为什么 VR/AR 越聚焦越远

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Modern efforts to build extended reality (XR) devices—i.e., dedicated virtual reality (VR), dedicated augmented reality (AR), hybrid mixed reality (MR)—began more than a decade ago. Magic Leap was founded in 2010, the same year Microsoft started development on its HoloLens platform, which released its first model in 2016, with the second coming in 2019. The first Google Glass prototype was in 2011, with the first Explorer Edition coming in 2013 and the Enterprise Edition 2 launching as recently as 2019; a reconceived model was field-tested in 2022. Google’s Cardboard VR platform and software development kit (SDK) came in 2014, with the Daydream VR platform coming two years later. Sony PlayStation began development of its VR platform in 2011, which then debuted in 2016. Oculus was founded in 2012, with Facebook acquiring the company in 2014, and the Oculus Rift coming to market in 2016, followed by another four models through 2022. In 2014, Snap acquired Vergence Labs, an AR glasses start-up that had been founded in 2011, and served as the foundation for the Snap Spectacles, which premiered in 2016, and have seen three updates. Despite the failure of the Fire Phone, a 3D-enabled smartphone that had four front-facing cameras at a time where the smartphones had one or at most two, Amazon began development of its Alexa-based AR glasses sometime in 2016 or 2017. The first Echo Frames was released in 2019, with the second edition coming two years later.

现代构建扩展现实 (XR) 设备的努力——即专用虚拟现实 (VR)、专用增强现实 (AR)、混合混合现实 (MR)——始于十多年前。 Magic Leap 成立于 2010 年,同年微软开始开发其 HoloLens 平台,该平台于 2016 年发布了第一款型号,第二款于 2019 年推出。第一款 Google Glass 原型于 2011 年推出,第一款 Explorer Edition 于 2013 年推出企业版 2 最近于 2019 年推出;重新设计的模型于 2022 年进行了现场测试。谷歌的 Cardboard VR 平台和软件开发工具包 (SDK) 于 2014 年问世,两年后 Daydream VR 平台问世。索尼 PlayStation 于 2011 年开始开发其 VR 平台,然后于 2016 年首次亮相。Oculus 成立于 2012 年,Facebook 于 2014 年收购了该公司,Oculus Rift 于 2016 年上市,随后到 2022 年又推出了四款机型。 2014 年,Snap 收购了成立于 2011 年的 AR 眼镜初创公司 Vergence Labs,并作为 Snap Spectacles 的基础,该产品于 2016 年首次亮相,并经历了三次更新。尽管 Fire Phone 失败了,但 Fire Phone 是一款支持 3D 的智能手机,在同一时间智能手机只有一个或最多两个前置摄像头,亚马逊在 2016 年或 2017 年的某个时候开始开发其基于 Alexa 的 AR 眼镜。第一个 Echo Frames 于 2019 年发布,第二个版本在两年后发布。

As we observe the state of XR in 2023, it’s fair to say the technology has proved harder than many of the best-informed and most financially endowed companies expected. When it unveiled Google Glass, Google suggested that annual sales could reach the tens of millions by 2015, with the goal of appealing to the nearly 80% of people who wear glasses daily. Though Google continues to build AR devices, Glass was an infamous flop, with sales in the tens of thousands (the company’s 2022 AR device no longer uses the Glass brand). Throughout 2015 and 2016, Mark Zuckerberg repeated his belief that within a decade, “normal-looking” AR glasses might be a part of daily life, replacing the need to bring out a smartphone to take a call, share a photo, or browse the web, while a bigscreen TV would be transformed into a $1 AR app. Now it looks like Facebook won’t launch a dedicated AR headset by 2025—let alone an edition that hundreds of millions might want.

当我们观察 2023 年 XR 的状态时,可以公平地说,事实证明这项技术比许多消息灵通且资金最雄厚的公司预期的要难。谷歌在推出谷歌眼镜时表示,到2015年年销售额将达到数千万,目标是吸引近80%的日常佩戴眼镜的人。尽管谷歌继续打造 AR 设备,但 Glass 是一个臭名昭著的失败产品,销量达到数万台(该公司 2022 年的 AR 设备不再使用 Glass 品牌)。在整个 2015 年和 2016 年,马克扎克伯格重申了他的信念,即在十年内,“外观普通”的 AR 眼镜可能会成为日常生活的一部分,取代拿出智能手机接听电话、分享照片或浏览网页的需要。网络,而大屏幕电视将转变为 1 美元的 AR 应用程序。现在看来,到 2025 年,Facebook 不会推出专用的 AR 耳机——更不用说数亿人可能想要的版本了。

In 2016, Epic Games founder/CEO Tim Sweeney predicted not only that within five to seven years, we would have not just PC-grade VR devices but also that these devices would have shrunk down into Oakley-style sunglasses. Seven years later, this still seems at best seven years away. Recent reporting says Apple’s AR glasses, which were once targeted for a 2023 debut and then pushed to 2025, have been delayed indefinitely. Snap’s Spectacles launched to long lines and much fanfare, with another three editions launched by 2021. In 2022, the division was largely shuttered, with the company refocusing on smartphone-based AR. Amazon has yet to launch any Echo Frames with a screen, rather than just onboard Alexa. Google’s head of VR/AR is a direct report to CEO Sundar Pichai, though the company’s next (i.e., fourth) swing at XR is expected no sooner than 2024. In 2019, Magic Leap raised $300 million at a $7 billion post-money valuation. Two years later, the company raised $500MM at a $2.5B post-money valuation, a 66% drop that also meant the company was worth 30% less than the $3.5B in cash it had raised life-to-date. In January 2022, reports emerged that Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund had taken majority control of the company following a $450MM equity-and-debt deal, suggesting that the company’s valuation had fallen to less than a billion dollars, possibly down to even half a billion. Since the consumer Oculus Rift released in 2016, cumulative shipments for all VR brands (e.g. Samsung Gear, ByteDance Pico, Valve Index, PlayStation VR) are less than 45MM (some of these devices are no longer supported by their manufacturer), and monthly active users are likely in the low single digit millions

2016 年,Epic Games 创始人兼首席执行官 Tim Sweeney 不仅预测在五到七年内,我们将不仅拥有 PC 级 VR 设备,而且这些设备将缩小为 Oakley 式太阳镜。七年后,这似乎充其量只有七年的时间。最近的报道称,苹果的 AR 眼镜曾被定为 2023 年首次亮相,后来被推迟到 2025 年,但已被无限期推迟。 Snap 的 Spectacles 推出后排起了长队,大张旗鼓,到 2021 年又推出了三个版本。2022 年,该部门基本关闭,公司重新专注于基于智能手机的 AR。亚马逊尚未推出任何带屏幕的 Echo Frames,而不仅仅是搭载 Alexa。谷歌的 VR/AR 负责人直接向 CEO Sundar Pichai 汇报,不过该公司下一次(即第四次)XR 的调整预计不会早于 2024 年。2019 年,Magic Leap 以 70 亿美元的投后估值筹集了 3 亿美元.两年后,该公司以 $2.5B 的投后估值筹集了 $500MM,下降了 66%,这也意味着该公司的价值比其迄今为止筹集的 $3.5B 现金低 30%。 2022 年 1 月,有报道称沙特阿拉伯的主权财富基金通过 450 亿美元的股权和债务交易获得了该公司的多数控制权,这表明该公司的估值已跌至不到 10 亿美元,甚至可能跌至一半。十亿。自 2016 年发布消费级 Oculus Rift 以来,所有 VR 品牌(例如 Samsung Gear、ByteDance Pico、Valve Index、PlayStation VR)的累计出货量不到 45MM(其中一些设备不再获得其制造商的支持),并且每月活跃用户可能只有几百万

