The metaverse has not yet taken shape, and metaverse social networking has begun to become a new battlefield for many manufacturers to compete for. The QQ show launched by Tencent evolved into a 3D reality show 23 years later, and was even tied to the Metaverse social network; Baidu also launched China’s first Metaverse platform Xiang, which has been favored by many manufacturers and has also participated in China’s The moon exploration project; Tianxiaxiu, a leading concept stock in Metaverse, launched the Rainbow Universe APP in January 2021, and the stock price once soared because of this. And Xiaoice, which once relied on Microsoft, released the Xiaoiceland social app as early as September 2021.
Among them, many Metaverse social apps have brought people some novel social experiences, such as virtual concerts, virtual character interactions, and even buying a house in the Metaverse. For example, in January of this year, Metaverse social APP Jelly rushed to the top of the Apple Store’s free list with its huge downloads only 20 days after its launch.
According to the data company Sensor Tower (2022) report, since the concept of metaverse broke out, an average of one metaverse app has been added every day. From November 2021 to January 2022, 552 APPs added the word “Metaverse” to their descriptions, and 70 of them called themselves Metaverse social apps. Although the number of social APPs in the Metaverse is constantly rising, after some investigation and actual experience, we found that the concept of social APPs in the Metaverse is still in a stage of wild growth, and the definition of social APPs in the Metaverse has not yet been officially determined.
Some common social software call themselves metaverse social apps after adding some virtual avatars and virtual scenes when the version is updated. Other metaverse social apps transform the social space into a “XX universe”, “XX planet”, etc., allowing users to settle in as new residents and start their own “metaverse life”.
The former pays more attention to some changes in the scene and the appearance of characters, while the latter pays more attention to the communication mode between people in the new social space. But no matter what kind of metaverse social interaction is inseparable from the four elements of virtual scene, virtual avatar, social interaction and presence. At the same time, whether it is Baidu’s Xiang or Jelly, which once had more downloads than WeChat, we have seen that they quickly cooled down after being popular for a while, and then lost a lot of users in the later period.
Metaverse social APP is in a stage that seems to be hot, but in fact it is a “false fire”. Where does this wind blow from? What do these Yuanverse social software rely on to retain users? Which manufacturers are joining the metaverse social track? In order to find the answers to these questions and dig out the reasons behind the false social popularity of the Metaverse, we also experienced a variety of Metaverse social apps.
What exactly is the Metaverse Social doing?
At present, social apps that focus on the Yuanverse social slogan have a variety of social gameplays. Yuanverse versions of Douban Group, QQ Home, and Moments are emerging one after another. We have experienced several representative Yuanverse social apps and found that behind Yuanverse social networking is the exploration of new social models by many social manufacturers.
Jelly: The metaverse social network that rushed to the top of the list is building a “global village”?
No one expected that it was a little-known social software jelly that pushed Metaverse social onto the hot list. This software, which came out of nowhere and single-handedly pushed WeChat off the top of the Apple Store’s free list, comes from Beijing Yidian Entertainment Technology Co., Ltd., which is also the parent company of the news and information platform Yidian.com.
So, how does jelly attract young people to participate in metaverse social? A sense of presence and a sense of design may be the two keys to the rapid growth of jelly users. Open the software, and you can see the soft and cute Q-version virtual digital person waving at you at a glance. In terms of the appearance selection of the virtual digital human, Gel provides users with more than 10 different options, satisfying the user’s “pinching face” hobby. At the same time, users can also choose to publish their current status. Based on location sharing and status sharing, users of Jelly can also know the status and location of their friends even though they are in various places with their friends. Q’s cute little characters are paired with various statuses such as “hungry”, “fishing”, and “hug”, coupled with vivid interactions, it feels like reuniting with distant friends to play.
In addition, compared with some virtual digital people on common software, Gel’s virtual digital people appear more exquisite in terms of modeling and design proportions. However, due to various reasons involving privacy protection, Jelly is being removed from the shelves and is temporarily not accepting new users. Therefore, it currently covers a limited range of people and cannot experience richer social gameplay.
