Original title: metacosmic alchemy ｜ basic platform? Scene construction? How to layout domestic Internet giants
Surging news reporter Wu Yuxin fan Jialai
"An exciting opportunity is coming. After ten years of development, the mobile Internet is about to usher in the next wave of upgrading. We call it Quanzhen Internet."
This is Ma Huateng, chairman of Tencent's board of directors and CEO, who issued a document in Tencent's internal journal at the end of 2020. At that time, the concept of the meta universe was not popular. Now this sentence has been quoted by many because of the explosion of the meta universe.
The concept of meta universe has become popular, and domestic Internet technology companies are also accelerating their entry. Netease's "Yaotai", Baidu's "xirang", Ali has established XR laboratory, byte beat's acquisition of Pico to make up for the hardware weakness, and Tencent is also paying attention to the technologies related to building a larger digital scene in addition to investing in related companies
According to the data from tianyancha, as of December 30, 2021, there were more than 12000 trademark applications with "yuanuniverse" in the name in China. The relevant trademark applicants include major manufacturers such as Tencent, Netease and Baidu, as well as well-known enterprises in many industries such as SAIC Group, miyue ice city, Shuanghui, Hisense and Foxconn.
Why are we laying out the meta universe? Anxin Securities pointed out in its research report that the meta universe is still in the early stage of development. Every move of technology companies will not only contribute to maintaining their existing industry status, but also jointly shape the final form of the meta universe through their own efforts.
However, the people's daily commented that it takes time to promote new concepts and their industries to gradually mature, and it needs to be down-to-earth and lay a good foundation for development to lead to the fascinating future of science and technology. Just like whether virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) or hybrid reality (MR), the central word is "reality", which also indicates that without the support of reality, it will eventually be a mirage without roots.
What is the progress of domestic Internet giants in metauniverse? How is it arranged?
Compared with other domestic Internet companies, Tencent seems to enter the meta universe earlier.
From the perspective of investment, in February 2020, Tencent participated in roblox's $150 million round g financing. In March 2021, roblox successfully landed on the New York Stock Exchange, with a market value of US $40 billion on the first day of listing, which is known as "the first share of the yuan universe". In addition, Tencent also invested in Epic Games, the game developer of Fortress night, holding 40% of its shares. In April 2021, Epic Games raised US $1 billion for the development of related businesses of yuancosmos, setting the highest financing record of yuancosmos track at that time.
On January 10, 2022, the surging news reporter learned from informed sources that Tencent planned to acquire the domestic game phone company Black Shark Technology ("Xiaomi" enterprise). According to media reports, the acquisition has been recognized by Xiaomi's senior management. In terms of acquisition price, black shark technology and Tencent have conducted relevant negotiations: black shark is valued at 3 billion yuan, and Tencent is cut to about 2.6-2.7 billion yuan.
Roblox invested by Tencent has successfully landed on the New York Stock Exchange
The surging news reporter inquired about tianyancha app and found that since September 2021, Tencent Technology (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd. has 99 trademark information about "Yuan universe", such as "QQ yuan universe", "magic core yuan universe", "peace elite yuan universe", and the trademark applications are in the stage of "waiting for substantive review".
When it comes to meta universe related technologies, Li congbing, deputy general manager of Tencent mutual entertainment R & D efficiency department, previously said in an interview with surging news that Tencent is paying attention to the technologies related to building larger digital scenes. "We are all focusing on PCG (procedural content generation technology), AI based NPC interaction, and real-time rendering capabilities."
Li congbing said that everyone has a different understanding of the meta universe, and not only one user platform can be called the "meta universe". "In our opinion, the game is more about building a more realistic and ideal virtual space and scene, and our technology also focuses on this direction. However, I don't think there is a clear form to explain what the meta universe is like, whether to copy the reality in the virtual world or simply refer to a virtual world."
He told surging news reporters that at present, the technical problem that the meta universe needs to break through when landing is whether it can provide immersive interaction and experience. "Immersive equipment, technology and experience are the threshold for the real industrialization of metauniverse."
