On the first anniversary of PICO acquisition, has Tiaoyin entered the universe?

Source:Alphabet List

Author: Liu Xingzhi

At the end of August this year, a web3.0 project leader sent a circle of friends: "VR is so close to the user's interactive form, but the current two drivers are Zuckerberg and Zhang Yiming, who are most like machines."

At this time, it was a whole year since last year's announcement of the acquisition of Pico, a VR head display manufacturer. With the strong support of Tiao Yin, the sales volume of PICO, which has just announced the brand upgrade, continues to grow. In the first half of this year, its market share is the first in China and the second in the world. Since April 9 this year, PICO has launched three concerts.

At the end of 2020, Douyin and Lehua, a well-known brokerage company in China, jointly launched A-SOUL, a virtual idol group. Although it has encountered some controversy, the number of fans on the whole network has reached nearly 20 million. On June 17, A-SOUL broadcast the live broadcast for the first time on PICO. For the first time, Douyin's virtual human shook hands with users in the Douyin universe.

Source: PICO-VR official microblog

As for virtual social networking and game engine, in June this year, Douyin acquired the second dimension virtual social networking platform Wave Particle; In August, he also participated in the investment of game engine developer Unity China. On the whole, this section is still in the early stage of development and cannot be too demanding.

Several popular VR devices, a rich content ecology, a virtual idol group, and the virtual social networking that has not yet landed are all the achievements of Dithering one year after it entered the universe.

In the past year, the dithering sound tested the water along different paths, but the outline of the meta universe has not yet been found out.It has made some achievements in various branches, but it has not kneaded them in the same meta universe.If we leave aside the concept of the meta universe, its current progress can be categorized in the concept category of intelligent devices, online social networking and even online games.

This is also a common fault of Baidu, Tencent, Ali, Meta and other companies when they set foot in the universe. They either start from hardware, or from platform or software, but today they are still in the stage of "blind people feeling the elephant"; The outside world cannot perceive the mystery of the meta universe, and enterprises also doubt whether what they have done is a meta universe. The meta universe dominated by Internet companies still has a long way to go before it becomes a "universe".

2021 is the first year of the meta universe. In March, the "first share of the universe" and the American game development community Robox were listed in the United States; In October, Facebook, a social media giant, announced that it was renamed Meta and officially entered the Metauniverse. On August 29, Tiao Yin acquired PICO, which was regarded as a signal for it to enter the meta universe.

Unlike the high-profile renamed Meta, Tiao Yin did not publicize the concept of meta universe in the public opening, and PICO also has provisions prohibiting the promotion of meta universe. However, this does not prevent the outside world from connecting dithering with the meta universe.

On this track, the capital, manpower and traffic of Tiaoyin quickly poured in. PICO changed its low profile before acquisition and pressed the fast forward button. PICO began to appear in the shake tone open screen ads, popular variety shows and online celebrity live broadcast rooms, and offline sales outlets entered the core business circle of first-line cities. Under the strong traffic attack, the sales volume of PICO's VR head display products began to double.

Source: PICO-VR official microblog

With the growth of sales volume, Tiao Yin began to recruit people around PICO. At present, the PICO team has grown to 1000 people. Ren Lifeng, the head of watermelon video, Song Binghua, the head of Douyin variety show, Wu Zuomin, the director of Douyin entertainment, and others have also been transferred to the VR product department, which shows that Douyin pays attention to PICO internally.

In addition, Tiao Yin acquired the second dimension virtual social platform Bo Particle in June this year, and the team was merged into the PICO social center. Ma Jiesi, the founder of Bo Particle and former head of Xiaomi VR, is responsible for PICO social business.

The virtual idol business, which is jointly operated by Dithering and Lehua Entertainment, has also been linked with VR business. On June 17, A-SOUL, a virtual idol group, was broadcast live on PICO for the first time, and the number of applicants exceeded Wang Feng's VR concert.

The tycoon who captured the air vent of the universe is not only Tiaoyin.

At the end of 2021, Baidu's meta universe product XiRang will be launched. Almost at the same time, Tencent also began to explore the meta universe. QQ and QQ Music have launched two functions with meta universe elements, namely, Super QQ Show and Music Zone, and registered hundreds of meta universe trademarks. In addition, Tencent was originally one of the potential buyers of PICO, but was later cut off by Tiaoyin.

