1. Video game and software developer Epic Games is committed to building a meta universe, the core of which is to change people’s social style.
2. Sweeney, CEO of epic, believes that the metauniverse he envisions should be a vast digital space in which users can explore freely.
3. Sweeney said that compared with the carefully edited and advertised news push provided by platforms such as Facebook, the metauniverse will be very different.
4. Sweeney calls the economic ecosystem created by Silicon Valley giants “walled gardens”, which have hindered the construction of the meta universe.
5. Epic itself currently has a walled garden. The app store is still a closed market, but it is promoting cross platform and interoperability standards.
6. Building Sweeney’s metacosmic vision still faces many major obstacles, even beyond epic’s control.
Tencent technology news on September 30, the popular game fortrite night of video game and software developer Epic Games has formed the prototype of “metaverse”, but its CEO Tim Sweeney and company executives have a greater vision. They hope to change people’s social style as the core, break the “fence garden” of technology giants, and focus on the role of creators.
Sweeney believes that people are tired of today’s Internet operation. He said that the Internet social media era led by Facebook under Mark Zuckerberg has separated enterprises from ordinary audiences, brought users together, guided them to the goals selected by the company, rather than allowing them to explore freely. “Now we are in the wave of ‘closed platforms’, and apple and Google are also in this wave. Until we come out, everyone will realize:’ we have been used for the past decade, ‘” Sweeney said
Sweeney has been looking for solutions for many years. He is very optimistic about the potential of the metauniverse. In the past few years, Epic Games has been acquiring step by step and taking strategic measures with the goal of turning Sweeney’s vision of the meta universe into reality.
The simplest way to define the meta universe is how users interact with brands and each other on the Internet. For Sweeney, the metauniverse will be a vast, digital public space where users can freely deal with brands or each other. Metauniverse can be an online playground where users can play multiplayer games such as fortress night with their friends. The next moment, they can watch movies together through Netflix, and then test drive a car carefully built in the real world and exactly the same in the virtual world with their friends. Sweeney said that metauniverse will not be a carefully edited and advertised news push provided by platforms such as Facebook.
Sweeney said: “The metauniverse will be very different. Car manufacturers who want to occupy a place in the metauniverse will not advertise, but put their cars into the world in real time. You can drive it around. They will work with many content creators with different experiences to ensure that their cars can appear anywhere and get the attention they deserve.”
In the 1990s, people using the Internet through companies such as AOL should remember how to log in through telephone dialing to view e-mail, chat in real time through AOL Instant Messenger, and perhaps check websites or bulletin boards before exiting. Sweeney believes that today, “always online” The smart phone centered featured feed culture revolves around social media and making money through advertising. Various companies take advantage of this model, which is good for them but bad for users.
Sweeney believes that platforms such as Google and apple have similar growth in scale, and have also contributed to the transfer of Internet power. He calls the economic ecosystem created by Silicon Valley giants “walled garden” , the term often appears in the antitrust litigation of epic games against apple, but most of the time it ends in failure. The lawsuit focuses on Apple’s app store. Epic Games argues that Apple’s App Store constitutes a monopoly because Apple controls whether apps can appear in its store and gets 30% of the share from these in app transactions.
Among the ten charges filed by epic games against apple, U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers In the ruling, judge Rogers pointed out that Epic Games’ action against Apple was carefully planned to remove the obstacles to the creation of the meta universe. Sweeney’s vision of the meta universe will enable users to seamlessly jump from one platform to another without being affected by the public Division virtual ecosystem constraints.
Although Sweeney and Epic Games are pursuing their metacosmic dream, it is also a common goal of many large technology-centered companies. Zuckerberg recently said he hopes users will no longer see Facebook as a social media company, but more as a metacosmic company. A few months ago, Satya NADELLA, chief executive of Microsoft Is one of the first American technology executives to call their company’s products “enterprise version of the meta universe”.
The common ambition of these large companies has laid the foundation for the high-risk competition of building a meta universe. Epic Games believes that it has a first mover advantage in this field. A number of executives, developers and stakeholders of the company have recently been interviewed to discuss its vision for the meta universe. The message from Epic Games and its companies is clear: Sweeney and others want to create something that is obviously contrary to modern social media platforms. The company believes that it is well suited to realize its virtual vision through its own technology and a series of acquisitions. However, there are still major obstacles in this process, which seems to be beyond the control of Epic Games, which poses a great challenge to Sweeney’s ambition.
The next wave of social media
The core of Epic Games’ metauniverse vision is to change the way people socialize on the Internet. Sima Sistani, co-founder of houseparty, a video chat social network acquired by Epic Games in 2019, believes that interaction will shift from “likes”, comments and posts about people’s personal life to more complex ways, and users can share and participate in the experience through various services.
Before starting the houseparty, Sistani worked for Tumblr and Yahoo. He said: “If the last wave of social media focused on sharing, the next wave will focus on participation. Maybe I didn’t call it metauniverse at that time, but it hasn’t changed in essence. It promotes people to come together and experience the feeling of interaction, transfer from one experience to another, and have this sharing beyond the walled garden.”
