The reason why the generative AI represented by ChatGPT is so hot is that it looks like a new era of productivity tools.
▲ Picture from: Midjourney
How big is the imagination, how much room will AI tools such as ChatGPT and Midjourney have to play.
As Peter Parker's uncle said, "With great power comes great responsibility."
So, I asked ChatGPT a question, whether it will be a technical prerequisite for building the Metaverse.
As in the past, it gave an affirmative answer without hesitation, and believed that "generative AI can help creators and developers in the Metaverse quickly generate virtual content."
Then he told me intimately what the "metaverse" looks like, and OpenAI is also paying close attention to the development of the metaverse.
Although ChatGPT's answer may only be freely arranged and combined from its database, it makes sense.
▲ Ammaar Reshi used ChatGPT and Midjourney to write a children's book "Alice and Spark" Picture from: businessinsider
At present, the content generated by ChatGPT has begun to be used in the content industry such as books and dramas, and it has also played a significant role in promoting the content construction of the Metaverse.
Under the background of the discussion of ChatGPT by the whole people, the concept of Metaverse, which was on the air a few years ago, seems to be quickly forgotten.
For Meta, who is fully committed to the metaverse project, generative AI may only be the foreshadowing of the rise of the metaverse, and Mark Zuckerberg's ultimate goal remains unchanged.
Recently, Meta announced in a high-profile way its plans for AR and VR devices in the next four years, as well as its hopes for how the Metaverse business will make money.
Three VR, one pair of AR glasses, one watch
Previously, IDC stated that Meta accounted for 90% of the VR helmet market share, almost in a monopoly position.
▲ Quest 2
It can be thought that if you want to buy VR, you can choose Meta's Quest series without thinking. If the Metaverse is built overnight, then Meta will almost monopolize the entrance to the Metaverse.
At the same time, in order to quickly absorb users, Meta has been selling Quest VR headsets at a loss, and plans to make profits through services in the future to make up for the previous hardware losses.
This approach is somewhat similar to Google's open source Android system, and Apple's free delivery system for buying a computer. It belongs to long-term fishing.
At present, Meta has sold 20 million Quest VR headsets, and will continue to update them later, and insist on the route of burning money to attract users.
Specifically, Meta's planning is roughly divided into two parts, VR helmets and AR glasses.
- VR headset
Meta's VP of VR Mark Rabkin said later this year the flagship Quest 3 headset, internally code-named Stinson, will launch.
▲ Quest 3 renderings, pricing may come to $499
Compared with Quest 2, it will be lighter and thinner, but the performance will be doubled, and the price will be slightly higher than Quest 2.
In terms of specific features, Quest 3 will have some features of Quest Pro. The added front camera will allow users to maintain a connection with the real world, highlighting a "mixed" reality.
At the same time, a cheaper VR helmet code-named Ventura will also be launched, which is sold at a cost-effective price, which will bring great impact to the VR helmet market.
As for the subsequent iteration of Quest Pro, it may arrive in 2024, and plans to increase the resolution and bring a truly immersive work experience, just like you are looking at the text on paper in the real world.
- AR glasses
As early as 2021, Meta and Ray-Ban jointly launched a pair of smart glasses, which are ordinary sunglasses and a pair of cameras, which can share the captured images to Facebook and Instagram.
▲ Image of Ray-Ban smart glasses from: TheVerge
Meta will launch an upgraded version of the glasses this year, and a third-generation product will be launched in 2025.
For the third generation of products, Alex Himel, vice president of AR, said that a small display (somewhat similar to the current smart glasses) will be added for interaction.
▲ Meta has canceled the smart watch
And along with the glasses, Meta also plans to launch a smartwatch that will serve as an input device and expand into health and fitness.
Strictly speaking, most of these products are edge balls of the Metaverse, not AR glasses.
▲ A demonstration at the end of 2021 showed how Mata imagined that AR glasses could allow people to play chess with holograms. Image from: Meta
Inside Meta, there is actually an AR glasses code-named Orion (Orion), which has been in development for 8 years, will start internal testing in 2024, and will be officially launched in 2027.
Zuckerberg called the AR glasses a landmark device that would revolutionize and define our relationship with technology.
Not surprisingly, Meta's first small goal for the metaverse will also be in 2027.