Over the past 13 or so years, there has been material technical progress. And we do see growing deployment. Today, XR is selectively used in civil engineering and industrial design, in film production, on assembly lines and factory floors. Some schools use VR some of the time in some classes - and the utility a virtual classroom with virtual Bunsen Burners and virtual frogs to dissect, all overseen by an embodied instructor, while you sit beside and make eye contact with your peers, is obvious. VR is also increasingly popular for workplace safety training, especially in high-risk environments such as oil rigs; teaching personnel how, when, and where people look is already having life-saving applications. And on the topic of saving lives, Johns Hopkins has been using XR devices for live patient surgery for more than a year, beginning with the removal of cancerous spinal tumors. If you use a high-end VR headset such as the Varjo Aero (which also requires a physical tether to a gaming-grade PC and costs $2,000) to play a title such as Microsoft Flight Simulator (which operates a 500,000,000 square kilometer reproduction of the earth, with two trillion individual rendered trees, 1.5 billion buildings, and nearly every road, mountain, and city globally), there is the unmistakable feeling the future is near.

在过去13年左右的时间里,物质技术取得了进步。我们确实看到了越来越多的部署。如今,XR 被选择性地用于土木工程和工业设计、电影制作、装配线和工厂车间。一些学校有时会在某些课程中使用 VR - 一个虚拟教室的效用是显而易见的,里面有虚拟本生灯和虚拟青蛙来解剖,所有这些都由具体的导师监督,而你坐在旁边与同龄人进行眼神交流。 VR 在工作场所安全培训方面也越来越受欢迎,尤其是在石油钻井平台等高风险环境中;教人员如何、何时以及在哪里看人已经有了挽救生命的应用。在挽救生命这一主题上,约翰霍普金斯大学一年多来一直在使用 XR 设备进行活体患者手术,从切除癌性脊柱肿瘤开始。如果你使用 Varjo Aero 等高端 VR 耳机(它还需要物理系绳连接到游戏级 PC,价格为 2,000 美元)来玩 Microsoft Flight Simulator(它运行 500,000,000 平方公里的模拟游戏)地球,拥有 2 万亿棵单独渲染的树木、15 亿座建筑物,以及全球几乎每条道路、山脉和城市),无疑会感觉到未来已近在咫尺。

The examples listed above are technically impressive, meaningful, and better than ever . But the future was supposed to have arrived by now. In 2023, it’s difficult to say that a critical mass of consumers or businesses believe there’s a “killer” AR/VR/MR experience in market today; just familiar promises of the killer use cases that might be a few years away. These devices are even farther from substituting for the devices we currently use (and it doesn’t seem like they’re on precipice of mainstream adoption, either). There are some games with strong sales—a few titles have done over $100MM—but none where one might argue that, if only graphics were to improve by X%, large swaths of the population would use VR devices or those titles on a regular basis. I strongly prefer doing VR-based presentations to those on Zoom—where I spend 30-60 minutes staring at a camera as though no one else is there. But the experience remains fraught; functionality is limited; and onboarding other individuals is rarely worth the benefit because its participants seem to find these benefits both few and small. When the iPhone launched, Steve Jobs touted it did three distinct things—MP3 player, phone, internet communicator—better at launch than the single-use devices then on the market. The following year, the iPhone launched its App Store and “There’s an App for That” proliferated, with tens of millions doing everything they could on the device. The “killer app” was that it already had dozens of them when it was touted as the “next thing'“.

上面列出的示例在技术上令人印象深刻、有意义并且比以往任何时候都更好。但未来应该已经到来了。到 2023 年,很难说有足够数量的消费者或企业相信当今市场上存在“杀手级”AR/VR/MR 体验;只是几年后可能出现的杀手用例的熟悉承诺。这些设备离替代我们目前使用的设备还很远(而且它们似乎也没有处于主流采用的边缘)。有一些游戏销量强劲——一些游戏的销售额超过了 100 美元——但没有人会争辩说,如果图形能提高 X%,大量的人会定期使用 VR 设备或这些游戏基础。与 Zoom 相比,我更喜欢做基于 VR 的演示——我会花 30-60 分钟盯着摄像机看,就好像没有其他人在场一样。但是经验仍然令人担忧。功能有限;并且让其他人入职很少值得从中受益,因为它的参与者似乎发现这些好处既少又少。当 iPhone 发布时,史蒂夫·乔布斯 (Steve Jobs) 吹捧它做了三件截然不同的事情——MP3 播放器、电话、互联网通信器——在发布时比当时市场上的一次性设备更好。次年,iPhone 推出了 App Store,“有一个应用程序”激增,数以千万计的人在该设备上尽其所能。 “杀手级应用”是当它被吹捧为“下一个产品”时,它已经有几十个了。

The Meta Quest 2 has sold well, with an estimated 20MM+ units since November 2020. This is broadly comparable to the sales of the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, which were released at the same time, but had an easier path to adoption. For example, the first four PlayStations had sold nearly half a billion units since 1994, and the PS5 launched with the sequel to the PS4’s best-selling title, alongside other great and popular games. But while the install bases of these three platforms are comparable, there is little evidence of comparable active user bases, let alone comparable usage per user. As of March 2022, the average PlayStation 5 owner used the device 50 hours per month, or roughly two hours a day (15% more than the PlayStation 4 at the same point in its life cycle). Annual sales of the Xbox and PlayStation also continue to grow in their third year, while Meta Quest 2 declined in its second year. To be clear, the Meta Quest 2 does not have be to XR what the iPhone was to smartphones. But even pre-iPhone smartphones demonstrated clear product-market fit at mass scale, not just potential. Smartphones also had a unique advantage: For most people in the world, buying a smartphone meant owning their first and only computer (and if not, it was their third, second, and only portable computer). For most VR buyers today, the device is their 4th or 5th computer after a PC/Mac, smartphone, tablet, and console. Unless an XR device can replace one of these devices, people are unlikely to adopt it en masse, even if they find it fun or useful from time-to-time.

Meta Quest 2 销量不错,自 2020 年 11 月以来估计销量超过 20MM。这与同时发布的 Xbox Series X 和 PlayStation 5 的销量大致相当,但采用起来更容易。例如,自 1994 年以来,前四款 PlayStation 已售出近 50 亿台,而 PS5 与 PS4 最畅销游戏的续集一起推出,同时推出了其他出色的热门游戏。但是,尽管这三个平台的安装基础具有可比性,但几乎没有证据表明活跃用户群具有可比性,更不用说每个用户的可比使用量了。截至 2022 年 3 月,PlayStation 5 的平均拥有者每月使用该设备 50 小时,或每天大约两小时(比 PlayStation 4 在其生命周期的同一时间点多 15%)。 Xbox 和 PlayStation 的年销售额在第三年也继续增长,而 Meta Quest 2 在第二年下降。需要明确的是,Meta Quest 2 之于 XR 不一定是 iPhone 之于智能手机。但即使是 iPhone 之前的智能手机也表现出明显的大规模产品市场契合度,而不仅仅是潜力。智能手机还有一个独特的优势:对于世界上的大多数人来说,购买智能手机意味着拥有他们的第一台也是唯一一台电脑(如果没有,那是他们的第三台、第二台也是唯一一台便携式电脑)。对于今天的大多数 VR 购买者来说,该设备是他们继 PC/Mac、智能手机、平板电脑和游戏机之后的第 4 或第 5 台电脑。除非 XR 设备可以取代这些设备中的一种,否则人们不太可能大规模采用它,即使他们不时发现它很有趣或很有用。