Sistani’s description is very similar to the inherent interactive nature of video games. Compared with simple advertising services, video games provide more ways to interact with brands and other users. Sistani said: “We have seen this situation in the past. People first turned from traditional media to social media, and now from social media to games. This is where they chat. This is where they go beyond” like “and news push. This is metauniverse.”
In Epic Games’ portfolio, this is most obvious in its flagship game fortress night. It is a chicken eating game that supports hundreds of people to fight, and its popularity soared in 2018. As reported by the media, Epic Games has become a leader in the meta universe, which is due to hundreds of millions of users logging in every month Fortress night, they use electronic guns to create and talk in the battle of the multiplayer arena. This game has also become a forum where players can interact in real time on topics such as marvel or star wars. It has even become a display window for high-end consumer goods.
Earlier this year, Ferrari 296gtb was launched into fortress night, which can be said to be a touchstone for the automotive industry to use the metauniverse. Donald mustard, chief creative officer of Epic Games, said that the game has become an experiential laboratory and incubator for these ideas.
Mustard believes that fortress night is a changing virtual world shaped by the brand feedback of players and Epic Games partners, whether Marvel directors Anthony, Joseph Russo or rapper Travis Scott , they were deeply involved in the guidance and creative process of their own activities in the game. Mustard said that players had shaped the game as early as 2018, and the “comet landing” activity at that time really changed the rules of the game.
Mustard also said: “in this world, some things make people feel like real history and are shaped by the community. All this is feedback to us. We focus on what the community is doing and try to come back to them in a way that feels real and is building a part of the world.”
Community interaction is the core concept of the meta universe, so how did it develop from the era of social media? Sistani said: “The current situation is that it is based on algorithmic push driven by advertising revenue, not a model. This will immediately bring you into a polarized world: whether you put happiness at the center of what you are doing, not advertising, and the goal is cooperation, entertainment, participation and making new friends. These are completely different incentives and motives.”
Epic Games’ toolkit is very suitable for creating the kind of collaborative and interesting experience described by sitani. Long before fortress night swept the world, the game personally supervised by Sweeney made its debut in 1998 and became the core product of Epic Games. The game is called unreal and powered by the engine now called Unreal Engine.
In short, the game engine is a set of software tools used to build virtual characters and worlds. At least 7 million people around the world are using unreal engine, especially game developers, but it is also widely used outside the video game industry. The most famous and latest example is that unreal engine is working for people like the Mandalorian The setting and background of such TV programs are supported. Carmakers such as Ferrari have used unreal engine to model vehicles.
In the metauniverse strategy of Epic Games, continuous content creation will be required to attract user participation. Therefore, Epic Games is making unreal engine as easy as possible for novices to understand. Marc Petit, general manager of unreal engine, said: “We are trying to turn it into a very, very simple process. We are trying to create this super complex technology to power the meta universe and make it accessible to millions of people.”
Epic Games is applying this strategy in another way and strengthening cooperation with external companies such as Manticore games. Manticore Games was founded by Jordan Maynard and Frederic Descamps, formerly known as core. It is a game creation platform based on unreal engine. It is similar to roblox, but has higher budget visual effects, allowing people to build the game world with simple and easy-to-use tools. Core tries to bridge the gap between players and creative personnel, and further stimulate development on the platform by accounting for half of the income with developers.
“This is a different way of thinking and the product of interaction with the community. Suddenly, you think not only of players, but also of player creators,” said de Campos. Epic Games regards these creators as another cornerstone of building the meta universe. In the trial with apple, Epic Games discussed in detail the desire to turn fortress night into a more creator friendly business model, which will also reflect the emerging Internet trend.
Over the past decade, Internet culture has evolved into a trend of acceptance and driven by tens of millions of content creators around the world. The most popular is to use their huge audience to attract profitable transactions, which have turned many people from creators to online celebrities, who have shaped popular culture. Taking Justin Bieber as an example, de Campos said: “many of the top entertainment people in the world today are not in Hollywood.” Bieber began his career after he was discovered on YouTube. Video games have also created many celebrities, which was impossible at the beginning of the Internet.
Video game celebrities have become a new class of celebrities, sometimes even dwarfing the influence of traditional celebrities. A 2019 study found that among “generation Z”, pewdiepie, the person with the highest subscription on youtube, was more popular than NBA star LeBron James, who expanded the audience through games.
Tyler Blevins, also known as “Ninja”, set off a wave of streaming media users seeking and winning professional contracts with social media companies. In 2019, breivins reached a landmark multi million dollar deal with Microsoft’s now closed live service mixer, which opened the trend that other companies such as youtube and twitch tried to sign contracts with superstars. Many of these stars have hired professional brokerage companies and public relations teams.
Facebook may be the leading social network, but some media reported in July that the company is catching up, catching up in space including instagram. This effort includes trying to lock famous video game characters on Twitter and Youtube into an exclusive streaming contract on Facebook.
