VR has entered the top two superpowers. Who will become the “number one player” of metaverse

As Facebook changed its name to meta and shifted its business focus from social products to metaverse business, oculus Quest II, launched two years ago, finally ushered in a peak in sales. At the same time, the appearance of the original VR game “half life: Alex”, which valve has made every effort to build, has made the fine content waiting for many years show its true appearance.

In China, platforms such as byte beating and iqiyi are also competing for metaverse tickets, accelerating the layout of metaverse such as VR, digital collection and social networking. Not long ago, iqiyi released the original virtual idol IP parasitic panda producer C Digital Collection blind box. This is also the first batch of trendy digital collections that iqiyi started to build after launching the first national style digital collection of “the wind rises from Luoyang”. At the beginning of this year, byte beat not only launched metaverse social app “Party Island”, but also exclusively invested in AI virtual digital man Li Weike.

For the most important entrance of metaverse, VR track, byte beat and iqiyi took the lead in completing the “boarding”. According to the quarterly tracking report on the global AR / VR head display market, the fourth quarter of 2021, released by the well-known data agency IDC, iqiyi’s adventure VR and Pico jointly carved up more than half of the market share in China’s VR market (online e-commerce) shipments in 2021.

With more cost-effective hardware and the emergence of real “killer content”, more and more signs show that the VR industry has really begun to enter the mature stage of the mass market in terms of hardware and software, and the industry has formed a two strong leading pattern.

However, for the broader metaverse, doing a good job in hardware is often only the first step. How to stimulate the sustainable development of the whole content ecology through the combination of software and hardware will be the core that big manufacturers need to pay attention to in the future competition.

Oculus opens the era of metaverse, and VR boom returns

After being acquired by Facebook, oculus failed to realize the expectations of Facebook and quickly lead VR to become the next generation super platform, although it seemed to be in the limelight for a long time. Within a few years, we can only continue to rely on Facebook’s large investment to make a living. Fortunately, with the continuous maturity of chips and corresponding technologies, the two generations of devices before and after oculus quest finally bring a glimmer of hope to the company.

According to the latest IDC global AR / VR headset quarterly tracking report, in 2021, the global augmented reality and virtual reality (AR / VR) headset market increased by 92.1% year-on-year, and the shipment volume reached 11.23 million units. This is the biggest year of shipment growth since 2016, and the Christmas holiday is the main boost to the industry, as almost half of the annual shipments are reached in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Superdata, an overseas research organization, believes that behind the ultra-high sales volume of oculus Quest 2 is the match between its low price strategy and entry-level players. When it went on sale last year, oculus Quest 2 64GB version was priced at US $300, about RMB 1937, while the 256gb version was priced at US $400, about RMB 2583, making VR enter the mass consumption level.

On the other hand, the emergence of new content, such as beat saber and half life: Alex, gives game lovers a reason to have to start VR devices. According to the data of oculus official blog, so far, beat saber has sold a total of 4 million copies on various platforms, which has doubled compared with the 2 million sales data released last March. Driven by the strong sales of Quest 2, there are more than 100 games with a revenue of more than $1 million on the quest platform.

IDC predicts that in 2022, the global shipment of VR head displays will reach 15.73 million units, with a year-on-year increase of 43.6%. This renewed VR boom is not limited to foreign countries. In the domestic market, there are also consumer VR products similar to oculus quest, and gradually began to cultivate another large content consumption market.

Through the cold winter, the two domestic VR giants hold up half the sky

In 2016, China ushered in the “first year of VR”. This year, virtual reality was included in a number of national policy documents such as the 13th five year plan for informatization. Startups have sprung up. According to public data, there were more than 3000 startups in the domestic VR industry in 2016.

VR products of HTC, Samsung, Sony and other companies have been shipped in the Chinese market one after another. In the same year, domestic giants such as Xiaomi, Huawei and iqiyi also announced their entry into the VR market. Subsequently, domestic VR enterprises have sprung up.

However, the cooling is much faster than expected. For a long time, VR products have many problems, including strong dizziness, low resolution, large volume, expensive price and so on, resulting in unsatisfactory shipment. In the first quarter of 2017, the amount of venture capital of global VR / AR plummeted by 80% year-on-year, and the industry began to enter a cold winter.