Of course, XR devices will not suddenly replace an existing device category. Hundreds of millions will first use VR/AR alongside their consoles, PCs, and smartphones before tens of millions drop one of the latter for the first – and hundreds of millions will continue to use both longer after (this essay is written on a PC, for example). But the timing of this transition is relevant for those investing. Return to my Johns Hopkins example. After completing the surgery, Dr. Timothy Witham, who is also director of the hospital’s Spinal Fusion Laboratory, likened the experience to driving a car with GPS. I love this analogy because it shows how XR can complement existing devices and behaviors rather than displace them (it also complements reality, rather than disconnecting us from it). Put another way, we drive a car with GPS; we don’t drive GPS instead of a car, and GPS doesn’t replace the onboard computer either. What’s more, many of us travel more often because GPS exists. Dr. Witham also provides a framework through which we can evaluate the utility XR devices. To exist, they need not upend convention, just deliver better and/or faster and/or cheaper and/or more reliable outcomes. But even under these more moderated measures, the future seems far off.GPS began to see non-military adoption in the 1990s, but it took another two decades to mature in cost and quality to become a part of daily life. Furthermore, the mainstream value in GPS was not only in improving commutes but in enabling applications as diverse as Tinder, Siri, Yelp, Spotify, and many others.

当然,XR 设备不会突然取代现有的设备类别。数亿人将首先将 VR/AR 与他们的游戏机、PC 和智能手机一起使用,然后数以千万计的人首先放弃其中之一——并且数亿人将在更长的时间后继续使用这两者(这篇文章是在 PC 上写的,例如)。但这种转变的时机与那些投资相关。回到我在约翰霍普金斯大学的例子。完成手术后,医院脊柱融合实验室主任蒂莫西·威瑟姆 (Timothy Witham) 博士将这种体验比作驾驶带有 GPS 的汽车。我喜欢这个类比,因为它展示了 XR 如何补充现有设备和行为而不是取代它们(它还补充了现实,而不是让我们与现实脱节)。换句话说,我们驾驶带有 GPS 的汽车;我们不会驾驶 GPS 而不是汽车,GPS 也不会取代车载计算机。更重要的是,由于 GPS 的存在,我们中的许多人更频繁地旅行。 Witham 博士还提供了一个框架,我们可以通过该框架评估实用的 XR 设备。要存在,它们不需要颠覆传统,只需提供更好和/或更快和/或更便宜和/或更可靠的结果。但即使采取这些更温和的措施,未来似乎也很遥远。 GPS 在 1990 年代开始在非军事领域得到采用,但又过了 20 年才在成本和质量上成熟,成为日常生活的一部分。此外,GPS 的主流价值不仅在于改善通勤,还在于支持 Tinder、Siri、Yelp、Spotify 等多种应用程序。

The ostensible delay in XR progress is not for lack of investment; the past decade and a half has seen a lot of it. Meta has been spending $10–12B per year on its XR initiatives, and for several years. Lifetime spending is estimated at $50B and growing, against $6B in revenue. Yet there is widespread mockery of the Quest line’s flagship first-party titles, such as Horizon Workrooms or Horizon Worlds, or its features, such as its legless avatars (most of this is unfair—a point I’ll get back to).

XR 进程表面上的延迟并不是因为缺乏投资;在过去的十五年里,已经看到了很多。 Meta 多年来一直在其 XR 计划上花费 $10–12B。终身支出估计为 $50B 并且还在增长,而收入为 $6B。然而,Quest 系列的旗舰第一方游戏(如 Horizon Workrooms 或 Horizon Worlds)或其无腿化身等功能(其中大部分是不公平的——我会回过头来)受到了广泛的嘲笑。

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为什么 VR/AR 越聚焦越远,vr,ar

We don’t know Apple’s spend, but it is a top 20 patent filer in the United States, and for years, 30–50% of these patents have been attributed to XR-related functionality (though not exclusively VR/AR/MR). According Alex Heath at The Verge, Apple has thousands of employees working on standalone XR devices, and have had for years (Apple’s VR/MR device was originally scheduled for 2019). Microsoft’s investments are also unknown, but in 2021, the company signed a contract with the U.S. Army worth up to $22B by 2031—and for only 120,000 HoloLens headsets. This sum, which equates to $183,000 per device (though the price tag includes software, repairs, data center services), doubtless financed extensive R&D. But in January 2023, Congress denied the Army’s request to draw $400MM of the roughly $21.5B in unspent funds to buy another 7,000 units, having previously spent $350MM on 5,000 units. This first batch fell short of many field tests throughout 2022, with the military finding 80% to lead to “mission-affecting physical impairments” including headaches, eyestrain, and nausea. Microsoft was granted $40MM, or 10% of the Army’s request, to develop a new model. A week later, Microsoft announced 10,000 in layoffs as part of a broad cost-cutting measure. According to Bloomberg, the HoloLens division was disproportionately affected. Snap and Google have spent billions just on XR-related acquisitions.

我们不知道 Apple 的开支,但它是美国专利申请者的前 20 名,多年来,这些专利中有 30-50% 与 XR 相关的功能(尽管不仅仅是 VR/AR/MR) .据 The Verge 的 Alex Heath 称,Apple 有数千名员工在独立 XR 设备上工作,并且已经使用多年(Apple 的 VR/MR 设备原定于 2019 年推出)。微软的投资也不为人知,但在 2021 年,该公司与美国陆军签署了一份到 2031 年价值高达 22B 美元的合同,并且仅购买 120,000 台 HoloLens 耳机。这笔款项相当于每台设备 183,000 美元(尽管价格标签包括软件、维修、数据中心服务),无疑为广泛的研发提供了资金。但在 2023 年 1 月,国会拒绝了陆军的请求,即从大约 21.5B 美元的未动用资金中提取 400MM 用于购买另外 7,000 套,此前已花费 350MM 购买 5,000 套。第一批在整个 2022 年都没有通过许多现场测试,军方发现 80% 会导致“影响任务的身体损伤”,包括头痛、眼睛疲劳和恶心。微软获得了 40 毫米的资金,即陆军请求的 10%,用于开发新模型。一周后,微软宣布裁员 10,000 人,作为广泛削减成本措施的一部分。据彭博社报道,HoloLens 部门受到的影响尤为严重。 Snap 和谷歌仅在与 XR 相关的收购上就花费了数十亿美元。

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Many entrepreneurs, developers, executives, and technologists still believe XR is the future (I do). In particular, these groups believe in AR glasses that will eventually replace most of our personal computers and TV screens. And history does show that over time, these devices get closer to our face, while also more natural and immersive in interface, leading to increased usage too. But why is this future so far behind? Where is the money going? What progress is being made? And most importantly, how many XR winters must come and go before a spring actually leads to summer?

许多企业家、开发人员、高管和技术专家仍然相信 XR 是未来(我相信)。特别是,这些群体相信 AR 眼镜最终将取代我们大部分的个人电脑和电视屏幕。历史确实表明,随着时间的推移,这些设备离我们的脸越来越近,同时在界面中也更加自然和身临其境,从而导致使用量增加。但为什么这个未来如此落后?钱去哪儿了?取得了哪些进展?最重要的是,在春天真正走向夏天之前,必须经历多少个 XR 冬天?