Epic Games has shown that the company can attract game players like breivins, who become famous by playing fortress night, but can also attract more traditional celebrities in the music industry. DJ marshmello, Travis Scott and Ariana Grande all gave groundbreaking concerts in Fortress night. In Microsoft’s my world, the popular double group 100 GECS of generation Z also held a music festival.
As for itself, when it comes to music, core prefers the creative process. Producer and DJ deadmau5 will use core to shoot his next music video and ask users to help him realize his vision.
Such creative projects give full play to the advantages of game companies such as Epic Games. As analysts in this field have pointed out in the past two years, video game companies are not only best at creating fictitious virtual space, but also because of the high-performance PCs and machines required to play modern games, viewers will know how to control the technology of virtual space. In short, all this provides an ideal environment for creators, especially compared with current social media platforms.
For creators like Sean noell of Michigan, the future of the Internet is not just bargaining and competing for space on unlimited rolling subscriptions. Noel made maps and experiences under the net name of chase Jackman in Fortress night. He was one of the creators of the recent Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration of the “march through time”. This is a cooperative project between fortress night and Time magazine. It is said that more than 8.1 million players participated in this activity.
He said: “I really want to see such an Internet: social media is not about fans, but about the quality of your work. I don’t want to put all my into a project and watch it fail because of lack of fan attention. A place where like-minded people can meet and make a career means that anyone will be able to build on their skills, Not their popularity. ”
Dequan Dawson, the fan creator of Fortress night, also known as gquanoe, believes that in any iteration of the Internet, the discovery of creative work needs to become the key to helping the creator.
“I want to see a shortcut that allows people to find my work through search, such as top search results with pictures and videos showing my work, or in addition to fortress night,” he said At present, due to the barriers between different products on the Internet, there are not many ways to accurately display my works, but it will certainly be helpful to display them with a wider range of tools and in places outside the game. ”
The real obstacles of the universe
If the video game world can be regarded as an interactive building, thanks to the wide use of unreal engine, Epic Games has become one of the largest suppliers of building materials. Now Sweeney wants to help build bridges between these buildings.
Over the years, unreal engine has been used in many different industries except video games. Global construction companies such as Hok and Zaha Hadid are already using the twinmotion business of unreal engine and Epic Games for architectural visualization. Epic Games is not only a game manufacturer, but also a contractor providing building materials for the virtual world.
Sweeney said: “I think Epic Games is a unique company, because we always serve both the consumer audience and the developer audience. Our business is based on the synergy between the two. This is good for both consumers and developers, and can avoid turning the consumer ecosystem company into an overlord with too much power.”
Critics may point out that Epic Games itself is now a walled garden, just like the companies Sweeney ridicules. Sweeney acknowledges this. In addition to logging in using various other services such as Microsoft or social media, the Epic Games store is still a closed market. However, Epic Games has become the main factor affecting the current wave of cross platform interoperability between game consoles and PCs. the company has successfully persuaded Nintendo, Xbox and Sony to open the multiplayer platform while playing fortress night and connect with other platforms. Since then, games like “rocket alliance” and “call of duty” have adopted cross platform and cross data storage standards.
Sweeney pointed out that novel coronavirus pneumonia isolation accelerated people’s acceptance of the persistent network world as the real world did last year, but there are still a series of standards and practices to be developed to create any form of the yuan universe, which was established by Internet Engineering Task Force, a government funded researcher in 1986. To formally develop and promote Internet standards is no different.
Sweeney also said, “you need a complete set of standards, and the web is based on several standards.” he listed many factors, such as HTML becoming the standard file format for displaying web browser pages. He said: “the metauniverse needs a lot of such things. The file format used to describe 3D scenes and the network protocol used to describe the way players interact in real time. Every multiplayer game has some kind of network protocol. Not everyone agrees with these protocols, but in the end, they should line up and let them communicate.”
This is the biggest challenge Sweeney faces in realizing its vision. Although Epic Games can weave a meta universe with many of its ideas and other works based on unreal engine, Sweeney and others will not imagine a “meta universe” until the barriers between many of the world’s largest brands are broken. “I think the real power to shape the meta universe into an open platform is the participation of all brands,” he said
In this regard, the judge’s decision was a heavy blow to Epic Games, but the company has appealed. If Epic Games cannot find a legal mechanism to dismantle the walled garden, it may need to follow the successful promotion of cross game in Fortress night, which is the best example of Epic Games opening the traditional closed ecosystem.
Sweeney said he is optimistic that the next evolution of the Internet may return to the spirit of cooperation, which promoted the landmark personal computer technology standardization agreement reached between apple, IBM and Motorola in 1991. Sweeney said: “hundreds of industries will enter this field, and each industry is aware of the need to protect its own brand. I think this will be the ultimate check and balance system, which does not exist in the social media revolution. I think it will continue to promote the vigorous development of the Internet.” (reviewed by Tencent technology / Jinlu)