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What is the Metaverse?
Jun 27,2022
What is the Metaverse?

To be exact, the Metaverse is not a new concept, it is more like the rebirth of a classical concept. In 1992, Neil Stephenson, a famous American science fiction master, described the Metaverse in his novel “Avalanche”: "put on headphones and eyeglasses, find a connection terminal, and you can enter the virtual space simulated by computer and parallel to the real world in the way of virtual separation." 

In March this year, roblox, the first stock of the Metaverse concept, was officially listed on the New York Stock Exchange; In May, Facebook said it would transform into a Metaverse company within five years; In August, ByteDance spent a lot of money to acquire VR startup Pico... This year, Metaverse has undoubtedly become one of the hottest concepts in the field of science and technology. 

So, what is the Metaverse?Why are the major digital technology giants entering the Metaverse one after another?How should China's Metaverse industry be laid out and developed?

There is no accepted definition of the Metaverse at present


To be exact, the Metaverse is not a new concept, it is more like the rebirth of a classic concept, which is the concept embodiment under the new technologies such as extended reality (XR), blockchain, cloud computing, digital twins, etc. 

In 1992, Neil Stephenson, a famous American science fiction master, described the Metaverse in his novel avalanche: "put on headphones and eyeglasses, find a connection terminal, and you can enter the virtual space simulated by computer and parallel to the real world in the way of virtual separation." 

Of course, the lack of a recognized definition of core concepts is a common phenomenon in the field of cutting-edge science and technology. Although the Metaverse has attracted much attention and expectation from all parties, there is also no recognized definition. Returning to the essence of the concept, it can be considered that the Metaverse is a virtual world that is mapped to and independent of the real world on the basis of the traditional cyberspace and with the improvement of the maturity of a variety of digital technologies. At the same time, the Metaverse is not a simple virtual space, but a sustainable and widely covered virtual reality system that includes networks, hardware terminals and users. There are both digital replicas of the real world and creations of the virtual world in the system. 

At present, everything about the Metaverse is still in dispute. Analyzing it from different perspectives will lead to very different conclusions, but the basic characteristics of the Metaverse have been widely recognized by the industry. 

Its basic features include: immersive experience, low latency and realistic feeling, so that users have an immersive sensory experience; Virtualization separation, real-world users will have one or more ID identities in the digital world; Open creation, users enter the digital world through terminals, and can use massive resources to carry out creative activities; With strong social attributes, the real social relationship chain will be transferred and reorganized in the digital world; Stable system, with a safe, stable and orderly economic operation system. 

Favored by technology giants and government departments

Since August, the concept of Metaverse has become more popular. Japanese social networking giant green announced that it would carry out Metaverse business, NVIDIA launched a "digital Avatar" for more than ten seconds at the press conference, and Microsoft announced the enterprise Metaverse solution at the inspire Global Partner Conference... In fact, it is not only the major technology giants competing to layout the Metaverse track, Relevant government departments in some countries also actively participate in it. On May 18, the Ministry of science, technology and information and communication of South Korea initiated the establishment of the "Metaverse alliance", which includes more than 200 South Korean local enterprises and organizations such as Hyundai, SK group and LG Group. Its goal is to build a national augmented reality platform and provide public virtual services to the society in the future; On July 13, the Ministry of economy, trade and industry of Japan released the "investigation report on the future possibilities and topics of the virtual space industry", summarizing the problems that need to be solved urgently in Japan's virtual space industry, in order to occupy a leading position in the global virtual space industry; On August 31, the Ministry of finance of the Republic of Korea released the 2022 budget, which plans to spend $20million on the development of the Metaverse platform. 

Why can Metaverse be favored by technology giants, venture capital enterprises, start-ups, and even government departments?

From the perspective of enterprises, Metaverse is still in the primary stage of industry development, and there is still a big gap between the underlying technology and the application scenario and the mature form in the future, but this also means that there is huge room for the expansion of related industries in Metaverse. Therefore, if digital technology giants with multiple advantages want to hold the market, and start-ups in the field of digital technology want to get the opportunity to overtake in corners, they must layout in advance, or even add yards to the universe track. 

From the perspective of the government, Metaverse is not only an important emerging industry, but also a field of social governance that needs attention. With the rapid development of Metaverse industry, a series of new problems and challenges will follow. Matthew Bauer, a senior research expert on Metaverse, said: "Metaverse is a concept at the same level as mobile Internet." By comparing the mobile Internet with the Metaverse, we can better understand the internal logic of government departments' attention to it. The government hopes to participate in the formation and development of the Metaverse in order to proactively consider and solve the relevant problems brought about by its development. 

Make a forward-looking layout in terms of technology, standards, etc

Metaverse is an extremely open, complex and huge system, which covers the entire cyberspace as well as many hardware devices and real conditions. It is a super large digital application ecosystem jointly built by multiple types of builders. In order to speed up the move of the Metaverse from concept to reality and seize the lead in the future global competition, China should make a forward-looking layout in three aspects: technology, standards and law. 

In terms of technology, technical limitations are the biggest bottleneck of the current development of Metaverse. There is still a large gap between the corresponding underlying technologies such as XR, blockchain, artificial intelligence and the needs of the application of Metaverse. The maturity of Metaverse industry requires a lot of basic research. In this regard, we should be wary of Metaverse becoming a hype gimmick of some enterprises, and should encourage relevant enterprises to strengthen basic research, enhance technological innovation ability, and steadily improve the maturity of related industrial technology. 

From the perspective of industry standards, only by defining the Metaverse through a series of standards and protocols like the Internet can we realize the large connection of different ecosystems in the Metaverse. In this regard, we should strengthen the overall planning of Metaverse standards, guide and encourage standardization cooperation between science and technology giants, support enterprises and institutions in the development of industry standards such as technology, hardware, software, services, content, and actively participate in the formulation of global standards of Metaverse. 

From the legal point of view, with the development of Metaverse and its gradual maturity, a series of problems such as platform monopoly, tax collection and management, regulatory review, data security and so on will also arise. It is necessary to think in advance about how to prevent and solve the legal problems caused by Metaverse. In this regard, we should strengthen the legislative work in the field of digital technology, follow up in time in data, algorithms, transactions and other aspects, and study the relevant legal systems of the Metaverse. 

It is certain that under the joint promotion of technological evolution and human needs, it is only a matter of time before the realization of the Metaverse scene and the maturity of the Metaverse industry. As the extension and expansion of the real world, the great opportunities and revolutionary role brought by the Metaverse are worth looking forward to, but for this reason, we need to look at the current Metaverse boom rationally and promote the healthy development of the Metaverse industry. 

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