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Reported by GameLook/As a “popular fried chicken” in the global technology and gaming industry, Metaverse has become more and more popular recently. In March of this year, the Google Trend Index for this term reached 100, the highest point ever.
In the past six months or so, GameLook has published 65 articles mentioning this concept, and many industry leaders and large companies have also expressed their views or values on Metaverse, and even Roblox has a market value of 200 billion. The super unicorn above.
However, a fact that cannot be ignored is that from the perspective of the mass consumer market, Metaverse is still a new thing, and even the leaders who are most enthusiastic about this concept cannot be sure what its future will look like. Recently, well-known overseas technology blogger Matthew Ball once again conducted an in-depth discussion on the topic of Metaverse, such as whether Metaverse exists? When will it come? What does it need to grow?
The following is the complete content compiled by GameLook:
When did the mobile Internet era begin? Many people may start from the first mobile phone, and some people may think that the official commercial use of 2G network will start, because it is the first appearance of digital wireless network. Some people think that it is necessary to start with the emergence of the WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) standard, because then there is a WAP browser and the ability to allow all mobile phones to access the Internet.
Perhaps it can also be counted from the launch of the BlackBerry 85x series of mobile phones, which is the first mainstream mobile device designed for mobile data. Of course, most people may say that the mobile Internet era started with the iPhone. It appeared 10 years later than the first BlackBerry phone, 8 years later than the WAP standard, and nearly 20 years later than the 2G network, and it was later than the first mobile phone. The appearance of the call was 34 years late.
However, after the appearance of the iPhone, it determined the visual design principles, economic systems and business rules of the mobile Internet era.
The history of change in the power age
In fact, there has never been a flip-flop in the development process of the mobile Internet. We can determine the creation, testing or application of a specific technology, but we cannot know exactly when an era began. Within, technological change requires a large number of technological changes, diversification, and then combination. For example, the power revolution is not a period of steady growth. On the contrary, it is composed of two separate waves of technological, industrial, and process-related changes.
The first wave of the power revolution began around 1881, when Thomas Edison built power stations in Manhattan and London. Although this is the rapid beginning of the electricity era (Edison only invented the light bulb two years ago, and the commercialization of electricity only began a year ago), the popularity of industrialization has been slow.
Thirty years after Edison’s first power station was established, less than 10% of the mechanical power in the United States uses electricity (two-thirds of which are local power generation, and no grid is used). But then, the second wave started suddenly. Between 1910 and 1920, the proportion of electrical power used by mechanical power exceeded 50% (nearly two-thirds of which came from independent power units). By 1929, the electricity penetration rate reached 78%.
In fact, the two power revolutions did not make much difference in the use of electricity in American industry, but the design surrounding electricity has changed.
When the power plant used electricity for the first time, it was mainly used for lighting or to replace the main power source (steam engine) before the power plant. However, these power plants directly used electricity without rethinking or replacing the previous infrastructure. Instead, they continue to use bulky gear networks, which are not only messy, noisy, but also dangerous.
For example, the previous infrastructure can only be fully closed or fully opened (so the energy required to operate a power plant and the entire power plant is the same, so it often leads to power outages), it is difficult to meet the needs of specific tasks.
But in the end, new technology and knowledge gave the factory the reason and ability to redesign the power terminal, from replacing gears with wires, to installing independent stations with customized and dedicated electric motors for sewing, cutting, stamping, and welding functions. .
The advantages of this design are very large. The same power plant has more space, more lighting, better air quality and safer equipment. More importantly, a single power station can also operate independently (increasing safety, while reducing costs and power-off time), and can be used for more unique equipment (such as electric socket wrenches).
In addition, factories can determine their production areas based on the production process, rather than around bulky equipment, and can even reconfirm these work areas frequently. These two major changes mean that more industries can wire their power plants (this kind of technology has appeared in the 1700s), and factories that already have wires can expand further and more efficiently. For example, in 1913, Henry Ford created the first movable installation line, which used electricity and conveyor belts to reduce production time, shortening the manufacturing time of each car from 12.5 hours to 93 minutes, while saving electricity. According to historian David Nye, Ford’s famous Highland Park plant was built on the premise that “electrical lighting and electricity should be available everywhere.”
Once a small number of factories started such a transformation, the entire market was forced to catch up, thus bringing more investment and innovation to power infrastructure, equipment and processing procedures. Within one year of the first mobile installation line, Ford produced more cars than the entire industry (in the United States) combined. By the time it reached the 1 millionth car, it had produced more than half of its cars.
The popularization of the “second wave” of electricity does not rely on a certain vision to achieve a revolutionary leap from the core invention of Thomas Edison, nor is it driven by more and more industrial power stations alone. On the contrary, it reflects a large number of internally connected innovations scattered in power management, production hardware, manufacturing theory, and more. Some of these innovations are in the hands of a factory manager, others require a room, and others require a city (to practice). They all depend on the person and the process.
Nye said, “Henry Ford was not the first manager to propose an installation line and then hand over R&D to his staff. The facilities in Highland Park were built by managers and engineers who understand most of the manufacturing processes in the United States. Putting the experience together, and then creating a new manufacturing method.”
