This article was first published at:Walker AI

Recently, a concept called “metauniverse” has gone viral, with Tencent, netease, Bytedance, Facebook, and others jumping in. Even Soul describes itself as a soul-linked social metauniverse for Gen Z.

What exactly is the meta-universe? Why is capital so crazy? It all started with Avalanche, a science fiction novel published in 1992.

Neil Stephenson, author of Avalanche, imagines a three-dimensional digital space that is connected to society. This space is parallel to the real world, and by putting on a headset and eyepiece and finding a terminal, you can connect to a computer-simulated three-dimensional reality. Here, everyone can have their avatar. You can define your avatar, chat, fight with swords, make friends, and spend your income as you wish.

This virtual, three-dimensional reality was the prototype of the Metaverse.

In 2018, the film Ready Player One brought the concept of a meta-universe to the big screen. This time, the meta-universe has a different name — Oasis.

This is the “oasis” world, where the only limit is your own imagination. This is the “oasis” world, where the only limit is your own imagination.

“Oasis” is born out of the real world, and independent of the real world. It has its own operating logic, some in reality, oasis has; What cannot happen in reality can happen in the oasis. If you want, you can be Gundam, King Kong, Ghovachachi, you can dance with the Joker, you can fight Chunli, and you can climb Mount Everest with Batman. Even if in real life, you are a complete loser, in the oasis, you also have the chance to become a young hero, fresh clothes angry horse, a day to see the prosperity of Chang ‘an.

The meta universe gives players infinite possibilities, which may be the charm of the meta universe, and also the reason why the meta universe attracts numerous capital circle bosses into the game. As Roblox CEO Dave Baszucki once said, “Metaverse is something that sci-fi writers and futurists have dreamed up for over 30 years. Now, with the growing popularity of computing power devices and the growing bandwidth of the web, the Metaverse is ripe for acquisition.”

Baszucki sees the meta-universe as an online space where we can work, play, and have fun. There are eight key features of the meta-universe: Guider, guider, Identity, Friends, Low Friction, Variety, Anywhere, Economy, Civility.

First, you need a virtual identity. You can be a rock star or a fashion model, and you can socialize in the meta-universe, whether it’s connecting with existing friends or meeting new ones. It has to be so immersive that you can even ignore the real world. Everything in the Meta happens simultaneously, without delay, and the rich differentiation ensures the attraction of this virtual world, which you can enter anytime, anywhere, whether you’re in bed or on the subway. In addition, the world should have its own set of economic systems to support its independent operation, and it must also have its own system of civilization to promote its continuous development.

Although Roblox’s graphics aren’t nearly as realistic as those of Ready Player One’s Oasis, at first glance, it’s a Lego sandbox. However, Roblox provides a platform for users to create freely. Players can use their imagination to design game characters, construct new game modes, create their own worlds or join others’ worlds.

All Roblox’s users can be the developers of the game. The strong interaction between the user created game and the community ensures the steady growth of users, which makes Roblox difficult to replicate. This makes the capital circle leaders see the great value of Roblox or the meta-universe in the future development of the game.

In March 2020, Roblox, a sandbox gaming platform, went public on the New York Stock Exchange. Roblox, the first company to include the word “universe” in its prospectus, opened at $45 on its first day of trading, up 54.4 percent on the day and giving it a market capitalization of more than $40 billion.

Similarly, in April 2021, Fortnite developer Epic Games announced a $1 billion funding round to fund the development of the MetaUniverse.

Like creative gaming platform Roblox, Fortnite has a meta-bias, but it’s much more entertaining. Fortnite gives you tremendous freedom to reinvent the game, defend the fortress world as Marvel superheroes, listen to a virtual concert by Travis Scott, watch Nolan’s Inception… Take Travis Scott’s virtual concert, an immersive 10-minute online event that attracted more than 12 million simultaneous players across Asia, Europe, Oceania, and the United States. The concert’s constantly changing venues, cool game effects, and over ten million audience are not comparable to any offline concert.

Tencent and Roblox agreed to a strategic partnership back in 2019, invested in Roblox’s $150 million Series G round in February 2020, and has a 40% stake in Epic Games. Tencent is also behind sandbox games such as Aylan Island and Lego Infinity. This shows Tencent’s determination to win the battle of the meta-universe.

In addition to Tencent, major companies such as netease, Lilith and Bytedance are also speeding up the layout of the meta universe. Netease’s Beaver project, Lilith’s Da Vinci UGC platform, Bytedance’s investment in Restart the World… Shows the importance Dachang attaches to the meta-universe. The gradual maturity of VR, AR, 5G, cloud computing, blockchain and other technologies has made the meta-universe, a crazy, fuzzy concept that exists in science fiction, possible.

The meta-universe is happening, but it’s too far away to be built by a single giant company, and it needs to be explored by many more participants and countless content creators. Jules Verne, the father of science fiction, once said, “Anything one man can imagine, other men can make real.” We look forward to the emergence of a meta-universe.