Basic Platform? Scene construction? How did the domestic Internet giants lay out the metaverse?

Time:2022-01-16 Source: 975 views NFT Copy share

An exciting opportunity is coming. After ten years of development of the mobile Internet, the next wave of upgrades is about to be ushered in, which we call the true Internet. "

This is a post by Ma Huateng, chairman and CEO of Tencent, on Tencent's internal publication at the end of 2020. At that time, the concept of the metaverse was not yet popular, and now this sentence has been quoted many times due to the explosion of the metaverse.

The concept of the Metaverse has become popular, and domestic Internet technology companies are also accelerating their entry. NetEase's "Yaotai", Baidu's "Xiyang", Ali established an XR laboratory, ByteDance acquired Pico to make up for hardware shortcomings, and Tencent is investing In addition to related companies, they are also focusing on related technologies for building larger digital scenarios...

Data from Tianyancha shows that as of December 30, 2021, there have been more than 12,000 trademark applications with "Metaverse" in the name in China throughout the year. Relevant trademark applicants include Tencent, NetEase, Baidu and other major manufacturers and Well-known enterprises in many industries such as SAIC, Michelle Bingcheng, Shuanghui, Hisense, Foxconn, etc.

Why are they laying out the metaverse? Essence Securities pointed out in its research report that the Metaverse is still in the early stage of development, and every move of the technology companies will not only contribute to maintaining their existing industry status, but will also jointly shape the final form of the Metaverse through their own efforts.

However, the People's Daily commentary once pointed out that it takes time to promote new concepts and their industries to gradually mature, and to lead to a fascinating technological future requires down-to-earth and a solid foundation for development. Just as whether virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) or mixed reality (MR), the central word is "reality", which also indicates that without the support of reality, it is a mirage without roots.

How are the domestic Internet giants progressing in the metaverse? How is it laid out?

Tencent: Investing in or acquiring industry chain companies

Compared with other domestic Internet companies, Tencent's entry into the metaverse seems to be earlier.

Judging from the investment situation, in February 2020, Tencent participated in Roblox’s $150 million Series G financing. In March 2021, Roblox successfully landed on the New York Stock Exchange, with a market value of over $40 billion on the first day of listing, known as the "first stock in the metaverse". In addition, Tencent has invested in "Fortnite" game developer Epic Games, holding a 40% stake. In April 2021, Epic Games raised US$1 billion for the development of Metaverse-related businesses, setting a record for the highest financing on the Metaverse track at that time.

On January 10, 2022, the surging news reporter learned from people familiar with the matter that Tencent plans to acquire Black Shark Technology (“Xiaomi” company), a domestic game mobile phone company. According to media reports, the acquisition has been approved by Xiaomi executives. In terms of the acquisition price, Black Shark Technology and Tencent have negotiated: Black Shark is valued at 3 billion yuan, and Tencent has cut it to about 2.6 to 2.7 billion yuan.

Basic Platform? Scene construction? How did the domestic Internet giants lay out the metaverse?

Roblox, invested by Tencent, has successfully landed on the New York Stock Exchange

A surging news reporter inquired about the Tianyancha App and found that since September 2021, Tencent Technology (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd. has 99 pieces of trademark information about "Metaverse", such as "QQ Metaverse", "Magic Nuclear Metaverse", "Peace" Elite Metaverse", etc., the trademark applications are all in the stage of "waiting for substantive examination".

Talking about Metaverse-related technologies, Li Congbing, deputy general manager of Tencent Interactive Entertainment R&D Performance Department, said in an interview with The Paper that Tencent is paying attention to related technologies for building larger digital scenarios. "Including PCG (Procedural Content Generation), AI-based NPC interactions, and the ability to render in real-time, we're all paying attention."

Li Congbing said that everyone has a different understanding of the metaverse, and it is not just one user platform that can be called "metaverse". "In our opinion, games are more about constructing virtual spaces and scenes that are more realistic and closer to the ideal state, and our technology is also around this direction. But to say what the metaverse is like, it is to put reality in a virtual world. A copy in it still simply refers to a virtual world, I don’t think there is a clear form that can explain it clearly.”

He told The Paper that the most technical problem that the Metaverse needs to break through when it landed is whether it can provide immersive interaction and experience. "Immersive equipment, technology and experience are the threshold for the true industrialization of the Metaverse."

Deng Dafu, deputy general manager of Tencent Interactive Entertainment R&D Performance Department, believes that the Metaverse has two opportunities in the industry: First, the Metaverse will generate a large amount of 3D content, but the 3D world needs high-yield 3D production capabilities. In terms of technical capabilities, it is still a very big challenge.

The second is the development of artificial intelligence industry. He mentioned that although everyone is talking about the metaverse, it is currently impossible for digital humans to achieve intelligent dialogue, drive behavior and explore the world like "Westworld". In terms of technology, a partial breakthrough has been achieved. "But how to make them really blend together is something we've been thinking about."

Another thing that is closely related to Metaverse is the VR and AR industries. In this regard, Zou Haochuan, director of business strategy of Tencent Interactive Entertainment's 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. The society experienced a dual Internet stage. Starting from VR, we will enter the stage of 3D Internet, which is an inevitable trend of technological development."

Tencent is also exploring "digital human" technology. In the process of "digital integration" (integrated development of digital economy and real economy), digital human is an important basic technology module. Tencent's studio NExT Studios developed a high-fidelity real-time digital human Siren in 2018, which has greatly restored the real image and can use emotions to drive facial expressions and body movements.

"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 spaces and fields, and will truly become a part of daily life." Vice President of Tencent Interactive Entertainment Zhang Wei said.

Zou Haochuan revealed that Tencent has formed a set of standard digital human production processes, combined with computer graphics and deep learning technologies, hoping to break through the boundaries of the game industry in the future and apply realistic digital human to all walks of life. He said that at present, Tencent has cooperated with the well-known game manufacturer Epic Games to deposit the digital human technology into the Unreal Engine (Unreal Engine), so as to develop the application of digital human in industries other than games. "Only the trinity of hardware, technology, and software content technology can truly promote the industry."

In general, Tencent is considered to be the most comprehensive company in the Metaverse layout due to its relatively complete territory in the fields of social networking, games, and film industry live broadcast.

Essence Securities also mentioned in the research report that the foreign media Not Boring has produced a complete industrial map of Tencent Metaverse, with game channels + engine Epic as technical support, including Roblox, "League of Legends", "Fortress Night", "I Game development platforms such as "The World", live broadcast communities such as twitch, Discord, Douyu Huya, etc.; e-commerce channels such as Pinduoduo and Shopee; remote office software such as zoom and Tencent Meeting, etc.

Baidu: To become the infrastructure platform of the Metaverse

Metaverse related products are gradually landing, even if they are only prototypes.

Among B (Baidu) A (Ali) T (Tencent), Baidu was the first to launch a metaverse product, and the first domestic metaverse product "Xi Rong" App, which was officially launched on December 27, 2021, earned a lot of attention. Robin Li, founder, chairman and CEO of Baidu, commented: "The way we meet is both dreamy and realistic."

Although "Xiyang" has evolved three times since March 2021, there are still many regrets in the user experience.

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