Deng Dafu, deputy general manager of R & D efficiency Department of Tencent mutual entertainment, believes that yuanuniverse has opportunities in two directions in the industry: first, yuanuniverse will produce a large amount of 3D content, but the 3D world needs high-yield 3D production capacity, which is still a great challenge for the current technical capacity.
The second is the development of artificial intelligence industry. He mentioned that although everyone is talking about the meta universe at present, it is impossible to make digital people realize intelligent dialogue, drive behavior and explore the world like western world. At present, local breakthroughs have been made in technology. "But how to make them really integrate is a subject we have been thinking about."
Another industry closely related to the meta universe is the VR and AR industries. In this regard, Zou Haochuan, director of business strategy of Tencent mutual entertainment new experience and Technology Department, believes that the VR and AR industries will develop rapidly in the future. "In the past, we used game consoles, computers and mobile phones, and the society experienced the stage of dual Internet. Starting from VR, we will enter the stage of 3D Internet, which is the inevitable trend of scientific and technological development."
Tencent is also exploring the "digital man" technology. In the process of "digital real integration" (the integrated development of digital economy and real economy), digital man is an important basic technology module. Tencent's studio next studios developed the high fidelity real-time digital human siren in 2018, which greatly restored the real-life image and can drive facial expressions and body movements with emotions.
"In the future, with the continuous development of new technologies, the technical threshold and cost of digital virtual human will be greatly reduced, and virtual human will be applied to a wider range of space and fields and truly become a part of daily life." Zhang Wei, vice president of Tencent interactive entertainment, said.
Zou Haochuan revealed that Tencent has formed a set of standard digital people production process. Combined with computer graphics and in-depth learning technology, it hopes to break through the boundary of the game industry and apply the virtual digital people to all walks of life in the future. He said that at present, Tencent has cooperated with famous game manufacturer Epic Games to precipitate digital human technology into unreal engine, so as to develop digital human applications in industries other than games. "Only the trinity of hardware, technology and software content technology can really promote the industry."
Overall, Tencent is considered to be a more comprehensive company in the meta universe because it has a relatively complete territory in the fields of social networking, games and live film broadcasting.
Anxin securities also mentioned in the research report that foreign media not boring has produced a complete industrial map of Tencent yuan universe, with game channel + engine epic as the technical support, including roblox, hero alliance, fortress night, my world and other game development platforms, twitch, discord, fish fighting tiger teeth and other live communities; Pinduoduo, shopee and other e-commerce channels; Zoom, Tencent conference and other remote office software.
Related products of yuancosmos are gradually landing, even if they are only rudiments.
Among B (Baidu) a (ALI) t (Tencent), baidu took the lead in launching meta universe products. The first domestic meta universe product "xirang" app officially launched on December 27, 2021 earned enough attention. Robin Li, founder, chairman and chief executive of Baidu, commented: "our way of gathering is both dreamy and realistic."
Although "xirang" has evolved three versions since March 2021, there are still many regrets in the user experience.
There are still many deficiencies in the user experience
According to the global network, Zhou Hongyi, the founder of 360, said with a smile when talking about Baidu's meta universe product "xirang" in an interview with reporters recently. In fact, pepper has been done for a long time, but it is not particularly successful. It is not difficult to build a virtual scene and live broadcast of virtual characters, but it is difficult to persist.
Surging news reporters learned that the "Greek soil" project was launched as early as December 2020. Baidu hopes to create a touchable, experiential and scalable prototype of the meta universe. According to Ma Jie, vice president of Baidu and head of xirang, "xirang" is a negative version 6.0 meta universe product. This product will not be perfect until six years later, and will not be officially launched at that time.
As for what the "Greek soil" will eventually look like, Majie said: "none of us know what it will develop into. This is precisely its greatest charm, but we know it should be beautiful."
At this stage, why is it difficult to realize the meta universe? At the media communication meeting before the release of "Xi soil", Ma Jie said that under the current network technology conditions, vision, hearing and interaction are the three mountains hindering the development of the meta universe, and the challenges brought by technical difficulties are very great. The path to solve the problems of the meta universe needs to break through a series of technical bottlenecks and the support of strong basic technical capabilities. These key technologies include: secure, autonomous and intelligent cloud computing technology; Continuous innovation in artificial intelligence, arm cloud, edge computing, intelligent video, VR and AR; The construction of content ecology and huge market foundation.
