Deloitte metaverse industry in-depth research report: vision, technology and response

(report produced by Deloitte)

1、 Vision and value

1. Where does metaverse go — the definition and four meanings of metaverse

At present, it is in the embryonic stage of metaverse. There is no unified standard for the definition and understanding of metaverse in the industry. It is a situation in which a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend. David basuki, CEO of roblox, proposed the eight elements required for metaverse: identity, social interaction, immersion, low delay, diversification, anywhere, economic system and civilization. Matthew ball, a famous analyst, proposed that metaverse should have the following six characteristics: sustainability, real-time, no access restrictions, economic function, connectivity and creativity. Jon radoff, founder of beamable, proposed seven levels of metaverse Construction: experience, discovery, creator economy, spatial computing, decentralization, human-computer interaction and infrastructure. In China, some institutions put forward that metaverse is a new Internet application and social form that integrates virtual reality and a variety of new technologies; Some institutions put forward that “metaverse” is a virtual space parallel to and independent of the real world. It is an online virtual world mapping the real world and an increasingly real digital virtual world.

Different understandings and definitions of metaverse come from different perspectives on metaverse, including experience, technology and rules. Because these perspectives are not in one dimension, it is difficult to give a concise, definite and unified definition. Starting from the original intention of “meta + verse”, Deloitte defines and envisages the future of metaverse, that is, metaverse is a “world of virtual and real integration”, which includes four meanings: virtual world of simulated reality, innovative virtual world, real world (also a part of metauniverse) The integration of virtual and real world (will be higher / higher than a single virtual or real world).

The four meanings are specified as follows:

Meaning 1: virtual world simulating reality

Metaverse will include a virtual world simulating the real world, with all the elements of the real world, including identity, business, entertainment, social networking, civilization, governance, and one of the most important characteristics of the real world – feeling. This is an important starting point for understanding and imagining the future development direction of metaverse. At present, the public’s impression and perception of the meta universe are more from games or social applications. Metaverse’s future goes far beyond that.

The full simulation and mirror image of the virtual world to the real world is an extension of the avalanche scene originated by metaverse. Neil Stephenson’s novel avalanche describes such a virtual world: the protagonist comes to a commercial block, the Champs Elysees in metaverse; The streets are long, 65536 kilometers; There are a lot of people (millions of people, more than a number of reality) walking through the commercial block; There are many shops in the block; The opening of these stores requires the approval of a third party, and then buy street land, obtain relevant licenses, bribe inspectors and so on. Humans walk and interact in this block through digital avatars. The author calls this world the meta universe. In this virtual world, there are many core elements of real society, such as blocks, social networking, commercial real estate development, commercial activities and so on.

Meaning 2: innovative virtual world

Metaverse includes an innovative virtual world with people, goods, environment, rules and so on. This innovative world also has all the elements of the real world. Different from the virtual world simulating the real world, these innovative virtual people, objects and environments have no corresponding actual characters, objects and environments in the real world. People can fly in the sky, give full play to human imagination and creativity, and create these virtual people, objects and environments. Deloitte believes that the innovative virtual world can be disassembled into three directions of innovation: new subject, new rules and new wisdom.

The new subject refers to the objects created by the virtual world, such as virtual human (no corresponding person in the real world), virtual object (no corresponding object in the real world) and virtual environment (natural environment and social environment that do not exist in the real world). In the metaverse world, new “people” will appear. They are not the embodiment of anyone in the real world, but people created by the virtual world and only exist in the virtual world. For example, Cui Xiaopan, a virtual digital employee, won the best newcomer award of Vanke headquarters in 2021.

New rules refer to: 1) new physical rules that can be realized only in virtual space; 2) New governance rules brought by metaverse. The new physical rules mean that the virtual world liberates part of the space-time regulation in the real world. People in the virtual world can not only simulate the walking, running and jumping of the real world, but also fly or move instantaneously, bringing unprecedented physical experience. The new governance rules refer to the development from centralized form to decentralized rules.