“It Looks Like Wii Sports” “它看起来像 Wii Sports”

More than half of all households in the United States own a video game console. In almost all cases, this console is the most powerful computing device owned, used, or even seen by the members of that household. This includes those households who own the most recent model of iPad Pro or work in an office with a high-end enterprise PC or Mac. Regardless which one they choose, that video game console is also more affordable than most other consumer or even professional-grade computing devices. It typically costs more, for example, to purchase a comparably powered gaming PC or even to replace the graphics card on an existing PC. This is because consoles benefit from substantial economies of scale, with their manufacturers shipping 50–150MM mostly standardized units over a decade. Purchasing individual components, each one individually packaged, marked-up, and retailed, often with new models released annually, is expensive. Video game consoles are also subsidized, typically by $100–$200, as their manufacturers pursue a razor-and-blades model whereby subsequent software purchases eventually recoup the money lost selling the hardware. No graphics card or monitor manufacturer gets a cut of your Robux or V-Bucks.

在美国,超过一半的家庭拥有视频游戏机。在几乎所有情况下,此控制台都是该家庭成员拥有、使用甚至见过的最强大的计算设备。这包括那些拥有最新型号 iPad Pro 或在办公室使用高端企业 PC 或 Mac 的家庭。无论他们选择哪一款,该视频游戏机也比大多数其他消费级甚至专业级计算设备更实惠。例如,购买性能相当的游戏 PC 或什至更换现有 PC 上的显卡通常会花费更多。这是因为游戏机受益于巨大的规模经济,其制造商在过去十年中出货了 50-150 毫米的大部分标准化设备。购买单独的组件,每个组件都单独包装、标记和零售,通常每年都会发布新型号,这是昂贵的。视频游戏机也得到补贴,通常为 100 至 200 美元,因为它们的制造商追求剃刀和刀片模型,通过这种模型,后续软件购买最终可以弥补销售硬件的损失。没有任何显卡或显示器制造商能够从您的 Robux 或 V-Bucks 中分得一杯羹。

Compared to everyday devices, the computing power of a video game console is so great that in 2000, Japan even placed export limitations on its own beloved giant, Sony, and its signature PlayStation 2 console. The government feared that the PS2 could be used for terrorism on a global scale, for instance to process missile guidance systems. The following year, in touting the importance of the consumer electronics industry, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Don Evans stated that “yesterday’s supercomputer is today’s PlayStation.” Evans’s pronouncement was powerful—even though it was arguably backwards; today’s PlayStation is often tomorrow’s supercomputer. In 2010, the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory built the 33rd-largest supercomputer in the world using 1,760 Sony PlayStation 3s. The project’s director estimated that the “Condor Cluster” was 5% to 10% the cost of equivalent systems and used 10% of the energy. The supercomputer was used for radar enhancement, pattern recognition, satellite imagery processing, and artificial intelligence research.

与日常设备相比,视频游戏机的计算能力是如此之大,以至于在 2000 年,日本甚至对其深受喜爱的巨头索尼及其标志性的 PlayStation 2 游戏机设置了出口限制。政府担心 PS2 可能被用于全球范围内的恐怖主义活动,例如处理导弹制导系统。次年,美国商务部长唐·埃文斯 (Don Evans) 在宣传消费电子行业的重要性时表示,“昨天的超级计算机就是今天的 PlayStation”。埃文斯的声明是强有力的——尽管它可以说是倒退的;今天的 PlayStation 往往就是明天的超级计算机。 2010 年,美国空军研究实验室使用 1,760 台索尼 PlayStation 3 建造了世界上第 33 大超级计算机。该项目的负责人估计,“Condor Cluster”的成本是同等系统的 5% 到 10%,使用的能源是同等系统的 10%。超级计算机用于雷达增强、模式识别、卫星图像处理和人工智能研究。

Yet in many ways, video game consoles have it easy. Consider the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X, both top-of-the-line video game consoles released in 2020. These devices are nearly ten pounds and larger than a shoebox—brutal in comparison to other consumer electronics devices, but fine given that these devices are placed inside a media shelving console and never moved. In fact, it’s not fine—it’s an advantage! Because these devices can be large, unsightly, and stationary, Sony and Microsoft get to place large and loud fans inside their consoles, which keep these consoles cool as they perform their intensive calculations, and aid these fans with large intake and exhaust vents. Sony and Microsoft can also keep component costs down because they don’t need to prioritize their size the way a smartphone manufacturer must. And while Sony’s and Microsoft’s consoles are heavy, they, unlike most consumer devices, never need a battery. Instead, they receive constant power from the electrical grid. This reduces the size of the device, as well as the heat it generates, which in turn means that the fan can be smaller, too, and means they can run indefinitely, rather than just a few hours.

然而在许多方面,视频游戏机却很容易。想想 PlayStation 5 或 Xbox Series X,它们都是 2020 年发布的顶级视频游戏机。这些设备重近 10 磅,比鞋盒还大——与其他消费电子设备相比有点残酷,但考虑到这些设备还不错设备放置在媒体搁架控制台内,永远不会移动。事实上,这并不好——这是一个优势!由于这些设备可能体积庞大、难看且固定不动,因此索尼和微软在其控制台内放置了大而响亮的风扇,这使这些控制台在执行密集计算时保持凉爽,并通过大型进气口和排气口帮助这些风扇。索尼和微软还可以降低组件成本,因为它们不需要像智能手机制造商那样优先考虑尺寸。虽然索尼和微软的游戏机很重,但与大多数消费设备不同,它们从不需要电池。相反,它们从电网获得恒定的电力。这减小了设备的尺寸及其产生的热量,这反过来意味着风扇也可以更小,并且意味着它们可以无限期地运行,而不仅仅是几个小时。

Consoles typically support two forms of connectivity, Wi-Fi and Ethernet, but have no need for mobile network support, which is great because the latter is another chipset and particularly rough on battery life. Video game consoles also don’t need to bring their own display; they hook into a television. This shifts costs to another purchase—no one thinks a PlayStation is $500 plus a TV—while also enabling users to choose-their-own quality (e.g., 1K v. 4K definition, LED v. OLED). Most TVs are also 6–10 feet from the viewer,which means more than 2K resolution is often pointless unless your TV is over 70 inches diagonal. These televisions also work in optimal or least relatively stable environments—in a darkly-lit living room, rather than in an office or worse, on the street, where lighting is uncontrollable and variable.

控制台通常支持两种形式的连接,Wi-Fi 和以太网,但不需要移动网络支持,这很好,因为后者是另一种芯片组,电池寿命特别长。视频游戏机也不需要自带显示器;他们连接到电视上。这将成本转移到另一项购买上——没有人认为 PlayStation 是 500 美元加一台电视——同时还使用户能够选择自己的质量(例如,1K 与 4K 清晰度,LED 与 OLED)。大多数电视距离观众也有 6-10 英尺,这意味着超过 2K 的分辨率通常毫无意义,除非您的电视对角线超过 70 英寸。这些电视还可以在最佳或相对最不稳定的环境中工作——在光线昏暗的起居室,而不是在办公室或更糟糕的街道上,那里的照明无法控制且多变。

Video game consoles can also offload a good portion of their work to other devices, such as a standalone controller for input or a separately purchased headset for audio (the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X don’t include support for Bluetooth audio, so headset purchases include Bluetooth dongles to add the functionality). Video game consoles don’t need to know or figure out very much. They don’t need to track your motion, let alone your eyes, or scan and process your environment. And video game consoles are leisure devices. It’s not important that they simulate physics precisely (most game engines are nondeterministic, meaning that a given action will not always produce the same outcome), be “photo real,” or support “work.” These devices primarily just carry out pre-set activities in pre-set environments, with a small array of items and only a few other players in highly defined functions (e.g. when playing Fortnite, you’re playing Fortnite, whereas your PC might be running many applications and processes concurrently), and lots of simplification (the cars in Fortnite don’t need to drive like real cars, the bushes can be walked through without impacting velocity, etc).

