Metaverse-based social products are rapidly emerging as the new trendy focus for the Chinese tech world. According to Qimai Data, about 228 apps in China have added “metaverse” to their descriptions so far, 169 of which claim to be metaverse social apps, but there are significant doubts within the market.
Chinese social media platform developer Inkeverse recently launched a metaverse social product called The Place for overseas markets. Bianfeng Network, a subsidiary of Zhejiang Daily Digital Culture, has also taken a stake in a metaverse social company. Social platform Soul regarded “metaverse” as a keyword during promotional activities as early as 2021. TikTok owner ByteDance also launched Party Island, its first social product in the metaverse.
Internet giants are using their investments to gain profits in the field. Following its investment in metaverse social platform Imvu last year, NetEase invested in metaverse UGC platform BUD in May this year. In June, Bytedance acquired PoliQ which launched a social entertainment app called Vyou in late 2020, allowing users to dress up their virtual images.
Although there are many new metaverse social products in China, doubts have emerged and none of them have yet become a hit.
For example, Proximai, a metaverse social product eyeing Meta as its rival, claims that every player has his or her own digital identity. They can not only experience and create games, but also convert game items and coins on the platform with real money.
However, the product has not matured as expected. Feedback from users shows that there are only several social scenes to choose from. When it comes to creating virtual image, face shapes, facial features and hair styling are impossible to change. Due to poor user interaction, the app has been stopped downloads.
According to a report by Cailian Press, industry analysts have said that the main reasons behind the poor user experience include immature 3D real-time rendering technology and multi-modal interaction technology, expensive AV/VR devices, backward application scenarios and ecosystem construction.
Luo Qi, a senior researcher at OKX, believes that Chinese firms are actually making social products by adding more virtual experiences for users.
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“The core of the metaverse is computing power,” said Wang Yingbo, a doctor of economics at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. “Computing power needs to be increased by at least 1,000 times to simulate the real social environment. The conditions for social interaction in the metaverse are not yet fully mature, but it is indeed a general direction of development.”