This process took place at the same time throughout the United States and brought about the “20 years of rapid development”, which was the era with the highest growth in average annual labor force and capital productivity in a century.
The rise of the mobile internet era
The mobile Internet era can be viewed in the same way. The iPhone feels like the beginning of the mobile Internet because it has concentrated all the elements of what we think of as the “mobile Internet” into a minimal viable product that can be touched and loved by us. However, the creation and development of the mobile Internet is much more than that.
In fact, even in a narrow sense, we cannot even call the first-generation iPhone the beginning of the mobile Internet, but the second-generation iPhone (iPhone 3G). This generation of iPhone has the largest upgrade span. It was introduced for the first time. 3G makes the mobile network truly usable and begins to operate the App Store, which makes mobile networks and smartphones useful.
However, neither the 3G network nor the App Store is the innovation or creation of Apple. The iPhone connects to the 3G network through a chip manufactured by Infineon, and is connected to the Internet through standards established by ITU and GAMA. The latter is achieved with the help of wireless network providers such as AT&T, and companies such as Citychamp International and American Electric Tower (AMT).
The iPhone has apps that work because it has the support of millions of developers, just like the large number of different companies that built specific electric motors for factories in the 1920s. In addition, these applications are based on a large number of different standards, from KDE to Java, from HTML to Unity, the latter are all created or maintained by third-party companies. App Store’s payment system can be used because of the digital payment system provided by major banks. The production of iPhone also benefits from a large number of other technologies, from Samsung’s CPU (licensed by ARM) to STMicroelectronics’ accelerometers and Corning. Gorilla Glass, and components from companies such as Broadcom, Wolfson, and NS (National Semiconductor).
All the above creators and contributors together only made the iPhone and opened the mobile Internet era. They also defined the development path of the mobile Internet.
Let’s look at the iPhone 12 released in 2020. It would be impossible for Apple to release it as the second-generation iPhone in 2008, because the company didn’t have that much money at the time. Even if Apple was able to manufacture a 5G network chip at the time, it would not have a 5G network available, nor would there be a 5G wireless standard to connect to these networks, nor would there be a large number of applications that make full use of 5G technology to reduce latency or bandwidth. Even if Apple built an ARM-style GPU in 2008 (it needs to be more than 10 years earlier than ARM), game developers who bring more than two-thirds of the revenue to the App Store have not made full use of this kind of capable game engine technology.
Most of the ecosystem innovation and investment required to make the iPhone 12 are outside Apple’s vision (although Apple’s iOS platform is the core enabler of these advancements). The construction of Verizon’s 4G network and U.S. electric tower facilities depends on consumer demand and the commercial demand for faster and better wireless networks from applications such as Spotify, Netflix, and Snapchat. Without them, these “4G killer apps” would become slightly faster emails. At the same time, better GPUs also make better games possible, and better cameras have brought more powerful photo sharing services such as Instagram. These more powerful hardware has brought a higher degree of participation, drove the rapid growth of these companies, and then promoted the emergence of better products, applications and services. In the same way, we should regard the entire market as a driving force, just as the popularization of the power grid has brought about the innovation of electric motors, and then the development of the power grid is promoted in the opposite direction.
We must take into account the role of constantly changing user capabilities. The first generation iPhone can completely remove the Home button at the bottom of the screen, instead of waiting for the tenth generation, and this design can save more space for the device, which can be used to put higher-quality hardware or larger batteries. However, the function of the Home button at the time was to make consumers who have never used touch screens gradually become accustomed to touch screen operations. Just like a sliding phone, the dedicated shutdown button can prevent users from being confused and not accidentally touching other applications. Consumers It took us 10 years to get used to the design without a separate Home button. This is critical. As time goes by, consumers become more and more familiar with advanced technologies, so they are more able to adapt to further upgrades, some of which may have existed for many years.
Just as consumers are turning to new ideas, so too does the industry. In the past 20 years, almost all industries have recruited, reorganized, and repositioned around mobile workflows, products, or business lines. This shift is as important as all hardware or software innovations, and therefore brings corresponding innovations.
What should we think of Metaverse and when will it appear?
With the above understanding, let’s look at Metaverse again. People often mistake it for virtual reality, just as narrow as calling the mobile Internet the iPhone. The iPhone is not a mobile Internet, it is the most frequently used consumer hardware and application platform using the mobile Internet.
Sometimes people describe Metaverse as a virtual user-generated content (UGC) platform, which is like treating the Internet as Yahoo, Facebook, or World of Warcraft. Yahoo is an Internet portal/index, Facebook is a UGC-centric social network, and World of Warcraft is an MMO. Sometimes, we gave it a more complicated explanation, such as “Metaverse is a permanent virtual space that allows identities and assets to last.” This is a bit close to the truth, but it’s still invalid. Because this kind of statement is like viewing the Internet as Verizon, Safari, or HTML. These are just the bandwidth providers that connect you to the entire network, the web browsers that access the web pages, and the language that creates web pages and displays. Of course, Metaverse is not a game or virtual space that allows you to stay (similarly, Metaverse has not yet arrived, because more of us gather in virtual space more or more frequently).
