After taking the VR head display device and seeing the 360 degree scene setting of the virtual world, Li Mi’s first impression was shock, “immersive and very realistic”. Next, Li mi opened a racing game. He began to dizzy before playing for half an hour, so he had to slow down and continue.
After experiencing the VR all-in-one Pico Neo 3 for the first time, shenburn also had a similar feeling. Vertigo is caused by the mismatch between VR visual changes and actual motion. At present, the popular VR products in the market have developed from 3DOF (degree of freedom) to 6DOF, which makes the interaction between head and hand in the VR world more immersive and alleviates the vertigo. However, when entering the VR world, dizziness can not be completely avoided.
“The first sight is shock, followed by vertigo. After the vertigo period, they begin to actively explore the content”, which is the only way for many VR players to get started. Zhan Dong, another player, was dizzy and wanted to vomit for the first few decades. He could only play for about half an hour each time, but after the adaptation period, he could play for several hours as long as he had enough time.
The so-called sense of shock, Wang Cheng, the store manager of a VR offline experience store in Dalian, has felt it through HTC vive in 2016.
2016 is regarded as the first year of VR. There are many kinds of VR hardware. The pcvr (VR device that needs to be connected to a computer) experience is relatively better. It is also because the computer configuration is used, the computing can be used, and the display imaging effect will be better, but it can only be called “VR experience” at that time. The popular game of that year was the Blu (dark blue), which could observe large sea turtles and blue whales at a close distance for only about ten minutes.
At that time, almost no VR games lasted more than an hour, and they were mainly watched with little interaction. The hardware equipment package is also bulky, and the software content and interactivity are not enough. In the next few years, VR was cold.
What plays an important role in users’ purchase of VR equipment is how well the content ecology is done.
At present, the application of VR in C-terminal is mainly in two aspects: movie viewing and game. VR models such as Pico Neo 3 and iqiyi Adventure 3 regard theater level real viewing as one of the important functions. Zhan Dong said, “but if you just watch the video, it’s hard to feel the shock.”
Therefore, it is the game that really attracts heavy players to buy VR devices and continue to explore. “After experiencing the VR game of Quest 2, you will feel that watching movies in VR is overqualified,” Wang Cheng also said.
In the past few years, with valve, EA (Electronic Arts), Ubisoft, 20th Century Fox and other content manufacturers increasing their investment in VR content, the content ecology of VR Games has been gradually enriched.
From “beat Saber” by hyperbolic magnetism in 2018 to “half life: Alex” by valve in March 2020, these two are out of circle games in the VR field. The former is regarded as the best game for novices to enter the pit, and the latter has 11 chapters and a total game duration of about 30 hours, which is regarded as the benchmark of VR games.
In the game half-life: Alex, the details of the scene are very realistic. All bottle users in the game can pick up and put down for interaction. For example, the user can pick up the wine bottle in the ground basket and break it in the game through the joystick; Can stack cans scattered on the ground; When throwing something at a pigeon, the pigeon will fly to avoid it.
At present, shooting, action, music and survival have become several major directions for users to pay for VR games. Since the development of VR games, there have been more and more masterpieces. Arizona sunshine, crisis action team, mercenary: intelligent crisis, zombie land: Bullet free, and all in one sports VR are well-known boutiques for VR professional players. In late October, the new game biochemical crisis 4 VR was launched on quest platform. According to a vice president of meta, it has become the fastest selling game in quest history.
During the deep burning experience, it was found that the racing game “waste soil speed per hour”, the adventure decryption game “red matter”, the gunfight game “super Legion” and other games appeared on the pico platform.
VR game content ecology has become rich, and C-end users are more willing to pay for VR devices. Especially after the release of Quest 2, compared with pcvr, the device is more portable, and some games can basically achieve the effect quality of pcvr, driving the increase of VR device shipments. Wangcheng store will also sell Quest 2. Many users directly spend two or three thousand yuan to buy it home after experience. “At most, 40 or 50 units can be sold every month.”.