However, with the improvement of 5g and industry technology level, VR confirmed itself with shipment this time and stood at the wind outlet again. What really excites the industry is that some qualitative changes have taken place in the VR field. Domestic VR hardware products also begin to have products comparable to oculus level, and the whole industry has begun to lead the benign competition and lead the general trend of industry reform.

As IDC analysts mentioned in their latest report, driven by the concept of metaverse, the domestic VR market has also undergone many changes in 2021: for example, the release rhythm of new products of major brands has accelerated, the price has dropped significantly, the content ecological investment of hardware manufacturers has increased, the marketing mode has diversified, the sales channel has diversified, and so on.

At the beginning of 2021, iqiyi’s independent company Dream bloom (formerly iqiyi Intelligence) announced the completion of round B financing of hundreds of millions of yuan; In March of the same year, Pico announced that it had completed the round B + financing of RMB 242 million. Half a year later, Pico issued a letter to all members, disclosing that the company had been acquired.

It is these two VR enterprises that have attracted much attention in the capital market that have made the best hardware products in the domestic market, and gradually began to show the leading pattern of the two.

At the beginning of 2021, adventure VR released the first CV (computer vision) head hand 6DOF VR interactive technology in China – light tracing, and then released the first new product equipped with light tracing scheme – Adventure 3. This new product can be seen clearly from the shape and parameters. It is a VR hardware product that is benchmarking and even aims to surpass oculus Quest 2.

(Adventure 3)

Almost at the same time, Pico also released its third-generation product Neo 3. Almost both of them have surpassed oculus Quest 2 at the hardware level, and gradually with the decline of hardware cost, the introduction of more entry-level products and the emergence of intensive marketing, VR hardware began to be popularized rapidly in the domestic market.

  (Pico Neo3)

At the end of last year, the dream bloomed and entered metaverse in an all-round way. At the same time, it also launched a new generation of VR all-in-one machine – Adventure dream, which adopts the mainstream configuration. The biggest highlight is that its price has reached 1999 yuan and entered the very important level of 2000 yuan. This price directly opens up the consumer market.

The sales data also verify the success of this parity product strategy. According to the data of IDC, a data agency, in terms of the domestic market, iqiyi adventure, a local manufacturer, performed strongly in the fourth quarter, with omni-channel sales up 475.9% year-on-year and a market share of 22.5%, leading the industry. Throughout the year, iqiyi adventure VR accounted for 27.4% of online e-commerce channels, ranking second in the industry.

At the same time, the two companies are also constantly improving their content ecology to bring more continuous content support to users. Through self-development + introduction of two modes, the number of games in VR large app stores will continue to increase in 2021. At present, there is little difference in the hardware configuration of mainstream all-in-one products in the domestic market. Manufacturers began to focus on the ecological construction of application content in their application stores, focusing on improving the number and quality of games.

For example, adventure has cooperated with more than 100 high-quality developers at home and abroad. More than 60 high-quality games have been launched on the platform, and the capacity has been rapidly expanded at the rate of 3-5 new games per month. Not long ago, adventure also introduced the 3A VR action FPS game after the fall. At the same time, adventure also launched a “Columbus plan” to recruit global VR game developers early, providing SDK development tools closest to oculus quest, allowing developers to transplant their own games to adventure VR app store at the lowest cost, and showed sincerity in distribution and sharing.

More importantly, the platform is still bringing benefits to users who are willing to try fresh food as much as possible. For example, when Adventure 3 was released, it brought 30 well-made free VR games and promised to launch free games every month in the future. These measures will undoubtedly further stimulate users’ enthusiasm for VR.

In order to make VR really go out of the small circle of geeks, Pico and adventure VR have also made a lot of efforts in mass marketing, making the new generation of VR products gradually “out of the circle”.

In the fourth quarter of 2021, Pico launched a large-scale marketing offensive as the acquisition of Pico was coming to an end. Tiktok, a powerful Pico traffic support, has gained a lot of resources in the platform of jitter, volcano and video. Offline, Pico has also arranged a large number of offline experience points this year, which will further expand the contact between products and users and accelerate the popularization of VR product experience. Under such efforts, there is also news that byte beat has raised the original 2022 VR sales target from 1 million units to about 1.8 million units.