视频游戏机也可以将大部分工作转移到其他设备上,例如用于输入的独立控制器或单独购买的音频耳机(PlayStation 5 和 Xbox Series X 不支持蓝牙音频,因此购买耳机包括蓝牙加密狗以添加功能)。视频游戏机不需要知道或弄明白太多。他们不需要跟踪你的动作,更不用说你的眼睛了,也不需要扫描和处理你的环境。视频游戏机是休闲设备。它们是否精确地模拟物理(大多数游戏引擎是不确定的,这意味着给定的动作不会总是产生相同的结果)、“照片真实”或支持“工作”并不重要。这些设备主要只是在预先设定的环境中执行预先设定的活动,有少量物品,只有少数其他玩家具有高度定义的功能(例如,当玩 Fortnite 时,你正在玩 Fortnite,而你的 PC 可能正在运行许多应用程序和进程并发),以及大量的简化(Fortnite 中的汽车不需要像真正的汽车一样驾驶,可以在不影响速度的情况下穿过灌木丛,等等)。

This context around consoles is important to keep in mind as we consider VR/AR/MR. It’s common to hear the critique that the experiences produced by these devices look worse than those produced by the consoles of a decade ago that cost half as much at the time. When it comes to visually rendering a virtual environment, VR/AR/MR devices will always fall short of a modern video game console. Always. This is because the “work” performed by these devices is far, far harder while the constraints are far, far greater.

当我们考虑 VR/AR/MR 时,牢记围绕控制台的上下文很重要。人们经常听到这样的批评,即这些设备产生的体验看起来比十年前的游戏机产生的体验更糟糕,而后者的价格只有当时的一半。在视觉渲染虚拟环境方面,VR/AR/MR 设备总是达不到现代视频游戏机的要求。总是。这是因为这些设备执行的“工作”要困难得多,而限制要大得多。

A simple starting point is weight. Any XR device that aspires for regular use or long session times needs to be lightweight. There is broad consensus that the tolerable range for a VR/MR headset is about 300–700 grams, depending on purpose (consumer v. enterprise) and ideal session length (you’re more likely to play for three hours with 300 grams on your head than 700). So a VR device needs to be roughly 90% lighter than a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X, 60% lighter than a Nintendo Wii, and a bit smaller than the Nintendo Switch. AR glasses have to be even lighter. While no one would reasonably insist that these devices must weigh the 15­–40 grams of the average “dumb” glasses worn today, they still have to be under about 150 grams if they’re going to be worn all day. This weight constraint has natural, and unforgiving, consequences on processing power.

一个简单的起点是重量。任何需要经常使用或长时间使用的 XR 设备都需要轻便。人们普遍认为,VR/MR 耳机的可承受范围约为 300-700 克,具体取决于目的(消费者与企业)和理想的会话长度(您更有可能在 300 克的情况下玩三个小时头超过 700)。因此,VR 设备需要比 PlayStation 5 或 Xbox Series X 轻大约 90%,比任天堂 Wii 轻 60%,比任天堂 Switch 小一点。 AR 眼镜必须更轻。虽然没有人会合理地坚持这些设备的重量必须达到今天佩戴的普通“哑”眼镜的 15-40 克,但如果要整天佩戴它们,它们的重量仍然必须低于 150 克左右。这种重量限制对处理能力有自然而无情的影响。

But remember, these devices also need to carry their own battery. This makes the device larger, for one, as well as more expensive, while also limiting how long they can be used. Furthermore, not only are batteries quite heavy relative to their space requirements, they also generate significant heat. And unlike a console, which always sits a few feet from the user, these batteries are placed on the user’s head. All of this means that XR device batteries must be small and lightweight while also being powerful and efficient!

但请记住,这些设备还需要携带自己的电池。这使得设备更大,一方面,也更昂贵,同时也限制了它们的使用时间。此外,电池不仅相对于它们的空间要求非常重,而且还会产生大量热量。与总是离用户几英尺的控制台不同,这些电池放在用户的头上。所有这一切都意味着 XR 设备的电池必须体积小、重量轻,同时还要强大且高效!

XR devices have other additional burdens, too. For example, onboard speakers and microphones are required, as well as a multitude of cameras (most believe a minimum of 12) that can track the user’s eyes, face, fingers, and local environment. There are also sensors (e.g., gyroscope, light, heat, and so on). And AR devices need a mobile networking chip, which again adds weight and bulk while also draining battery and generating lots of heat.

XR 设备还有其他额外负担。例如,需要板载扬声器和麦克风,以及可以跟踪用户的眼睛、面部、手指和本地环境的多个摄像头(大多数人认为至少有 12 个)。还有传感器(例如,陀螺仪、光、热等)。 AR 设备需要一个移动网络芯片,这会再次增加重量和体积,同时也会耗尽电池并产生大量热量。

Finally, there’s the display. XR devices need to bring their own screen, which produces still more heat (again, an inch from the user’s face) and still more weight. Because of their proximity to the user’s eyes, these screens also need to be dense, otherwise the pixels look enormous and images fuzzy. The minimum spec is typically defined as 8K pixels, although many believe 16K to be optimal. This means several times as many pixels as the average TV, which yet again translates into more cost, weight, and battery drain.

最后,还有显示屏。 XR 设备需要配备自己的屏幕,这会产生更多的热量(同样,距离用户的脸一英寸)和更多的重量。由于它们靠近用户的眼睛,因此这些屏幕也需要密集,否则像素看起来很大并且图像模糊。最低规格通常定义为 8K 像素,尽管许多人认为 16K 是最佳的。这意味着像素是普通电视的几倍,这又意味着更多的成本、重量和电池消耗。

So now we’ve discussed how much more stuff an XR device needs, even though it needs to be a fraction of the weight of a console as well as aesthetically pleasing and comfortable. Then there’s the work that the device needs to do, which is far more complex than anything a video game console does. For example, XR devices need to understand their environment, not just capture images of it. This means determining the placement, color, and shape of objects, in some cases their materials and texture, as well as what the object actually is, what it’s doing, and what it is likely to do. They must also manage complex materials, such as reflective and transparent surfaces, and warn the user of key boundaries and dangers. Hands, eyebrows, lips, and other body parts must be precisely and quickly measured for reproduction. Often, these devices are asked to support video calling—that is, displaying “real-world” video inside a simulated environment—or to reproduce the screen of “real-world” device, such as a PC or iPhone, inside the virtual environment. Consoles, of course, are asked to do none of this. Instead they can focus their relatively abundant computing power on “graphics.”