At present, dithering is used as a meta universe, mainly as a VR device. The most common use scenario of the latter is games.

In this field, Douyin has hands such as Chaoxi Lightyear and Mutong Technology, and has the strength to break hands with Tencent. It plays "from hard to soft", laying the hardware entrance first, and improving the software ecology step by step.

In contrast, Tencent has chosen to go from soft to hard. It will first set up services on mobile apps with a high degree of popularity, and then transfer to them after the hardware is launched in the future. In June this year, it was revealed that Tencent had officially established the Extended Reality (XR) department. Earlier, the news of Tencent's acquisition of Black Shark Technology was reported on the street.

Social networking and games are the hinterland of Tencent and the fields that Ditto has always wanted to break through. The collision between the two giants may be one of the biggest attractions of the future meta universe track.

In the past year, Tiao Yin Meta Universe has made investment and progress in hardware, software and internal social networking system, but this "universe" is still fragmented, with several sectors fighting on their own. Although there are some internal linkages, compared with the "universe", it is more like a fragmented scene.

In terms of development path selection, dithering is similar to Meta. However, even Meta of All in Metauniverse lacks successful experience in how to take a critical step from VR hardware to software ecology. The current experience of VR devices is still more like a home game console than a next-generation Internet portal device capable of carrying users' daily lives.

According to IDC data, the global AR/VR head display shipments will exceed 10 million in 2021, largely due to Meta: its VR head display product Quest2 accounted for 78% of the global market share last year. PICO's shipment volume accounts for 4.1%, and it is in a dominant position in the Asian market. Quest2 has tens of millions of people, while PICO has millions of people.

Last year, the number of new users of consumer VR head displays was equivalent to the total population of Sweden. From the perspective of user size, the meta universe vision seems to be within reach.However, the reality is that the experience provided by Tiaoyin or other companies' Metauniverse is far from meeting people's expectations for the concept of "universe".

There are still not enough VR hardware. From the perspective of innovation diffusion, when the scale of new things reaches the critical value of 10% - 25%, the diffusion will be accelerated and difficult to reverse. In the domestic smartphone market, the critical value is 12%, and the domestic VR market is far away from this node.

On the other hand, Meta and Treble have not found more landing scenarios for VR hardware.

Social networking is Meta's strong point. Meta has tried to move social networking into VR, but the results are not satisfactory. In August this year, Horizon World (hereinafter referred to as Horizon), Meta's VR social platform, was launched. Zuckerberg also showed his selfie in it as a celebration, which attracted netizens' complaints. Netizens believe that the rough modeling of characters and scenes on the horizon is not even better than the open world game ten years ago.

Diaoyin launched the "Party Island" app last year, but on July 25 this year, the party island was off the shelves in major app stores. PICO has recently recruited people for social business, and the mission of "creating new connections for users" also vaguely shows the trend of social networking. However, at present, PICO has not made a big move in meta universe social networking.

The bigger problem is that even if Internet companies achieve social functions on VR devices, they are still far away from the imagined meta universe.

At present, Meta's investment in the meta universe has reached the level of 10 billion US dollars, and byte's investment in the acquisition of PICO has also reached 10 billion yuan. With such huge capital investment and marketing offensive, users' expectations have been raised infinitely, and the science fiction film "Number One Player" just describes a wonderful blueprint.

In "Top Player", users can build their identity in the virtual world by themselves. The virtual world is parallel to and interconnected with the real world, and even currencies can be exchanged.

Taking out any of these elements alone, we can find a similar mapping in reality: there are already relatively portable VR devices in the real world, sandbox games like My World, blockchains and tradable virtual currencies. This is also a reason for the explosion of the concept of the meta universe. Human beings have made considerable progress in the basic technologies of the meta universe.

However, a game developer said that he wanted to achieve an experience similar to the "Number One Player" on VR devices. In terms of the current technical level, the price would be very high. Many users are also disappointed to find that after the initial novelty, the VR head display is essentially not different from other electronic devices in their hands. Most of the things VR can do, such as watching movies, concerts, mobile phones and computers, are also competent, but there is a certain gap in immersion.

Zuckerberg once said that it would be a long way to build a basic platform for the meta universe. He expected that Horizon would still be a beta version in the next few years.

