Metaverse, science fiction “question 2022” walking in reality

China Times (www.chinatimes. Net. CN) reporter Yu Yujin reports from Beijing

“Slum boy Wade watts is like a fish in water in the virtual online game. People in the film enter the virtual world called ‘oasis’ through VR (virtual reality) helmets.” The number one player depicts an ideal metaverse world.

Metaverse became a key word in 2021 and began to move from ideal to reality. From the listing of roblox, the first stock of metaverse concept, to the renaming of “meta” all in metaverse on Facebook, from Sequoia China, Jingwei China, Nanshan capital and Zhenge fund have bet on the track to stir up the metaverse concept in the A-share market.

In the dispute over whether metaverse is a concept or a product, the first domestic metaverse product also appeared at the end of the year. On December 21, baidu metaverse product “xirang” was officially opened for targeted internal testing. On December 27, “xirang” was open to all users. Baidu create 2021 was held in “xirang”, which was the first large-scale conference held in metaverse in China.

Although the existing metaverse products are not perfect, with the increase of players on this broad road, higher-stage metaverse products will appear in the near future.

Capital speculation

The tentacles of capital are always the sharpest. When people are still thinking about what metaverse is, capital has already opened up a battlefield.

In December, rec room, a social game platform, completed a new round of financing with a total amount of $145 million, and Sequoia Capital appeared as an investor again. In March 2021, Sequoia Capital led the investment in rec room’s financing of $1.25 billion.

Xinghan capital participated in the A2 round of financing of entertainment interactive technology company RCT AI in May 2021. Five source capital even invested almost all the key areas of metaverse track, including oasis VR in the social field, bolygon as a game engine, super parameters of AI game projects, etc. In addition, frontline investment institutions such as Hillhouse capital, Zhenge fund, Xianfeng evergreen and Chenxing capital have opened the layout of metaverse track, involving enterprises from virtual social platforms and virtual idols to game companies and VR / AR projects.

In the secondary market, although the A-share market fluctuates frequently, the metaverse plate often outshines others. The metaverse concept shows a leading rotation, from zhongqingbao to Jiachuang video, to Chinese online, to Meisheng culture. As different companies act as leaders, the metaverse concept stock sector continues to explode.

However, behind the capital speculation, some metaverse concept stock companies have no products, and even some companies have frequent negative news.

On September 6, 2021, zhongqingbao, the No. 1 seed player of metaverse, announced on the official wechat that it would soon launch a metaverse game “Brewing Master” of virtual and real dream linkage simulation operation. In the following two trading days (September 7 and September 8), zhongqingbao rose the limit continuously. Due to the change of stock price, the supervision letter of Shenzhen Stock Exchange also came.

It was also mentioned in zhongqingbao’s reply to the inquiry “Metaverse is a huge concept and model. The company is still in the preliminary exploration stage, the concept is relatively shallow, the corresponding products are still under research and development, and the launch time and region of new games are also affected by many factors. There are great uncertainties in the project implementation progress, whether it can achieve the expected effect of the company and whether it can meet the needs of the future market. Even if the above conditions are not met Satisfied, the company still does not rule out the possibility that there is a large gap between related products and metaverse. ” Although the brewing master game is still under development, the metaverse concept has not brought profits to zhongqingbao for the time being, and attention has been paid frequently, it can not stop the rise of zhongqingbao.

Meisheng culture was involved in the focus of public opinion because six investments were questioned in the first half of the year. Three independent directors stood up and said: “according to the information currently available, we believe that these six investments belong to the deliberate illegal operation of the company to achieve the purpose of capital occupation or benefit transmission of the actual controller.”

Shenyang, executive director of the new media research center of the school of journalism of Tsinghua University, believes that some companies that start rubbing against metaverse hot spots without metaverse related products will return to rationality with the passage of time, and some investors will inevitably be cut leeks during this period; On the other hand, some companies start to innovate metaverse products after raising funds, which requires investors to screen.

Metaverse products

When the capital market hypes indiscriminately, head technology companies are exploring the landing of metaverse products.

