Tencent technology news on August 2, Mark Zuckerberg has set an ambitious new goal for Facebook, that is, to build the “next generation Internet”. After applications such as Facebook, instagram and WhatsApp attracted nearly two-thirds of the world’s Internet users, Zuckerberg told investors that his latest obsession was to build a “metaverse”. This is a recently hyped concept, which refers to a virtual world full of avatars and immersive people.
Mark Zuckerberg’s ambition to build a future digital world puts Facebook in competition with game makers and apple
At the recent earnings call analyst conference, Zuckerberg said: “in the next few years, I hope people will no longer see us as a social media company, but as a metauniverse company.” Not long ago, the company announced that it even set up a special team for this purpose. Facebook said that the company would spend billions of dollars a year on a wider range of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), which is a bold bet on the future digital world because the competition to build the “next computing platform” other than smartphones is heating up.
Facebook now has more than 10000 employees engaged in various projects in this field, including the development of AR glasses (covering objects and information in the real world) and a wristband, which allows wearers to interact with the real world through subtle finger movements. Zuckerberg said he believes that AR system will be everywhere in the next decade, and Facebook’s first smart glasses are expected to be released later this year. But the company faces fierce competition, especially from smartphone maker apple. It is rumored that Apple will launch an AR device as early as next year.
Facebook is developing ar glasses that can cover objects in the real world and wristbands that can interact with the real world through finger movement
It is unclear what Facebook’s “metauniverse” will look like. Zuckerberg’s VR social application horizon has been developed for two years, but it has not been opened to external users. However, on the analyst conference call, Zuckerberg described a virtual world where people can hang out, send work messages, play games and even dance together.
He also made it clear that he was determined to monetize opportunities in the virtual world. He said that advertising “is likely to be an important part of the meta universe”, and so is commerce. He described such a space: when people “transfer from one experience to another”, they will buy digital clothes and goods and carry them with them.
The move comes at a time of renewed conflict between Facebook and apple. Previously, the iPhone manufacturer modified its operating system, limiting Facebook’s ability to collect data to advertise to users.
In an interview with technology reporter Casey Newton not long ago, Zuckerberg hinted that this competition was the driving force of his bet on the meta universe strategy. “One of the reasons why we have invested so much in AR and VR is that smartphones appear at the same time as Facebook to some extent, so we don’t really play an important role in shaping the development of these platforms,” he said
Facebook’s “metauniverse” will also trigger a battle with some of the world’s most popular video games and the development companies behind them, such as fortress night developer Epic Games, minecraft and roblox, which have become early leaders in building an immersive virtual world.
Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic Games, described the metauniverse as “a phenomenon beyond Games”. The company has been steadily adding social networking functions to fortress night, and has acquired smaller start-ups such as sketchfab, a 3D modeling company, to build its game technology unreal engine, which can provide a graphical basis for other virtual worlds.
Earlier this year, in the court dispute between Epic Games and apple, Sweeney said: “our goal is to use science fiction to build a virtual world similar to the metauniverse.” This competition is not limited to the game field. Microsoft announced on a recent earnings conference call that it is also developing an “enterprise version of the metauniverse”.
Luke Alvarez, a technology investor in London, said: “the trend of credit is revealed everywhere in this field. It’s a bit like the automotive industry in 1905, when hundreds of companies came up with a variety of solutions. ”
At present, it is not clear whether there will be a dominant “meta universe”, nor whether there will be competition in the “meta universe” of many companies. Zuckerberg told analysts that he expected users to be able to access Facebook’s “metauniverse” from different devices or applications.
Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, said that the goal of Fortress night is to use science fiction to build a virtual world similar to the meta universe
Facebook, with nearly 3 billion users, may be able to compete for the status of “winner take all”, but Alvarez argued that although this social media can become a key participant, it “certainly will not have only one metauniverse”. Putting this concept into practice also faces great technical challenges, including creating digital currencies that can be used in different games, and graphic rendering systems that can animate thousands of avatars sharing the same virtual city or concert venue.
Herman Narula, CEO of London based start-up imbable, said that the computing platform must support billions of operations per second in order to “produce some of the experiences people are talking about”. He described the company as building a “pipeline of the meta universe”. Today, games that can hold up to 100 players, such as fortress night, can only process thousands of operations per second.
“When thousands of fans roar around you, your feeling in the stadium will be very different from that on the message board,” Narula said
Another question is whether non game consumers are ready to accept this somewhat “dystopian” science fiction vision. Although Facebook has begun to see an improvement in the sales of its oculus VR helmet, it lacks a game that can make people believe that they want to exchange instagram for a new way of digital entertainment. In particular, the attractiveness of Facebook’s “metauniverse” will also depend on whether it can solve people’s continuing concerns about its ability to control harassment and abuse and privacy after many scandals.
It will also depend on whether the company can advertise in a non-invasive manner. Last month, blaston, Facebook’s first oculus helmet advertising partner and shooting game, withdrew from the program within a week after strong opposition from the game industry. Despite the challenges, Zuckerberg’s determination to build a “meta universe” has not wavered. “This will bring new experiences and economic opportunities,” he believes（ Tencent Technology (reviser / Jinlu)