Hou Zhenyu, senior vice president of Baidu, said that computing is the bottom foundation of the meta universe, and the demand for computing power of the meta universe is almost infinite.
According to Baidu's development logic in the meta universe, it hopes to become the infrastructure platform of the meta universe and provide AI, cloud computing and other technical engines for "xirang" and other meta universe products. For example, Baidu introduced that the distributed cloud of Baidu intelligent cloud can support users of the yuan universe to access whenever and wherever possible. "HSI world" has used the edge computing nodes resources distributed widely.
"Combining the industry's leading AI, cloud computing and VR technologies, xirang's ultimate goal is to create a platform for our partners and developers, a platform that can let imagination take root. In this second human space that will be parallel to the real world, we also look forward to its infinite possibilities and finally carry the bright future of high tech better life." Majie said.
Hope soil promoted by Baidu
Tianyancha app shows that since October 2021, baidu online network technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd. has applied for a number of trademarks related to yuanuniverse, involving app and map fields. Among them, the trademark of "meta maps" in 3 articles is invalid, the trademark of "meta app" in 1 article is invalid, the trademark of "meta app" in 2 articles is pending substantive review, and the trademark of "meta map" in 6 articles is pending substantive review.
Ali is also laying out the meta universe in a low-key way.
On December 28, 2021, Alibaba Dharma Institute released the top ten scientific and technological trends in 2022. This is the top ten scientific and technological trends that the Dharma Institute has analyzed 7.7 million public papers and 85000 patents in recent three years, deeply interviewed nearly 100 scientists, and proposed that 2022 may reflect the reality, covering the fields of artificial intelligence, chip, computing and communication.
The "meta universe" of the fire did not appear in the top ten scientific and technological trends in 2022, but Alibaba Dharma Institute put forward the trend ten "XR Internet". It is expected that in the next three years, a new generation of XR glasses with shape and weight close to ordinary glasses will be produced and become a key entrance to the next generation of Internet.
At the Alibaba cloud habitat conference in 2021, Alibaba Dharma Institute announced the addition of two laboratories, of which XR laboratory is a new laboratory for AR, VR and metauniverse.
Tan Ping, head of XR Laboratory of Alibaba Dharma Institute, said at the yunqi conference: "AR and VR glasses are the next generation mobile computing platforms to be popularized. The new display and new interaction based on the new computing platform are the essence of the meta universe. The meta universe has a wide range of categories, including social networking, e-commerce, education, games, payment and other fields. All kinds of applications in the mobile Internet era will produce new presentation methods in the meta universe."
Tan Ping believes that the technology of the future "virtual world" can be divided into four levels. The first layer is holographic construction, which creates the appearance of the whole world with triangular mesh and displays it on the terminal to create an immersive experience. The second layer is holographic simulation, which makes the virtual world infinitely close to the real world. The combination of these two layers of technology can realize the virtual world in VR glasses. The third layer is the integration of virtual and real, which integrates the virtual world and the real world. The fourth layer is the virtual reality linkage, and the changes of the virtual world can correspond to the real world.
According to surging news reporters, at present, the research direction of XR laboratory is three-dimensional modeling of objects and characters, high realism rendering, natural human-computer interaction, large scene map and positioning, robot grasping and manipulation. Products and applications include holographic store, AR parallel world and IDC intelligent operation and maintenance robot.
In addition, the "yuanjingsheng", the main body of Alibaba cloud games division, has also been implemented, or for Alibaba's further layout in the field of metauniverse games.
Tianyancha app shows that on December 6, 2021, yuanjingsheng (Beijing) Technology Co., Ltd. was established, which is 100% owned by Hangzhou Ali Venture Capital Co., Ltd. with a registered capital of RMB 10 million. Alibaba insiders disclosed to the media that the company's future business is related to yuanuniverse.
In terms of trademark application, in September 2021, Alibaba Singapore Holdings Limited applied for the registration of trademarks such as "Alibaba yuanuniverse" and "Taobao yuanuniverse". The current status of the trademark is awaiting substantive examination.