New wisdom refers to: 1) developers and users constantly create innovative wisdom; 2) The wisdom of artificial intelligence. In the virtual world, people’s productivity has been liberated to a certain extent. Everyone can be a creator and everything can be created. Taking UGC / PgC platform and NFT as an example, everyone can register as the creator of the community in various forms, such as pictures, audio and video, arts, virtual real estate and buildings, and can be traded as NFT. The intelligence of artificial intelligence refers to the era of post artificial intelligence. Not only human beings can think, but also virtual systems have strong thinking ability, which can replace people’s judgment of decision-making. In addition to thinking, virtual people can even feel, and can interact with the surrounding people and environment.

The innovation “new subject”, “new rule” and “new wisdom” in the above three directions belong to the innovation that has been realized, partially realized and is expected to be realized. The innovation power of the meta universe is endless, depending on the height that human beings can imagine. Maintaining expectation and curiosity is our best attitude to embrace metaverse.

Meaning 3: metaverse includes the real world

In the future, all elements of the real world will mirror in the virtual world and interact with the real world to produce meaning and value. In this sense, metaverse includes the real world.

Meaning 4: fusion of virtual reality and Transcendence of reality

Virtual reality integration and interaction.

In the long run, the virtual world and the real world will form close integration and interaction – from virtual to real, from real to virtual, there is real in virtual, and there is virtual in real. One example is the coexistence of robots in the devil terminator in the real and virtual worlds. Based on this integration and interaction, we say that the real world is also a part of metaverse. This kind of integration and interaction will surpass a single real world or virtual world, which is also the original meaning of the word “meta”, which is higher / higher than. The industry also defines metaverse from the perspective of the degree of “virtual real integration”. For example, the moment when the dependence on the virtual world exceeds the dependence on the real world, it is regarded as officially entering the era of metaverse.

As mentioned above, the virtual world will have 11 elements of the real world. In the dimension of these 11 elements (natural environment, natural person, social body, goods, business environment, social system, economic system, enterprise production system, personal production system, civilization system and governance system), there will be the integration and interaction between the virtual world and the real world. Fusion can be divided into four levels according to the degree of difficulty, which are as follows:

The integration and interaction of production systems with relatively low integration difficulty is supported by virtual reality. For example, digital twin technology produces digital deconstruction and Simulation of mechanical equipment, which is used to support the operation state prediction and maintenance of mechanical equipment. Virtual support and real empowerment of real economy is one of the important purposes of integration. At present, it has been explored in many production application scenarios;

The medium integration difficulty is the virtual real integration of unified coding rules and identification system (for the integration of environment, people, goods, social body and business environment), value exchange (the integration and interaction of virtual and real economy), and NFT related copyright (virtual IP and real IP);

The closer it is to the essence of the real world and the more difficult it is to integrate the virtual reality with the internal logic, such as social / social rules and civilized rules, which require a long time of thinking, collision and polishing;

The integration of governance rules is the ultimate and core issue of metaverse. The integration of governance rules is more reflected in the governance debate, that is, who will ultimately govern the metaverse in the future, the human beings in the metaverse, the rules of a meta universe, or the decentralized unified rules. Dare to imagine that the governance rules of metaverse world will even affect and oppress the real world to a certain extent in the future.

People will freely participate in the meta universe with a specific digital identity, and can participate in the interaction of the real world with a virtual identity. By connecting several closed personal virtual spaces separated from each other, a larger virtual community space can be formed, and connecting multiple virtual community spaces can form a larger and more yuan virtual social space; Money, attributes, environment, events and other information can be mapped between heterogeneous space and homogeneous heterogeneous space, so as to realize information jump and virtual space-time shuttle.

The entrance to the fusion of virtual and real.

There are two kinds of virtual and real interaction portals for metaverse: the first is the application of digital tools, including various portable and wearable AR / VR devices, etc.; the second is the application of brain computer interface technology to directly provide relevant electrical signals to the human brain through the wireless brain computer interface for real-time and barrier free information exchange, so as to enter metaverse freely. In terms of business model, there are two occasions to enter metaverse. One is personal occasions, whether at home, in office or in natural environment, individuals can enter the virtual world through virtual and real interaction tools; Second, in public places, a third party will provide “metaverse” entrance for people to enter, some of which are like the current personal KTV cabin or script killing space.