“Must have.” according to his observation, some people’s mentality when buying VR all-in-one machine is the same as when they bought a switch, but when they buy it home, many players’ devices will still fall into dust because “there is no game to play”.
VR equipment, can’t escape falling ash?
For the vast majority of VR players, compared with what is metaverse and how to develop metaverse, they pay more attention to whether it is fun, how to play and whether it is cost-effective.
After the first year of VR in 2016, the industry fell into a trough, but major companies did not stop product R & D. To sum up, based on the original VR equipment, they are developing towards pcvr with deep heavy-duty experience and lightweight VR all-in-one machine.
According to incomplete statistics of shenburn, HTC vive Pro 2, HTC vive pro and valve index are several common pcvr products in the market. Some high-end players who focus on game experience and stability will choose pcvr. However, due to the need to connect to the computer and certain requirements for computer configuration, it is not the first choice for most C-end users.
Among the mainstream models of VR all-in-one machine, Quest 2 released by oculus under meta in September 2020 is regarded as the inflection point of the development of VR industry. With its rich VR content experience ecology and the people-friendly price of two or three thousand yuan, Quest 2 has become the “Technology toy” of choice for many users, and is still the “yyds” in the hearts of VR players today. According to the person in charge of Qualcomm, the sales volume of Quest 2 has reached 10 million units, which is the VR device with the highest shipment volume at the C-end.
Domestic manufacturers are still on the way to catch up with Quest 2. Pico, which was acquired by US $9 billion, launched Pico Neo 3 in the first half of this year. In terms of hardware experience, it is regarded as the only model in China that can benchmark Quest 2, but there is still a large gap in content ecology.
After entering several VR game player communication groups, shenran found that model selection, game recommendation and strategy are high-frequency topics in the group. Q2 and P3 are the most mentioned product models. Many players insist on playing VR games for half an hour every day because of Pico Neo 3’s 180 day punch in and return half price activities.
Other popular models on the market include iqiyi Adventure 3, Nolo sonic, HTC vive focus 3 and other products. Among them, iqiyi Adventure 3 has a resolution of more than 4K, but the starting price is more than 3000 yuan. According to the player’s feedback, the positioning and tracking technology is relatively weak and the cost performance is low; Nolo sonic is more cost-effective, but the content ecology is weaker than Pico; HTC vive focus 3 obviously no longer follows the popular route. The hardware configuration is very advanced, and the price is not friendly to ordinary consumers.
VR peripheral manufacturers are also developing more accessories to enhance players’ sense of immersion in the game. In November, meta not only considered opening its first physical store to display metaverse products such as virtual reality helmets and teleconference devices, but also recently released a touch glove to increase touch. It is reported that the glove has a trigger actuator, which can apply pressure to the hand according to the processed virtual object.
In order to make users’ feet feel the movement of the VR world, the product schemes of universal treadmill, pulley shoes and circular chassis are also constantly updated, but at present, these accessories are not enough to attract C-end VR users to pay.
The immersive experience that VR games can bring has attracted a large number of players into the pit, but the obstacle is that even the quest platform, which is at the forefront of the content ecology in the industry, still can not meet the needs of users.
As an early user of Quest 2, Wang Cheng found that the number of VR games is not large, and there are only a few fun games to play.
At a time when the content ecology is not rich enough, most VR manufacturers have to stream with the game platform steam (real-time compression and transmission of video and audio through the network) in order to enable users to experience VR games on steam platform and retain users.
To realize streaming, it is not as simple as clicking a button. There are certain requirements for the hardware configuration of the user’s computer, and the data line of wired streaming also costs one or two hundred yuan. In the VR player communication group, how to stream has always been one of the hot topics.
In the long run, VR manufacturers naturally do not want to rely on streaming to provide users with content, which can only be regarded as a helpless move at present.