On the contrary, we should regard Metaverse as the successor to the state of the mobile Internet. Although consumers will have the core equipment and platform to interact with Metaverse, Metaverse also depends on more factors. We don’t call Facebook or Google the Internet for a reason. They are just destinations or ecosystems on or within the Internet, and they all need to be connected to the Internet through a browser or smartphone. Similarly, “Fortnite” or “Roblox” feels like Metaverse because they incorporate many technologies and trends in one experience, just like the iPhone. It feels like nothing before. The same, but they can’t constitute a Metaverse alone.
The purpose of this article is to provide a way of thinking about the rise of Metaverse. As I said before, the ideal situation of Metaverse (with infinite durability, ubiquitous synchronization, infinite concurrency, and infinite interoperability) will take decades. achieve. However, through continuous, interconnected, and cross-influenced improvements in countless areas, we can still achieve it.
This is all in progress today, not just because the Internet and mobile Internet are related to it, but also because of the emergence of a large number of emerging and Metaverse technologies, experiences and behaviors.
Personally, I am tracking the emergence of Metaverse around 8 core categories, which can also be considered as a stack.
hardware:Sales and support of physical technology and equipment used to access, interact or develop Metaverse. This includes, but is not limited to, consumer-oriented hardware (such as VR helmets, mobile phones, and haptic gloves) and enterprise-level hardware (tools used to operate or create VR or AR environments, such as industrial cameras, projection and tracking systems, and scanning sensors). These categories do not yet include computing hardware (such as GPUs and servers, and network hardware such as fiber optic cables or wireless chipsets).
The internet:The long-lasting, real-time connection, high-bandwidth and decentralized data transmission provided by the backbone network provider, the network, the switching center and the routing services between them, and the provider that manages the transmission of “last mile” data to consumers.
Calculation:It supports the launch and supply of Metaverse computing capabilities, and supports various and demanding functions such as physical computing, rendering, data coordination and synchronization, artificial intelligence, projection, dynamic capture and compilation.
Virtual platform:Immersive digital and 3D simulation, environment and world development and operation, where users and enterprises can explore, create, socialize and participate in various experiences (such as racing, painting, class, listening to music), and can participate in the economy activity. These services are different from traditional online experiences and multiplayer games. The latter are provided by the existing large ecosystem developers and content creators, and are the main content creators, receiving most of the revenue of the corresponding platform.
Exchange tools and standards:As Metaverse interoperable, and promote the creation, operation and continuous improvement of actual or implemented standard tools, protocols, formats, services and engines. These standards support activities such as rendering, physical simulation and AI, including resource formats and their implantation/output between different experiences, forward compatibility management and updates, tools and official activities, and information management.
Pay:Support for digital payment processing, platforms and operations, including purely digital currency and financial service command channels (a form of digital currency exchange), such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and other blockchain technologies.
Metaverse content, services and resources:The design/creation, sale, resale, security protection, and financial management of digital assets, such as virtual items and currencies, are connected to user data and identity. This includes all the businesses and services that are built and served for Metaverse. They are not built into a virtual platform by the platform owner. The content is also specifically built for Metaverse, independent of the virtual platform.
User behavior: changes in visual user and business behavior directly related to Metaverse or reflecting its principles and rules (including consumption and investment, time and attention, decision-making and ability). These behaviors almost always look like “trends” when they first appear, but then they will bring continuous global social influence.
Here, we do not classify single-door encryption technology or blockchain technology as a category. Instead, they are distributed in computing, exchange tools and standards, payment methods, and other categories.
The above categories are extremely important to the development of Metaverse. In many cases, we have a good awareness of the development of these categories, and there is at least a critical threshold (such as VR resolution and frame rate, or network delay) .
But the recent development reminds us that we should not use any specific methods to dogmatize an idealized or fully functional Metaverse.
The Internet was once called the “information superhighway” and the “World Wide Web”, but neither of these two concepts helped in the planning for 2010 or 2020, at least for the world and the entire industry to understand the Internet. Even if these are correct to be more specific, they basically do not reflect the final result. It has been obvious for decades that the Internet will have pure digital transactions, a large amount of UGC content, and online online games, but these cannot predict the emergence of Bitcoin, Douyin or Twitch. Even if someone can predict the technology or operating rules of these products and services, the behavior and monetization patterns of the corresponding users and their influence on the mass society are unpredictable.
In other words, we have a good awareness of individual technologies or behaviors in the formation of Metaverse, but how they are organized together and what they can bring is the most difficult, most important, and most worthy part of society’s vigilance, just like the power revolution It’s not just the amount of electricity generated per square mile in New York in the 1900s.
However, based on previous examples, what we can guess is that Metaverse will revolutionize every industry and function, from healthcare to payment, consumer products, entertainment, hourly labor, and even more. In addition, in order to realize the future of Metaverse, new industries, markets, and resources will be created, and innovations in skill types, occupations, and certifications will be brought about. The combined value of these changes will exceed trillions of dollars.
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