With regard to metauniverse, in its research report in December 2021, Anxin Securities pointed out that Alibaba has a first mover advantage in the layout of the underlying infrastructure cloud computing of metauniverse. In addition, relying on its rich e-commerce scenarios, Ali can focus on its progress in reproducing e-commerce and marketing scenarios in the meta universe in the future.
Netease said it had the concept of meta universe, and the product was launched.
In November 2021, Ding Lei, founder and CEO of Netease, said at the company's third quarter financial report meeting that metauniverse is a popular concept, but no one has touched metauniverse at present. Netease is ready for the meta universe related technologies and rules. "We believe that Netease has the ability to run quickly on the day when the meta universe really comes."
Ding Lei said that Netease has always attached great importance to R & D investment based on diversified products and user needs. After long-term technology accumulation, Netease has a global leading technical reserve in meta universe related fields such as VR, AR, artificial intelligence, engine, cloud game and blockchain, and is fully equipped with the technology and ability to explore and develop meta universe.
He mentioned that Netease has launched meta universe concept products such as Yaotai immersive activity system, virtual human and star blockchain, and invested in a number of innovative companies in the field of virtual human to promote the full link exploration of meta universe from front-end R & D to terminal business scenario applications. In the future, Netease will also deeply combine the exploration experience, technical advantages and innovation mode with the real user needs and industrial needs, continue to pay attention to and increase R & D investment, so as to make the meta universe truly move from concept to application and effectively create value for the society.
On December 2, Netease cloud music landed on the Hong Kong stock exchange. In Netease Fuxi immersive activity system "Yaotai", Ding Lei "separated" three people to complete the "Yuan universe". Netease said that this is the world's first "meta universe" listing ceremony. The so-called three "Ding Lei", one is Ding Lei himself who struck the gong at the offline ceremony, and the other two are AI virtual human "Ding Lei". They are depicted as Ding Lei, 29, in 2000 and 50, in 2021.
Netease's layout in the meta universe is more than that.
On December 25, 2021, Netease signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Sanya Municipal government. Netease will set up Netease Hainan headquarters in Sanya to build Netease yuan universe industrial base project. In addition, the two sides will deepen cooperation in interactive entertainment, e-sports, music culture, e-commerce live broadcasting, online education and other fields.
Tianyancha app shows that in October 2021, several Netease affiliated companies such as Hangzhou Netease Leihuo Technology Co., Ltd., Netease (Hangzhou) network Co., Ltd. and Guangzhou Netease computer system Co., Ltd. applied for the registration of trademarks such as "Netease yuancosmos", "leihuoyuancosmos" and "fuxiyuancosmos", and the trademark status is waiting for substantive review.
In August 2021, Pico, a start-up company in VR field, sent an internal letter confirming that the company was acquired by Pico.
Open source Securities believes that with the rise of the concept of "meta universe", Internet industry giants and head game companies began to compete for the first opportunity. As an important part of the expansion of byte beating territory, Pico will be incorporated into the VR business line to integrate byte content resources and technical capabilities. This acquisition of Pico will have a significant impact on the long dormant domestic VR field.
Pico's products acquired by Pico
Anxin Securities pointed out that Tencent and byte jump are the two companies with the most smooth layout of meta universe logic in China. Under the guidance of the "capital + flow" strategy, Tencent focuses on acquisition rather than natural innovation to comprehensively layout the universe. Byte beating is more radical. In order to supplement the "social" gene, we use the all in play method of acquisition and self-development.
According to the analysis of the research report, at present, in terms of hardware and operating system, Pico is acquired to make up for the hardware shortcomings. In terms of underlying architecture, it invests in the code universe of the physical engine developer, and its youth UGC platform restart the world is highly similar to roblox. Acquire the end-to-end live broadcasting solution provider, vijing video, and provide VR end-to-end live broadcasting / on-demand solution based on core technology. Tiktok, jitter, watermelon video, Tik Tok, Faceu sprouting, flying books, adorable products and so on are covered by over 150 countries and regions in the world.