Hee Rang: Build a virtual digital human in one sentence
According to incomplete statistics, more than 10 enterprises and institutions have settled in Hee Rang. On the map of Xiran, you can not only see Communication University of China and other schools, but also many companies such as Nvidia, Lynk & Co, and FAW.
Before entering Xirang, you need to create an avatar for yourself. Unlike other software that only provides a single virtual character model, Xirang provides users with three styles: cartoon, anthropomorphic and realistic.
Hee-ran’s method of generating virtual digital humans is also different. Thanks to Baidu’s virtual digital human platform, you can build your own virtual avatar with a sentence or even a picture. For example, if you say “cool girl”, Xirang will randomly form a virtual character of a cool girl from its character library.
However, after our actual experience, the image of Xiang’s virtual digital human model is relatively simple and the appearance is not exquisite enough. Compared with cute or cute characters in other social software, Xirang’s virtual digital people still have room for improvement in visual design. Moreover, when communicating with friends, Xirang currently only provides one method of communication via telephone voice, and the usage scenarios are very limited. In addition, in terms of gameplay, Xirang currently only supports running maps, brushing scenery, watching exhibitions, etc., and cannot experience some more unique gameplay.
Little Iceland: Build your own island with AI
”Everyone on this island thinks they are a real person, but only I know that you are a real person.” When you first enter Little Iceland, Xiaobing will tell you as an assistant to the gods, This is a place where humans and virtual digital humans live together.
AI is the core of the Little Iceland APP. The main gameplay of Little Iceland APP is not only to create multiple AI friends, but also to use AI to create novels, music, etc. through keywords. Currently, Little Iceland has opened two skill options: Literary Club and Recording Studio, as well as three gray options to be unlocked: Studio, Appearance Committee, and Fairy Tale Factory.
In daily communication, it is almost difficult to tell whether the person on the other side of the network cable is a real person or a virtual digital person. After all, their circle of friends is almost exactly the same as our daily circle of friends. Some people share music, some share news, and some people also write in their circle of friends. short essay.
However, it is a pity that Little Iceland APP has too few gameplays and does not have strong content appeal. Whether it is communication with virtual digital people or novels or music created by AI, they are no more distinctive than real-life content, and they are also not attractive and competitive.
On the whole, these metaverse social apps all attach great importance to the feature of virtual avatars, and based on this, they have taken different routes. Little Iceland provides a model for people and AI to coexist in the metaverse; Hiland provides 3 types of virtual digital people for users to choose from; Jelly provides more status options for 3D Q-version characters and enriches character details. However, the shortcomings of Metaverse social APP are also obvious. Several APPs are in the testing stage or early release stage, and many modules have not been fully unlocked. Due to various reasons such as few interactive objects and relatively simple gameplay, Metaverse social APP is not very attractive.
Want to socialize in the Metaverse? Three major problems need to be solved
Although Metaverse Social is gaining more and more attention from manufacturers and investors, after some experience, we found that Metaverse Social APP is still in its infancy, and most of Metaverse Social software is still in the internal testing stage. At the same time, the current metaverse social software has certain pain points in terms of gameplay, business model and innovation.
First of all, the current Metaverse social software does not bring a brand-new interaction method in the core gameplay. Whether it is location sharing or island social networking, similar products have appeared as early as the early days of Internet development, and after market selection, such products have not become the mainstream of social software, which also shows to a certain extent that this type of social networking SOFTWARE LIMITATIONS. Not only that, our current mainstream social software or the social software with the longest online time of users all have strong tool attributes and can be applied to various office scenarios. However, the current metaverse social software still has a certain distance from efficiency tools. It can even be said that they do not have any functions that can be closely linked with office scenes.