所以现在我们已经讨论了 XR 设备还需要多少东西,即使它需要的重量只是控制台的一小部分,而且还要美观和舒适。然后是设备需要完成的工作,这比视频游戏机所做的任何事情都要复杂得多。例如,XR 设备需要了解其环境,而不仅仅是捕捉环境图像。这意味着确定对象的位置、颜色和形状,在某些情况下,它们的材料和纹理,以及对象的实际含义、它正在做什么以及可能做什么。他们还必须管理复杂的材料,例如反光和透明表面,并警告用户注意关键边界和危险。必须精确快速地测量手、眉毛、嘴唇和其他身体部位以进行复制。通常,这些设备需要支持视频通话——即在模拟环境中显示“真实世界”视频——或在虚拟环境中重现“真实世界”设备(如 PC 或 iPhone)的屏幕.当然,控制台不会被要求执行任何这些操作。相反,他们可以将相对丰富的计算能力集中在“图形”上。

Then there’s the rendering issue. I mentioned earlier that XR devices require their own screens and aspire to at least 8K (optimally 16K) pixels due to their proximity to the eye. The portable Nintendo Switch, as a point of contrast, is only 720p. This means that it is responsible for rendering less than 10% the pixels per second that an XR device will have to do. The Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, which don’t include their own display, come from a later generation of consoles than the Switch, are stationary and constantly powered, weigh more than three times as much, and support a maximum of 4K (25-50% of the XR target). Every additional pixel requires an increase computing power.

然后是渲染问题。我之前提到过,XR 设备需要自己的屏幕,并且由于靠近眼睛,因此需要至少 8K(最佳 16K)像素。作为对比,便携式 Nintendo Switch 只有 720p。这意味着它负责渲染 XR 设备必须每秒处理的不到 10% 的像素。 Xbox Series X 和 PlayStation 5 不包含自己的显示屏,来自比 Switch 更晚的一代游戏机,固定且持续供电,重量是其三倍多,并且支持最大 4K(25 XR 目标的 -50%)。每个额外的像素都需要增加计算能力。

Yet the number of pixels is only half of the equation. The other half is how frequently they are updated. Most video games target a 60 Hz refresh rate (meaning 60 updates per pixel per second; this is basically called “frames per second” or FPS, to simplify) Some titles will support 120 Hz or more, though this typically means reducing the definition that is rendered. Fortnite, for example, supports 4K in 60 Hz, but if a player wants 120 Hz (which helps with competitive play), the resolution drops to 1440p. On the Nintendo Switch, a relatively low powered device, Fortnite is available only at a max of 30 Hz. Furthermore, many titles prioritize the complexity of the game (which needs lots of computing power) over visual specifications. The AAA video game Gotham Knights, released in 2022, only operates at 30 Hz, for example. Because of the requirement of reproducing visual reality, there is broad consensus that an XR headset must refresh at 120 frames per second—ideally 240—in order to avoid nausea. This stems from the fact that interaction in XR comes from your head, not your thumb, and any lag between input and output is more noticeable when the screen sits on your face versus across the room, which results in a feeling of sensory disconnect. Add it all up, and an XR device has to render many, many, many more pixels per second than a traditional device. This (again) generates a lot more heat, uses a lot more battery, requires a lot more space, and most important, devours horsepower that could otherwise be used to make a more high-fidelity or more complex render.

然而,像素的数量只是等式的一半。另一半是它们的更新频率。大多数视频游戏的目标是 60 Hz 的刷新率(意味着每秒每个像素更新 60 次;为简化起见,这基本上称为“每秒帧数”或 FPS)一些游戏将支持 120 Hz 或更高,尽管这通常意味着减少定义被渲染。例如,Fortnite 支持 60 Hz 的 4K,但如果玩家想要 120 Hz(这有助于竞技游戏),分辨率会降至 1440p。在 Nintendo Switch(一种功率相对较低的设备)上,Fortnite 的最高频率仅为 30 Hz。此外,许多游戏将游戏的复杂性(需要大量计算能力)置于视觉规格之上。例如,2022 年发布的 AAA 视频游戏 Gotham Knights 仅以 30 Hz 运行。由于再现视觉现实的要求,人们普遍认为 XR 耳机必须以每秒 120 帧的速度刷新——最好是 240 帧——以避免恶心。这是因为 XR 中的交互来自您的头部,而不是您的拇指,并且当屏幕位于您的脸上而不是整个房间时,输入和输出之间的任何滞后都会更加明显,这会导致感觉脱节。加起来,XR 设备每秒必须渲染比传统设备多很多很多的像素。这(再次)会产生更多的热量,使用更多的电池,需要更多的空间,最重要的是,会消耗原本可以用来制作更高保真度或更复杂渲染的马力。

There are some additional and particularly brutal optical constraints when we’re talking about AR devices. Most laptops support between 300–600 nits of brightness, with enterprise-level laptops typically peaking at 1,000, while TVs run from 600–1,500. Smartphones need 2,000 nits to be seen in the sun and, as we all know, they will still wash out on a moderately sunny day. For this reason, AR devices have to crank out way more brightness in order to be widely usable, which is another huge battery drain. AR devices also need to let light through their displays in order to augment what’s behind it. This leads to one of two options. First, the display must selectively broadcast even more nits to overcome the light being passed through. Or it needs to selectively shade down what shouldn’t be highlighted. Both of these options are difficult on a pixel-by-pixel basis (no one has really solved this yet), not to mention computationally intensive.

当我们谈论 AR 设备时,还有一些额外的、特别残酷的光学限制。大多数笔记本电脑支持 300-600 尼特的亮度,企业级笔记本电脑的峰值亮度通常为 1,000,而电视的亮度为 600-1,500。智能手机需要 2,000 尼特才能在阳光下看到,而且众所周知,在阳光适中的日子里它们仍然会褪色。出于这个原因,AR 设备必须提高亮度才能广泛使用,这是另一个巨大的电池消耗。 AR 设备还需要让光线穿过它们的显示屏,以增强其背后的效果。这导致两个选项之一。首先,显示器必须有选择地传播更多的尼特以克服穿过的光。或者它需要有选择地淡化不应突出显示的内容。这两个选项在逐个像素的基础上都很困难(还没有人真正解决这个问题),更不用说计算密集型了。

There are ways to overcome some of the aforementioned issues. For example, some XR devices rely on secondary units that provide additional computing power while also reducing weight. XR devices for military personnel typically include a cord-connected mini “bus” that might be worn inside a backpack, with the headset physically cabled to the bus. When surgeons use XR devices, as is now the case at Johns Hopkins, most of the “stuff” is placed under the operating table, with the headset mostly limited to cameras, headphones, display, and mic. Sony’s $600 PlayStation VR2 requires the owner to own and physically connect to the $500 PlayStation 5, which is large, heavy, powerful, more easily cooled, connected to the electrical grid, and the like. Some patents suggest that Meta’s AR glasses will include a pacemaker-like device that will hang off the wearer’s belt or sit in their pocket. Some rumors suggest Apple will use “relay stations” situated around the user’s living room or office. Think about these like stationary pacemakers or consoles designed only to support the XR device. Enterprise AR headsets, such as those used in a factory line, need not be individually owned, nor do they need general-purpose components, wireless chips, long-lasting batteries, or an attractive appearance. They can just be swapped in and out through company-owned charging stations, the same way a police car might be. Enterprise-owned devices can also be far more expensive because they’re shared and drive revenue, not just generate fun.