On December 21, baidu metaverse product “xirang” was officially opened for targeted internal testing. On December 27, “xirang” was open to all users. Baidu create 2021 was held in “xirang”, which was the first large-scale conference held in metaverse in China.

In an interview with Huaxia times, Shenyang analyzed that there are different stages of metaverse. Baidu “xirang” belongs to the basic metaverse application that has just started.

Shenyang said that metaverse applications are divided into several categories. The first category is pseudo metaverse applications. Many companies claim to be metaverse, but actually they don’t have metaverse products; The second category is quasi metaverse applications on mobile phones and PCs, which have the characteristics of open world attributes, a large number of virtual humans, blockchain technology applications and so on; The third category is the entry-level basic metaverse application, which needs the support of XR equipment. If Baidu’s “xirang” supports XR equipment, it can be regarded as an entry-level basic metaverse application. Although the product is not perfect, from the perspective of China, baidu is the first large application company to launch an application close to the concept of metaverse.

“If metaverse develops better and has all the basic elements, and the senses expand from vision and hearing to tactile and other multi-dimensional experience, it is divided into AR and VR, which are the more advanced metaverse applications; when it comes to the brain computer interface, it is the more advanced metaverse applications. Now the digital immortality in science fiction films will also be realized in the future It’s possible. ” Shenyang added.

Metaverse, a huge and uncertain concept, includes underlying technical support such as blockchain, NFT, artificial intelligence, 5g, Internet of things, visualization and digital twins, front-end device platforms such as VR, AR, neural devices and intelligent wearable, as well as scene content portals such as games, social networking, cinemas and advertising networks, The breakthrough in each link pushes metaverse forward.

Shenyang analysts believe that from the perspective of the path from VR to metaverse, many VR devices currently use Qualcomm XR chips, which has room for progress in computing power enhancement, optical lens refresh rate, resolution improvement, application of artificial intelligence, etc; From the path from AR to metaverse, although ar has developed for many years, no large manufacturer has launched practical products for C-end. After Google launched ar products for C-end for a period of time, it turned back to b-end, because it is very important for large technology companies to launch devices with real practical value.

Controversy and the sea of stars

As a new thing, metaverse has been controversial. People have ambiguous attitudes towards metaverse. However, with the gradual acceptance of new things, metaverse also hides the vision of human stars and sea.

The fastest change of attitude towards metaverse is Zhou hongdiao, founder of 360. In less than two months, he changed from shelling and questioning metaverse to embracing.

Zhou Hongluo said in the “dialogue” program broadcast by CCTV on November 20 that the concept of metaverse has been very hot recently, and many people have found new ways to circle money. For the idea of Facebook, he believes that it does not represent the future of mankind, but the decline of mankind. “If everyone lives in an illusory space, it will not bring real development to human society.”

On December 10, Zhou Hongluo also said that “metaverse may face huge security risks”. He divided metaverse into four categories: Games, decentralized virtual financial system, rub concept and virtual community. On December 28, Zhou hongxie also said that “metaverse is the product of the advanced stage of digital development. I oppose metaverse that is divorced from reality and addicted to the virtual world, but I agree with industrial metaverse, which serves the real economy, the manufacturing industry and the digital transformation of various traditional industries”.

In Shenyang’s view, metaverse is not completely independent of the real parallel world, but the space-time of virtual reality symbiosis. He further explained that the emergence of metaverse will increase people’s immersion in the virtual world, but the depth of this immersion must match our productivity, not from reality to virtual. From our point of view, the key to the construction process of metaverse should not only emphasize people’s sense of experience in the virtual world, but also emphasize the improvement of people’s perception of the real world and the virtual world, If people’s perception improves fast enough, people don’t want to be in the virtual world all the time.

Shenyang depicts a possible vision of metaverse. “Human beings lie at home and send robots to Mars to depict the three-dimensional space of Mars and transmit it to human intelligent glasses and VR helmets in real time, so as to truly feel Mars. When human beings are on the earth, they can explore and experience the sea of stars.”