Secondly, some apps under the banner of metaverse social are harvesting users in subscription service and recharge service. No money, no room, and no experience without recharging money have become the default configurations of some Metaverse social software, resulting in poor perception for users. In addition, the Metaverse social APP is still based on the previous social software business model, and none of the Metaverse social apps has stepped out of its own business model. Among them, Baidu is slightly different. It is trying to figure out a new business path suitable for Xiran. An industry source engaged in marketing scene agency revealed that Xi Yang is currently accepting scene marketing in different industries, and can undertake metaverse publicity programs such as metaverse press conferences, immersive exhibition halls, immersive shopping, and scenic replicas. As we have seen many companies settle in, it is a manifestation of Xiyang’s commercialization model.
Finally, these so-called metaverse social apps are basically limited to mobile phones in terms of hardware ecology, and some even only support the Android system. Although Baidu Xiyang also supports VR headsets, it is only limited to Pico Neo 3. Therefore, the user group covered by Metaverse social APP is not comprehensive, and there are fewer users who can experience it. This is different from the metaverse social vision that people can use smart watches or smart glasses to “go to heaven and earth” mentioned in Meta CEO Zuckerberg’s speech, and even realize the phone calls between people in the virtual world and people in the real world. larger. How to make a Metaverse social APP adapt to different hardware like WeChat is also a difficult problem facing social vendors.
Domestic and foreign giants test the social waters of the Yuanverse and find new ways to socialize
Despite these and other deficiencies, technology giants are still actively laying out the metaverse social track. After carefully reviewing the recent actions of domestic social giants such as Tencent, ByteDance, and foreign Meta and Snap, we found that the major companies have made different choices on how to achieve social transformation.
As the big brother of the social Internet, Tencent is adding some 3D elements based on the existing situation of its two major social products QQ and WeChat through minor changes and fine-tuning, so as to integrate with metaverse social. If we talk about the earliest virtual digital person in memory, I don’t know how many people will think of the QQ show. In the memory of “post-80s” and “post-90s”, creating a glittering QQ show is one of the reasons why many people become QQ members. Today, taking advantage of the upsurge of the Metaverse, the QQ show has been upgraded to a 3D version of a virtual digital human. According to information disclosed on Tencent’s official website, in the version update on January 11, QQ built a 100M Unreal Engine module to provide more exquisite digital humans.
At the same time, WeChat has also begun to emphasize its “presence attribute”. Although there is no 3D virtual digital person like jelly, new interaction methods such as WeChat farm and WeChat status provide a new “presence” between people. Way”. And Meta, which also has a number of social software, has not forgotten its basic business – social software, in addition to investing heavily in hardware such as VR headsets. Meta not only launched the Metaverse social software Horizon, but also plans to launch a new version of Horizon based on Web XR, so that people can experience the charm of Metaverse social interaction on different devices as soon as possible.
Bytedance and Snap chose to invest money to find the key to the social era of the metaverse. ByteDance first invested in a virtual digital human company, and later launched an island-like APP Party Island. Currently, Party Island is still in a closed beta stage, and only a handful of people can experience it. Snap is even more generous. In 2021 alone, Snap acquired 6 AR companies in order to get a ticket to the social world. It can be seen that some social players plan to create a brand-new social software to connect with the metaverse step by step, while some social giants hope to gradually transform existing products into social software that can adapt to the 3D Internet. The initial layout of the social giants in the metaverse is a little bit different, and maybe 10 years later they will take completely different paths and create their own completely different metaverse social ecology.
On the one hand, taking advantage of the popularity of Metaverse, more and more manufacturers are aiming at the track of social media in Metaverse, and have launched various social software such as Xiran, Little Iceland, and Jelly. But at the same time, the Metaverse social software is essentially an upgrade or 3D version of some old gameplay, and it does not meet some of the hard needs of users. On the other hand, social software such as WeChat, QQ, and DingTalk have not had much version and gameplay updates in the past 10 years, and social gameplay has also entered a period of burnout. Many users are actively trying new social software. Generally speaking, Yuanverse social networking is still in its early stages, and there is still a long way to go before it becomes popular or even popular.