有一些方法可以克服上述一些问题。例如,某些 XR 设备依赖辅助单元提供额外的计算能力,同时还能减轻重量。军事人员的 XR 设备通常包括一个有线连接的迷你“总线”,可以戴在背包里,耳机物理连接到总线。当外科医生使用 XR 设备时,就像现在约翰霍普金斯大学的情况一样,大部分“东西”都放在手术台下面,耳机主要限于相机、耳机、显示器和麦克风。索尼 600 美元的 PlayStation VR2 要求所有者拥有并物理连接到 500 美元的 PlayStation 5,它体积大、重、功能强大、更容易冷却、连接到电网等。一些专利表明,Meta 的 AR 眼镜将包括一个类似心脏起搏器的装置,可以挂在佩戴者的腰带上或放在他们的口袋里。有传言称苹果将使用位于用户起居室或办公室周围的“中继站”。想想这些就像专为支持 XR 设备而设计的固定起搏器或控制台。企业级 AR 耳机,例如工厂生产线上使用的耳机,不需要单独拥有,也不需要通用组件、无线芯片、持久耐用的电池或吸引人的外观。它们可以通过公司拥有的充电站进行换入和换出,就像警车一样。企业拥有的设备也可能要贵得多,因为它们是共享的并且可以增加收入,而不仅仅是产生乐趣。

But Does It Play Better 但它玩得更好吗

All consumer tech faces tradeoffs and hard problems. But XR devices require so many points of optimization - heat, weight, battery life, resolution, frame rate, cameras, sensors, cost, size, and so on. Zuckerberg’s belief in this device category, placed aside these problems, explains how it’s possible he’s spending $10B+ year after year after year. That money is being sunk into optics, LEDs, batteries, processors, cameras, software, operating systems, and so on. And whereas Apple built the first iPhone around largely stock components that had been designed and manufactured by third parties – and which had been used in phones/smartphones for more than a decade - Meta is primarily engineering and commissioning altogether new innovations and parts for its XR devices.

所有消费技术都面临权衡和难题。但是 XR 设备需要很多优化点——热量、重量、电池寿命、分辨率、帧速率、摄像头、传感器、成本、尺寸等等。扎克伯格对这个设备类别的信念,撇开这些问题,解释了他如何年复一年地花费 10B+ 美元。这笔钱被投入到光学、LED、电池、处理器、相机、软件、操作系统等领域。尽管苹果公司的第一代 iPhone 主要围绕由第三方设计和制造的库存组件构建——这些组件已经在手机/智能手机中使用了十多年——但 Meta 主要是为其 XR 设计和调试全新的创新和部件设备。

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为什么 VR/AR 越聚焦越远,vr,ar

If Zuckerberg can crack this, with nearly all of his competitors years behind (if they’re bothering at all), the financial returns may be extraordinary. In early 2021, Zuckerberg said “The hardest technology challenge of our time may be fitting a supercomputer into the frame of normal-looking glasses. But it's the key to bringing our physical and digital worlds together.”

如果扎克伯格能够解决这个问题,在几乎所有竞争对手都落后多年的情况下(如果他们有麻烦的话),财务回报可能会非常可观。 2021 年初,扎克伯格说:“我们这个时代最艰巨的技术挑战可能是将超级计算机安装到普通眼镜的框架中。但它是将我们的物理世界和数字世界结合在一起的关键。”

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The immense difficulty of XR also explains why “the graphics look like they’re from the Wii” is actually a compliment—it’s a bit like saying an adult ran 100 meters as fast as a 12-year-old, even though the adult was wearing a 50-pound backpack and solving math problems at the same time. Indeed, “Graphics” is a terribly unhelpful term in the first place because it refers to visuals, rather than the simulation they reflect, or their purpose. It’s fairly easy to have a stunningly photoreal chess game, as inputs are turn-based, limited, and highly predictable (which enables the computer to start working in advance of the player’s decision). But if you want simulate a fast-moving game of a hundred players carrying out diverse actions (as is the case with a battle royale or other social environment), there computer needs to work a lot harder to understand cause and effect, and that means the ceiling on visual fidelity is lower. What’s more, there are limits to how much visual fidelity matters to either (especially chess).

XR 的巨大难度也解释了为什么“图形看起来像来自 Wii”实际上是一种恭维——这有点像说一个成年人跑 100 米的速度和一个 12 岁的孩子一样快,尽管这个成年人是背着 50 磅重的背包,同时解决数学问题。事实上,“图形”首先是一个非常无用的术语,因为它指的是视觉效果,而不是它们所反映的模拟或它们的目的。制作逼真的逼真国际象棋游戏相当容易,因为输入是回合制的、有限的且高度可预测的(这使计算机能够在玩家做出决定之前开始工作)。但是如果你想模拟一个由 100 名玩家执行不同动作的快速游戏(就像大逃杀或其他社交环境的情况),计算机需要更加努力地工作才能理解因果关系,这意味着视觉保真度的上限较低。更重要的是,视觉保真度对两者(尤其是国际象棋)的重要性是有限的。

This defense is separate from whether Meta’s art style is good relative to its constraints. There’s pretty widespread consensus it’s bad. However, it’s not quite fair to compare the graphics of Meta’s avatars or signature products, such as Horizon Workrooms, to those of third party VR titles such as VRChat or RecRoom. This fidelity is available to Meta, but only selectively – as we know, “graphics” are just one part of the computing equation. For example, a two-person meeting in Horizon Workrooms that expands to eight might require a halving of the frame rate or avatar definition or accuracy in eye reproduction, while also draining batteries far faster. Or your avatar—intended to be a representation of you—could look better or worse, more detailed or generic, legged or legless, depending on which application you’re using it in. This gets eerie, distracting, and annoying.

这种辩护与 Meta 的艺术风格相对于其约束是否良好是分开的。人们普遍认为这很糟糕。然而,将 Meta 的头像或标志性产品(例如 Horizon Workrooms)的图形与第三方 VR 游戏(例如 VRChat 或 RecRoom)的图形进行比较是不太公平的。这种保真度可用于 Meta,但只是有选择地使用——正如我们所知,“图形”只是计算方程式的一部分。例如,在扩展到八人的 Horizon Workrooms 中举行的两人会议可能需要将帧速率或头像定义或眼睛再现的准确性减半,同时还需要更快地耗尽电池电量。或者你的化身——旨在代表你——可能看起来更好或更坏,更详细或更通用,有腿或无腿,这取决于你在哪个应用程序中使用它。这变得怪异、分散注意力和烦人。

And there has been lots of progress. Consider the Oculus/Meta Quest line, which originated as a VR-only device but has since expanded to VR with a “mixed reality” mode. 2016’s Oculus Rift had a 1K display that was capable of 90 frames per second, supported two to three hours of usage, weighed 500 grams, and cost $400 but had no external cameras (and was thus VR-only). 2020’s Oculus Quest 2 had the same battery life, weight, and price, despite quadrupling the resolution to 4K and supporting up to 120 frames per second, while also adding four external cameras (enabling the otherwise VR-only device to “see” and understand parts of the real room). Compared to the Quest 2, 2022’s Quest Pro increased the resolution to roughly 5.25K (the color contrast increased 75%) while adding color to the previously black-and-white external cameras, while the overall camera count tripled to 12 (substantially improving hand tracking while also adding facial and eye tracking). The Quest Pro was also the first model to use “foveated rendering,” which requires eye-tracking cameras. The human eye has foveal vision, which means that our eyesight is sharpest at the center and blurrier at the periphery. By tracking the user’s eye, it’s possible for a headset to concentrate its computing power where the user is looking and reduce fidelity elsewhere. An 8–16K display is still needed, as the user’s eyes might be directed at any point on the screen, but 90% of the screen might only be rendered in 2–4K at any one point, thereby saving battery and computing power.