However, for all VR hardware and software manufacturers, more importantly, there is still a lack of a phenomenal online interactive VR game masterpiece. In 2017, the number of users of King glory exceeded 200 million, but now the overall number of users on the C-end of VR device is still tens of millions. It is not easy to quickly match small partners to play games.
The current situation of many VR game players around Wangcheng is that it is difficult to get through the vertigo adaptation period and will explore for high-quality content and fun projects by themselves. However, it will soon be found that there are only a few fun games. There are no more games to play, and the VR device is still gray in the end.
VR, where are we going?
“It’s not so much that metaverse brings fire to VR as VR brings fire to metaverse.” Wang Cheng believes that without the development of Quest 2 and the content ecology of quest platform, meta may not decide to enter metaverse this year.
A month ago, Oculus consultant Camack CTO tucking Meta at the Facebook annual Connect conference, which make complaints about the best way to build Metaverse platform compared to optimizing existing products.
He revealed that oculus is preparing to design “multiple head displays” for metaverse, but he is worried that it may take years and thousands of people’s energy, but in the end, it will not have much impact on the way people use equipment and hardware.
However, the long-term investment of meta will not stop. In the short term, the iterative direction of VR is to enrich the content ecology and strengthen social networking.
VR head display is regarded as the mobile phone of the next era. “The screen in the PC Internet era is a computer, and the screen in the mobile Internet era is a mobile phone, but the screen in the next Internet era is likely to be VR,” Neo, an executive of Dapeng VR, told shenran.
He pointed out that at present, compared with the improvement of hardware, the more important thing of VR is the enrichment of content ecology, “we should use good content to promote the sales of hardware devices”.
After the VR offline experience store was impacted by the epidemic, Wangcheng further strengthened its determination to make VR games. Last year, after Quest 2 went public, the VR studio that provided solutions to b-end manufacturers such as paradise and education was already preparing to make a VR game.
In the past, without users, developers were unprofitable, and ecology could not be done. Moreover, domestic users have not formed the habit of paying for games purchased from the app store.
However, this year, the quest platform has undergone qualitative changes to some extent, with Quest 2 shipping more than 10 million units; The revenue of VR audio tour rhythm lightsaber on quest single platform exceeded US $100 million; According to the estimation of foreign media, the latest biochemical crisis 4 VR has reached about US $8.5 million since its launch on October 20, which is the fastest selling quest game so far.
These developments have given VR content creators such as Wang Cheng more confidence. “Content is essentially a creative industry”. As long as the creativity is enough, it can be accepted by users. Now may be a window period.
At the strong social level, before the emergence of large-scale online games, meta and Microsoft have started to act at the virtual office level. However, from the perspective of current technology, VR teleconference first requires participants to have VR head display. Moreover, kamak believes that technical issues have to be considered.
He said that it is very difficult to expand the scale of VR hardware devices to support metaverse, because it involves virtual image, fidelity and quality. Although cloud computing cluster will help, the delay, fragmentation and device compatibility are also big problems. Currently, the voice call delay of Quest 2 is relatively serious (more than 100 milliseconds).
On November 26, analysts at Tianfeng securities predicted that Apple would release a head display that supports both AR and VR functions in the fourth quarter of 2022. Apple has also been regarded as a potential competitor for meta to impact metaverse. “Apple’s Mr products have bounced tickets for many times, but it originally had M1 chips with strong performance. In addition, it has accumulated technology in the AR field before, so it is highly expected by the outside world,” said a VR practitioner. The industry also has psychological expectations that it will be a high-end product of twenty or thirty thousand.
“VR has entered a relatively mature platform stage at the level of interactive technology, and there is still a certain distance from the next level.” Neo said, but people from all sides believe that the next qualitative change cycle of VR will be shorter and shorter. The arrival of metaverse in avalanche will only be a matter of time.
*At the request of the interviewee, Li Mi and Zhan Dong are pseudonyms in the text.