Metaverse realizes the integration and interaction between the virtual world and the real world through two development paths: from reality to virtual and from virtual to real. From real to virtual, that is, the real scene superimposes the immersive digital experience, such as virtual education, virtual training, virtual mall, etc.

From virtual to reality, that is, the extension of the virtual world to reality. For example, the virtual game Niantic lightship advocates people’s contact with people and things in the real world through technologies such as real-world map positioning, environment and object recognition and judgment, real-time interactive sharing and so on.

Feature 1: realistic immersive experience

Realistic immersion experience is mainly reflected in sensory fidelity and object fidelity. This is one of the key factors for the outbreak of metaverse fever.

Sensory fidelity means that metaverse promotes the 2D plane experience of the Internet to 3D, 4D or even higher levels. The senses brought by the Internet to players are mainly visual and auditory. For example, the vast majority of video games are substituted into players through 2D pictures and sound effects. A few games add pressure and shock, but their sensory experience is far from the real body and touch. With the development of somatosensory devices, digital olfaction, digital taste, brain computer combination and other technologies, the ideal metaverse can integrate vision, hearing, touch, smell, taste and ideas, in which players can get unlimited feelings close to reality, which is sensory fidelity.

Object fidelity refers to the use of digital twin technology to create digital virtual objects in virtual space on the one hand, which forms a mapping relationship with objects in physical space in terms of shape, texture, behavior and even development law. On the other hand, metaverse is a world that can run completely, span the real and virtual world, and always be online in real time. Endless people can participate in it at the same time, and can connect and communicate. In terms of the six characteristics summarized by the famous analyst Matthew ball, they are sustainability, real-time, no access restrictions, connectivity and creativity, Therefore, metaverse can give users a feeling that the surrounding environment and things are real.

Immersive experience for personal sensory experience is easier to understand. The following describes the immersive experience of metaverse, which simulates the production process. Production metaverse takes digital twinning as the core technology to simulate the production environment, production process and production object.

The first is the integration of virtual and real symbiosis in the R & D stage. Remote R & D personnel can enter the virtual world together as a virtual identity for product planning and design. The overall planning and design products are displayed in the form of 3D, which supports the timely change of product structure and solves the practical problems such as long product trial production cycle and unstable manufacturing process.

The second is the virtual reality symbiosis in the manufacturing stage. Through the highly Internet of things digital twin system, the production and manufacturing management with high immersion and full real-time data simulation is realized. Employees conduct production, manufacturing, monitoring and command in real factories or directly through virtual factories through AR, which greatly improves the operation efficiency of on-site personnel and the management efficiency of remote managers.

The third is the virtual reality symbiosis at the sales end. It is divided into three different virtual and real symbiotic applications during sales, in use and after-sales maintenance, which support the interaction between employees and customers in the virtual world or real world.

The last is the virtual and real symbiosis in the internal operation and management of the enterprise. Support employees to create and customize virtual offices, and have a friendly avatar, which can communicate freely and solve management problems in the virtual space.

The underlying technical architecture and technology of production oriented metaverse immersive experience and human sensory experience coincide to a great extent.

Feature 2: complete world structure

Unlike Internet 1.0 / 2.0, metaverse’s virtual world will have all the elements of the real world. The existing Internet world represented by media, social networking, e-commerce and industrial Internet is a narrow world, mainly corresponding to some social networking, wholesale and retail and production links in the real world. Such elements as real estate development, government governance and social civilization are not clearly reflected in the existing Internet world. Metaverse will be a complete replica of the real world, simulating all the elements of the whole real world. The real world mainly has 11 elements: natural environment, natural person, social body (government, institution, community, school, enterprise, etc.), goods, business environment, social system, economic system, enterprise production system, personal production system, civilization system and governance system (government); Metaverse’s virtual world will have 11 corresponding virtual elements: virtual natural environment, virtual human (identity recognition), virtual social body (virtual government, institution, community, school, enterprise, etc.), virtual goods, virtual business environment (business facility construction and environment recognition), virtual social system (social and social rules) Virtual economy (transaction rules, virtual currency), virtual enterprise production system (production rules), virtual personal production system (personal creation), virtual civilization system (language, custom, culture) and virtual governance system (decentralized governance system).