And Himel, vice president of Meta virtual reality, estimates that there will be a market capacity of 2 billion pairs of AR glasses every year in the future, which will usher in a better era for Meta.
To be honest, Meta is indeed the best choice for VR helmet hardware, and as Meta continues to build content, it is also the device with the most potential.
However, the difference is that Meta's software, or Metaverse, is quite crude, and the annual investment of more than 10 billion U.S. dollars still seems to be ineffective.
In the Connect conference held in the past two years, Meta will release the rendered image of related virtual characters.
Bust, no lower body, the rendered image of the avatar is too retro, and has been ridiculed by quite a few groups, and even made into a meme picture.
It seems that Meta, which burns more than ten billion dollars every year, must be hiding something.
Even last year, Meta brought in Microsoft to cooperate and introduced a number of productivity environments (Office, teams, Windows) into VR headsets, striving to build the metaverse ecology together.
But it seems like people still aren't buying it. Even vice president Mark Rabkin believes that people are buying Quest helmets now, but it is just as a Christmas gift, and people are investing less and less in it.
In fact, that is to say, the novelty brought by VR is getting lower and lower, and it is difficult to attract users to the stagnant content of VR.
▲ "Half-Life: Alex"
As for the Horizon Worlds social platform created by Zuckerberg, and the XBox cloud game brought by Microsoft, they are still a little immature, and they are still far from the ideal metaverse.
Zuckerberg has admitted in interviews that he has made a long-term bet for the metaverse, and expects to make money in the next few years.
Want to do a pre-roll ad in your metaverse
Not only Meta, Google, Amazon, and even Apple are transitioning towards the Metaverse.
▲ The RoomPlan app on the official website of Apple Developers. Image from: Apple
Apple has long been in the field of virtual reality, but they are optimistic about AR. Tim Cook believes that it will touch everything in our lives, and its impact on the world will be as profound as the Internet.
He also said that AR is a trend of new technologies in the future. "In the future, we may not be able to imagine what life will be like without AR."
▲ Apple, which focuses on AR, started to lay out a long time ago
But for the Metaverse, Snap’s CEO Evan Spiegel and Amazon’s head of hardware David Limp also believe that the concept of “Metaverse” is almost a Meta marketing vocabulary. In the eyes of the public, it does not have a “common definition”. Too ethereal.
To be honest, for the actual concept of the metaverse, many people will think of the scenes in the movies "Ready Player One" and "Runaway Player".
It may take ten years or more to reach the imagined scale of the metaverse. They don't have a clear time node and a clear plan.
This is also for Meta, after crazy investment and some achievements in hardware, still few people think that Meta will succeed in the metaverse war.
According to what the number one player thinks, when everyone is in the metaverse, it will be a brand new digital continent, and correspondingly, it will be an uncultivated pure land with unlimited business opportunities.
To make back the tens of billions of dollars lost in previous years, Meta should have a million ways.
However, Himel, the vice president in charge of Meta's virtual reality business, is thinking about how to expand Meta's existing advertising business into the Metaverse.
"We have obtained a pretty good advertising business platform", "When you wear AR glasses, it is easy to imagine how advertisements will appear in the (metaverse) sky. Our ability to track conversion rates should also be close to 100%, which is why we A place that has always attracted attention.”
At the same time, Meta plans to move the current profit model to VR and AR, and to obtain higher income than the current Facebook and Instagram through the sale of virtual goods, cloud backup, advertising and other businesses.
All in all, Meta is crazily preaching the Metaverse, and spends tens of billions of subsidies every year to promote VR helmets, planning the future digital life, digital life, which may be an epoch-making carbon-silicon conversion.
The ultimate profit method is to follow this traditional Internet era method, which feels like changing the soup without changing the medicine.
It was originally thought that Meta was moving towards creating an "oasis" metaverse, and Mark Zuckerberg might be more like James Haliday, but in the end they chose the approach of the villain IOI Nolan Sorrento.
The pattern of Meta's profit strategy is indeed a bit narrow. Constantly promoting low-cost hardware, sacrificing its profitability, and popularizing the concept of "Metaverse" is not a sustainable and virtuous circle business model at present.
Meta in 2022, twists and turns, layoffs, and business adjustments have made it embark on the road of "Metaverse" construction that has not yet seen the end. Meta should also focus on sustainable development while planning hardware, otherwise I haven't arrived in the metaverse yet, but I can't burn the money myself.
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