Compared with Pico, which relies more on byte traffic and capital, adventure VR focuses its market power on product breaking Marketing – breaking through the circle of professional and head VR lovers to a wider range of mass users.

In March this year, the exclusive edition of adventure dream launched the activity of “300 day Sports punch in and return all purchase money”, which has a very significant profit making effect. It is reported that after the event went online, the reservation volume has exceeded the official expectation, and the replenishment for many times during the period is empty. The official then announced that it was expected that the products could be supplied on a large scale in early April.

It can be said that more daily marketing means and diversified sales are making VR devices gradually enter the vision of ordinary people like smart phones in the past, which is undoubtedly the most favorable situation for market popularization.

Xiong Wen, CEO of dream bloom, said at last year’s new product launch that metaverse is the next generation of the Internet, VR is the next generation computing platform, and the combination of “VR and metaverse” is just like the “smart phone and mobile Internet” of that year. VR is the entrance to metaverse and the terminal of metaverse, and metaverse will also make VR a universal product.

Holding the VR knocker, iqiyi boarded metaverse

Of course, for an entertainment platform like iqiyi, winning the VR track obviously has a deeper significance. This means that the “apple orchard” ecology laid out by iqiyi for many years has begun to accelerate the fission. VR will not only become another important window for iqiyi’s content distribution, but also constitute a new foundation for the metaverse generation.

As a video streaming media platform, making content itself is iqiyi’s specialty. Therefore, in addition to the hardware layout of adventure VR, iqiyi has also started a VR content ecology with drama, film, integration and tourism as the main body. It is understood that at the end of 2020, iqiyi set up VR full sense entertainment Studio – split environment studio, focusing on providing VR works, full sense design, operation technology and other comprehensive support.

Public information shows that online, iqiyi has created a number of VR derived interactive dramas around the popular drama integrated IP, and the original 360 ° panoramic immersive 8K VR interactive film “killing big stars” won the “best VR feature film” award at the 77th Venice International Film Festival.

Offline, iqiyi’s self-made full sense large space VR game “doomsday rescue 2071” landed in Shanghai last year. Its immersive full sense entertainment solution further expands the imagination space of VR market. Iqiyi has also revealed that it will land a VR full sense interactive film offline based on the IP of “the wind rises in Luoyang”.

Relying on iqiyi’s content advantages, adventure VR wisely starts from iqut’s future cinema carrying ultra-high definition video content. Although it is different from the game ecology, it makes great use of iqiyi’s own advantages.

In fact, it’s just like that the streaming media ecology ultimately needs to integrate the three links of production, distribution and projection. VR also needs to have enough attraction and competitiveness at both ends of software and hardware, so as to truly form an influential platform ecology and take the lead in the layout of metaverse in the future. From the current industry ecology, domestic iqiyi is taking a road of combining soft and hard.

Iqiyi itself is at the forefront of exploration on how to continuously apply technology to content in order to make users feel immersed. At the beginning of last year, iqiyi provided its partial realization of “metaverse” through XR “virtual and real city” project: to create a set of general solutions and expand the existing content IP technology, so as to create an experience comparable to “metaverse” in a specific scene.

It can be predicted that “XR” + film and television dramas, variety shows, dramas, concerts, sports competitions… Each combination may become one of the “metaverse” components. With the further popularization of VR devices and the high-precision gesture recognition that iqiyi can complete on future devices based on lower cost in-depth learning algorithm, it will greatly enhance the corresponding “immersion experience” not only in movies and games, but also in more use scenes or hardware terminals.

The VR industry may be in its most appropriate position now, which will not attract excessive attention from the outside world and cause too high expectations, but also show the latest progress and achievements at the right time.

Nowadays, metaverse, as the first-line entertainment in China, still adheres to the “hard ticket” of VR content.

Sina statement: Sina’s posting of this article for the purpose of transmitting more information does not mean that it agrees with its views or confirms its description.