2021 is regarded as the “first year of the Metaverse”, and as this year draws to a close, new momentum has emerged regarding the development of the Metaverse in China.
On December 30, 2021, the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Information Technology issued the “14th Five-Year Plan for the Development of Shanghai Electronic Information Manufacturing Industry”. This plan proposes to strengthen the forward-looking research and development of Metaverse’s underlying core technology and basic capabilities, promote the development of new terminals that deepen perception and interaction, and systematically build virtual content, and explore industry applications.
This is the first time that Metaverse has been written into the local “14th Five-Year Plan” industrial plan in China.
In July 2022, Shanghai introduced an action plan for cultivating a new “Metaverse” track, proposing that by 2025, the scale of Shanghai’s Metaverse industry will reach 350 billion yuan.
It is not difficult to see that after the infiltration of the “metaverse first year”, the “metaverse” seems to be more widely spread today in 2022. When it comes to this word, technology companies, Internet companies and government departments have their own layouts and plans. Of course, compared to the mere hype of the concept, the Metaverse has gone one step further: at least from the point of view of Shanghai’s action plan, its related industries will create considerable economic value in the near future.
From virtual reality, VR or AR devices, to blockchain… these all seem to have something to do with the metaverse. But it is not easy to come up with a precise definition of the metaverse, or to understand the new word in essence.
The metaverse is very popular and has been mentioned on various occasions, but it is still mysterious; the metaverse is getting more and more popular, but the misunderstanding of the metaverse by the outside world is getting deeper and deeper. There are many variables in the future development of the metaverse, full of unknowns, and it is difficult to predict accurately. At the moment, though, when we talk about the metaverse, at least some misunderstandings about the metaverse can be clarified.
While the metaverse still flashes in people’s minds as a mysterious concept, there are some signs that the metaverse is not just imaginary. On the contrary, in reality it has the potential to create huge economic benefits.
The action plan for cultivating a new track of “Metaverse” recently released by Shanghai not only proposes that the scale of “Metaverse” related industries will reach 350 billion yuan by 2025, but also drive the city’s software and information service industry to exceed 1.5 trillion yuan, and electronic information manufacturing. The scale of the industry exceeded 550 billion yuan.
In what form will this economic benefit be realized in the future? Just relying on people to consume VR/AR immersive all-in-one machines launched by major companies? Even if these devices are currently expensive, are there really so many people willing to pay for it?
This involves the most common misunderstanding of the metaverse: the metaverse is equal to hardware devices such as VR/AR all-in-one machines.
Zhang Yuanjie, co-founder of Conflux and ecological director of Shanghai Shutu Blockchain Research Institute, has rich operational experience.
However, in the eyes of professionals, the metaverse cannot be simplified, and the relationship between the metaverse and VR devices is not as close as imagined.
So why do people think of VR devices when they mention the metaverse? According to Zhang Yuanjie, the co-founder of Conflux and the ecological director of Shanghai Shutu Blockchain Research Institute, the first thing is that these devices are intuitive enough as hardware. “Nowadays, many people talk about the metaverse, which is the picture of a real person wearing a VR immersive helmet. This kind of intuitive picture is often easier to satisfy people’s imagination of the unknown.”
This type of equipment is preconceived, and it is inseparable from some related The company’s momentum. Since 2017, VR equipment, chip computing and 5G transmission have become hot spots for investment, and a large amount of capital has entered the above fields. When the capital poured in, the relevant companies continued to build momentum, claiming what kind of world will be built in the future, and the equipment they invested in is the basis for entering this world.
Previously, “Xinmin Weekly” also found in its report that the metaverse, as a broad concept, has become a representative of virtual reality, which is a process of artificial construction. Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, bought a company called Oculus in 2014 that specializes in standalone VR headsets. Today, Zuckerberg and his company continue to bring their own VR all-in-one devices through the “metaverse” concept, making their global market share in related fields more than half.
When discussing the metaverse in 2021, perhaps first of all people can easily think of these devices, which is inseparable from Zuckerberg’s operations at that time. But today, a year later, if the understanding of the metaverse is still at the level of hardware devices, it is slightly thin.
On the one hand, the VR all-in-one machine and the virtual reality it displays cannot be equated with the Metaverse; on the other hand, the Metaverse is not simply a combination of the VR all-in-one machine and some of the current mature games.
”Now we have a lot of successful 3A masterpiece games, the graphics, special effects and character details are more and more mature. For example, Grand Theft Auto 5, Red Dead Redemption, Minecraft, any of these three games, combined with VR or AR all-in-one machine, it has better effect than any so-called metaverse company we know so far.” Zhang Yuanjie told “Xinmin Weekly”.
In the above games, players have been able to achieve various interactions, including between players, as well as players and game NPCs. Even, people can do some more open-ended behaviors in these games. If it is equipped with a VR all-in-one machine or a good chip, then the player’s experience can be more diverse.
”However, it’s not a model of the metaverse. If the metaverse is really just that, it’s already there. No matter how good our experience with a game is, it’s still limited to the game itself. The metaverse needs to break down barriers. , not only the barriers between virtual and reality, but also the barriers between data on various platforms.” Zhang Yuanjie said, “If we still use games as an example, in the game world of the Metaverse, you can manipulate your characters in Grand Theft Auto. , take the props you obtained in this game, and enter another game. You play King of Glory, your ‘Lanling King’ can enter the Wilderness Red Dead, and here, you may see another game from other games. people.”
In Zhang Yuanjie’s view, the Metaverse is not limited to hardware devices, nor is it simply a re-creation of mature games. The core of why it can create huge economic value is that it represents a disruptive economic form.
In May 2022, a report released by the international consulting firm Analysis Group stated that from 2022, the Metaverse will make a huge contribution to the world economy, and the contribution to global GDP in the next ten years to 2031 can reach 3 trillion US dollars.