Ma Xiaoyi, senior vice president of Tencent, also predicted the vision of the meta universe in a speech this year. He was pessimistic about the changes of the meta universe in the short 2-3 years, and the time node of qualitative change may be ten years later. Although many related technologies have made breakthroughs, they are all dedicated to the exploration, which is far from the concept of the meta universe itself, as well as the technology and business.

Although there are various problems, many faithful believers, like Zuckerberg, remain optimistic about the long-term vision of VR. They believe that in time, everyone will enter the meta universe, and VR is the gate of the meta universe.

Believers also place their hopes on apples. Recently, Guo Mingxuan, a well-known analyst, said that Apple plans to ship about 1.5 million AR/VR head displays in 2023. Guo believes that Apple's entry into the VR market is the explosive period. Whether it is hardware R&D experience, software ecology, or user base, PICO, or even Meta obviously cannot compare with Apple. The huge investment of the two manufacturers may help Apple complete the work of educating users.

On the other hand, the content ecology behind a device is basically positively related to the user base. It seems that the growth of users will certainly bring about the prosperity of the content ecology. Supporters of the concept of the meta universe believe that VR will become a just needed product like mobile phones after the content ecology gradually prospers. Their logic is:Web1.0 corresponds to PC, web2.0 corresponds to smartphone, virtual world always needs a screen to connect with the real world, and web3.0 should respond to VR.

However, Li Chen (a pseudonym), the person in charge of a web3.0 project, said, "This is a linear thinking, which may not be true."

Li Chen believed that PC had already had a certain market before the advent of the Internet, while mobile phones had already become just needed products before the advent of the mobile Internet. The reason why smart phones can develop to today's scale is that the mobile phone itself is a large enough market.

"The biggest problem with VR is that it is not just needed." Li Chen believes that, at least at present, people do not really need a bulky and expensive device to simulate reality.

The aforementioned game developers believe that in the short term, VR landing scenarios may include VR tourism, VR games, VR videos and other scenarios. "The experience of these scenes has improved significantly, and the input cost is one-time, which can be reused."

As for the landing of VR office, social networking and other scenarios, this person is not optimistic. "Why does ZOOM cost so much to solve the problem?"

In fact, in addition to Meta, the giant's investment in VR and the meta universe is "big bang, small rain". Compared with the volume of Tiao Yin, the 9 billion that bought PICO is not large. The investment of Tiao Yin in the medical and health field is almost equal to the investment in the meta universe.

Of course, behind the investment in hardware, Tiao Yin also has its own "careful thinking". At present, the sales volume of PICO is still on the rise. For Tiaoyin, it means billions or even tens of billions of revenue every year.

In essence, the layout of such giants as Tiao Yin and Tencent on the hardware of the Metauniverse is a mindset of "willing to pay wrongly and not miss it". If the vision in "The Number One Player" is finally realized, the first mover advantage in this field will be "one cost, ten thousand profits". If it is not realized, VR may also become a profitable business.

According to IDC data, it is estimated that the apparent shipment volume will increase by 46.9% year on year at the beginning of 2022, and will maintain a double-digit growth rate by 2026. "From an optimistic estimate, the ceiling of VR may be equivalent to the current game console," said the game developer, "even if the meta universe fails, if the next PlayStation or Switch can really appear on this track, no giant will be willing to miss it."

At the same time of brand upgrading, PICO released several wallpapers, one of which is the moon surface in the background, Armstrong's footprints in the lower right corner, and PICO's round logo in the upper left corner.

The implication of wallpaper is very beautiful. The year of acquisition is just a small step in the long march, no matter for PICO or Tiao Yin; The world's leading XR platform, or the vision of the meta universe, is a goal as far-reaching as landing on the moon.

However, in reality, due to high investment, unclear business prospects and other reasons, no human has ever landed on the moon since the Apollo Program. The meta universe plan of the Internet giant also has the same vision and challenges as Apollo's moon landing.

reference material:

Alphabet of QQ's Medicine, Tencent's Ticket

"PICO Rush: Byte Universe Press Fast Forward" all-weather technology

The Byte Universe Company Emerges, Named Metaverse for the First Time among the Large Internet Factories in China

Giant's Re evaluation of the Metauniverse Photon Planet

First Anniversary of PICO Entering Byte: Pico4 Planning with Left Hand and Meta Engineer with Right Hand