Feature 3: huge economic value

From the content of metaverse, the value of metaverse comes from five parts:

Social economy: tickets for different social scenes have social circle value;

Land economy: the natural scarcity of geographical space and the effect of industrial agglomeration will make the land value in metaverse highly differentiated;

Identity image: the experience revolves around the avatar image, which will become a field of capital concern;

Digital goods economy: the value of NFT digital goods;

Financial economy: the value brought by financial investment and speculative opportunities.

In essence, like the value source of the real world, metaverse’s value also comes from scarcity, that is, the exclusiveness, competitiveness and space-time scarcity of things. Many people believe that as a digital virtual space, like the Internet, digital assets will be inexhaustible and can be easily copied, pasted and occupied for their own use. However, it is precisely not. The creators of metaverse space will give metaverse scarcity through various technical means, such as information non-proliferation technology Homomorphic encryption, privacy computing technology, code chain non-homogeneous certificate, etc. manage the rights of digital assets, so that the data can be used, invisible and cannot be tampered with.

But compared with the real world, metaverse widens this scarcity, which makes metaverse possible to surpass the economic value of the real world. First, metaverse has strong digital productivity. Everyone can create in metaverse, with various forms and value; Second, metaverse broadens the boundary of scarcity in the real world. Scarcity mainly occurs in two aspects: scarcity caused by limited natural factors and scarcity caused by political and legal systems. Both of these two aspects of scarcity in metaverse may be widened and produce great value; Third, the meta universe can be flexibly created and traded, supporting trading within a single virtual world, trading between the virtual world and the virtual world, and trading between the virtual world and the real world.

Feature 4: new operating rules

Although the virtual world is a complete simulation of the real world, the people who created metaverse hope that the operation rules of the community or world in the metaverse virtual world can be different from the centralized rules of the real world and run on the basis of decentralization.

For example, in order to avoid the restrictions on the social distance between people in the virtual world and those in the real world, metaverse will bring greater restrictions on the creation of social distance in the virtual world.

We have many problems in the real world, such as uneven distribution of resources, wide gap between the rich and the poor and so on. If metaverse still cannot change the centralized attribute, it will not only fail to optimize the problems in the real world, but will make the problems more prominent. For example, in the real world, the powerful and powerful people use the resources or reputation in the real world to quickly accumulate a large amount of wealth, and even set the power biased virtual world operation rules to absorb wealth, and then feed back these wealth to the real world. In this way, metaverse has become the executioner of making the distribution of resources more uneven and widening the gap between the rich and the poor. The meaning of the meta universe as another “parallel universe” is to weaken the “central privilege” of the real world to some extent. The decentralized organization (DAO) will not be controlled by any country or company. The members of the organization can produce and create in the virtual space. Whoever creates more value will have more in the world. Moreover, metaverse’s world will always record the relationship between the creator and his creation. If others want to obtain the right of use and ownership, they must pay the corresponding price, In the centralized game world, all game props can be copied and used, and can be copied almost at zero cost.

Feature 5: potential uncertainty

The core issue of metaverse is the governance structure, that is, who is the tip of the pyramid in the governance structure in the future.

The governance structure in metaverse is staggered. On the one hand, the virtual world is managed by real people. Most of the early metaverse showed this governance structure. Real people wrote code to create the virtual world and simply managed ordinary users; On the other hand, real people are restricted and managed by the virtual world, and behind the virtual world managers who manage the real world people are another part (possibly a small part) of the real world people and the rules of the virtual world they make.

Who is the top of the governance structure in the future? The essence of this problem is the problem since the emergence of AI. Whether humans will rule robots in the future or whether humans will eventually create a robot beyond humans themselves may not be human’s original intention, but the self-learning ability of AI makes these robots surpass human wisdom and ability and finally rule the whole world. The reason why this problem is important is that the virtual world in metaverse is not “virtual”, it is real and has great economic and ruling power. At present, some rudiments of metaverse, such as online game purchase of virtual props, online community purchase of real estate, virtual currency transaction, have shown the economic ability of the virtual world, which will increase sharply in the future; At the same time, the number of users of the global Internet giant has exceeded that of any country in the world. In the future, who has the final say in the virtual world, the economic dividend in the virtual world is actually the one who is the creator of all Metaverse, and is thinking about the design of Metaverse.

3. The value of metaverse

In the long run, the value that metaverse can bring to people is multifaceted, spiritual and material, including five aspects:

Entertainment: Games and social activities, in which players can get immersive and realistic experience, resulting in a pleasant experience of games and social interaction;

Experience second life: creative collaboration platform, where creators build their own personal world in virtual space, so that individuals have the opportunity to experience life different from the real world;

Promote the efficiency of the real world: education, production and other fields are not limited by time and space, upgrade experience, improve production efficiency and enhance effect;

Have new wealth: virtual currency, trading virtual goods, etc., an opportunity for wealth reshuffle;

Have new influence and social status: virtual community, opportunities to obtain different social status.

Because of these values, although the upsurge of metaverse is temporarily weakened, there will still be great potential for fluctuation outbreak and rise in the future.

4. The bottleneck of metaverse’s current development

Metaverse is currently in its infancy, and the market has given great expectations that the ideal metaverse will come in the future. Deloitte also described our vision for the future of metaverse through the above contents. However, metaverse will continue to encounter and break through various bottlenecks in the process of becoming mature. The most prominent bottlenecks at this stage are mainly reflected in five aspects:

The first is the connection entrance problem. At present, the main way for people to enter the metauniverse is still to wear devices and human-computer interaction. In the future, the way to enter metaverse and interact will be more flexible and convenient. Like the meeting of the hero League in the Avengers, there is no need to wear bulky devices. After connecting directly, the virtual image of the other party will appear in front of you, and your virtual image will also appear in the space of the other party, And simulation interaction can be realized. At present, VR / AR has developed towards lightweight and convenience. It is expected that AR contact lenses will develop mature within 10 years. Generally speaking, there are still major technical constraints, and more innovative thinking is also needed.

The second is industry application. At present, metaverse is mainly used in entertainment, social networking, games, NFT art and other fields, and its integration with production and manufacturing is not close enough. Metaverse’s real-time sustainability, digital twinning, integrated reality and other characteristics have deep application prospects in production and manufacturing. At present, limited by the ability of technology, its potential is far from being tapped.

The third is information security. The problems of network security and data privacy have become more and more serious in recent years. The sustainability, real-time, connectivity and creativity of metaverse show that the amount of data will increase exponentially, and the access and use of data will be more frequent. Therefore, how to balance the relationship between metaverse and information security while developing metaverse is a subject that needs to be considered prospectively.

The fourth is the problem of rule design. As mentioned above, the virtual world has various elements corresponding to the real world one by one, so how to design the social rules, economic rules, business rules, cultural system and governance system of the virtual world needs long-term research, exploration and trial and error. If it is too conservative, the construction of metaverse will not meet expectations, and if it is too radical, it will intensify contradictions, Even threaten the real world.

The fifth is energy supply. Metaverse’s complex operation mechanism needs to consume a lot of network resources, storage resources and computing resources. Its stable operation is inseparable from the construction of new infrastructure. The current construction of 5g base station, big data center and super / Intelligent Computing Center is far from meeting the conditions required by metaverse. In addition, under the trend of global carbon neutrality, how to build and operate infrastructure in a green way also needs to be taken into account. (report)