并且已经取得了很多进展。以 Oculus/Meta Quest 系列为例,它起源于纯 VR 设备,但后来扩展到具有“混合现实”模式的 VR。 2016 年的 Oculus Rift 拥有每秒 90 帧的 1K 显示屏,支持两到三个小时的使用,重 500 克,售价 400 美元,但没有外部摄像头(因此仅限 VR)。 2020 年的 Oculus Quest 2 具有相同的电池寿命、重量和价格,尽管分辨率提高了四倍,达到 4K 并支持高达每秒 120 帧,同时还增加了四个外部摄像头(使其他仅限 VR 的设备能够“看到”和理解真实房间的一部分)。与 Quest 2 相比,2022 年的 Quest Pro 将分辨率提高到大约 5.25K(色彩对比度提高了 75%),同时为以前的黑白外置摄像头添加了颜色,而整体摄像头数量增加了两倍,达到 12 个(显着提高了手感)跟踪同时还添加面部和眼睛跟踪)。 Quest Pro 也是第一个使用“注视点渲染”的模型,这需要眼动追踪相机。人眼具有中央凹视觉,这意味着我们的视力在中心最锐利,而在周边则较模糊。通过跟踪用户的眼睛,耳机可以将其计算能力集中在用户正在看的地方,并降低其他地方的保真度。仍然需要 8-16K 显示器,因为用户的眼睛可能会指向屏幕上的任何一点,但 90% 的屏幕可能在任何一点只能以 2-4K 呈现,从而节省电池和计算能力。

At the same time, not all of the Quest 2 or Quest Pro’s advances were “cost-free.” The Quest 2’s 120 Hz mode is only selectively supported; more complex games are limited to 90 or even 72 Hz . The Quest Pro has a maximum frame rate of 90 Hz, and compared to the Quest 2, battery life is fully a third shorter (two hours, not three), weight jumped 40% to 700 grams, and cost more than tripled to $1,500. More broadly, 90 Hz at 4K is still literal multiples away from 120–240 Hz at 8–16K. And that’s just the number of pixels rendered, not their fidelity and not the sophistication of the simulation behind it. The external cameras, meanwhile, still can’t richly diagnose the world around them. And so on.

同时,并非所有 Quest 2 或 Quest Pro 的改进都是“免费的”。仅选择性支持 Quest 2 的 120 Hz 模式;更复杂的游戏被限制在 90 甚至 72 赫兹。 Quest Pro 的最大帧率为 90 Hz,与 Quest 2 相比,电池续航时间缩短三分之一(两小时,而不是三小时),重量增加 40% 至 700 克,成本增加两倍多至 1,500 美元。更广泛地说,4K 时的 90 Hz 仍然是 8-16K 时 120-240 Hz 的字面倍数。这只是渲染的像素数量,而不是它们的保真度,也不是其背后模拟的复杂程度。与此同时,外部摄像头仍然无法充分诊断周围的世界。等等。

While VR/MR devices still have a ways to go, with time this gap will close. The unveiling of Apple’s mixed-reality device this spring will be an important time check. Apple is unmatched in its ability to produce world-class hardware, even when it is mostly reliant upon third party components. Equally impressive is how Apple’s hardware works in harmony with a bespoke operating system and interface, which will present and advantage in a category that so far lacks best practices and clear answers. This has enabled Apple to routinely crack open a long-stagnant or slowly developing computing models, from the GUI itself to MP3 player, smartphone, tablet, and smart watch. Yet when Apple did this in the early to mid-2000s with the iPod and iPhone, its two “big” innovations, it was mostly using outside “stuff” (especially computing chips). The company also had modest manufacturing scale and expertise as well as a comparatively tiny user base and small developer ecosystem. The Apple of 2023 is very, very different. For example, the company produces the most powerful miniaturized system-on-a-chips in the world and produces more phones, tablets, and smart watches than any other device maker in the world, which reflects both its manufacturing prowess and the desirability of its products. Apple has the most lucrative developer ecosystem in the world as well as one of its most beloved brands. The company’s XR device has the option of tapping in to other in-market devices—leveraging the user’s iPhone, for example, in lieu of a standalone pacemaker computer, or an Apple Watch to supplement hand tracking, and so on. As such, it’s not unreasonable to assume Apple’s mixed-reality device will be the most desirable, will yield the most performance per dollar cost, and will come equipped with the best interface—and the most applications, too. More importantly, this device is likely to be, well, “different.” To quote Apple expert John Gruber, “Outsiders inevitably base expectations on the current state of the art. But the iPhone was not an iPod phone. Apple Watch was not a Fitbit with a higher price. If Apple is still Apple, this first headset should be much more than a slightly nicer version of VR headsets as we know them.” That said, reports suggest the device will be at least $2,000, and more likely $3,000, which will limit its appeal and suggests that the device is primarily for those who use software to design 3D objects, such as film animators or architects—at least in the short to medium term.

因此,假设 Apple 的混合现实设备将是最理想的设备,每美元成本将产生最佳性能,并将配备最好的界面和最多的应用程序,这并非不合理。更重要的是,这个设备很可能会“与众不同”。引用 Apple 专家约翰·格鲁伯 (John Gruber) 的话说,“局外人不可避免地会根据当前的技术水平做出期望。但 iPhone 不是 iPod 手机。 Apple Watch 不是价格更高的 Fitbit。如果 Apple 仍然是 Apple,那么第一款头显应该不仅仅是我们所知道的 VR 头显的更好版本。”也就是说,有报道称该设备至少要 2,000 美元,更有可能是 3,000 美元,这将限制其吸引力,并表明该设备主要面向那些使用软件设计 3D 对象的人,例如电影动画师或建筑师——至少在短期到中期。虽然 VR/MR 设备还有很长的路要走,但随着时间的推移,这一差距将会缩小。今年春天苹果混合现实设备的揭幕将是一个重要的时间检验。 Apple 在生产世界级硬件方面的能力无与伦比,即使它主要依赖第三方组件也是如此。同样令人印象深刻的是 Apple 的硬件如何与定制的操作系统和界面协调工作,这将在迄今为止缺乏最佳实践和明确答案的类别中呈现并发挥优势。这使 Apple 能够定期破解长期停滞或发展缓慢的计算模型,从 GUI 本身到 MP3 播放器、智能手机、平板电脑和智能手表。然而,当苹果公司在 2000 年代初期和中期通过 iPod 和 iPhone 这两项“重大”创新做到这一点时,它主要使用外部“东西”(尤其是计算芯片)。该公司还拥有适度的制造规模和专业知识,以及相对较小的用户群和较小的开发者生态系统。 2023 年的苹果非常非常不同。例如,该公司生产世界上最强大的微型化系统级芯片,生产的手机、平板电脑和智能手表数量超过世界上任何其他设备制造商,这既反映了其制造实力,也反映了其产品的吸引力。产品。 Apple 拥有世界上最赚钱的开发者生态系统以及其最受欢迎的品牌之一。该公司的 XR 设备可以选择接入市场上的其他设备——例如,利用用户的 iPhone 代替独立的心脏起搏器计算机,或者利用 Apple Watch 来补充手部追踪,等等。

Limited, but ever-expanding use is the necessary arc of new technology. At its start, both computers and internetworking were effectively limited to mega-corporations, public research labs, and government. No other groups could afford either, let alone put them to good use. VR looks likely to start with 3D-centric enterprises, as well as game-centric children and young adults. Technology is not a “when” – let alone “when will X be mainstream” - but a “when is what, used by whom, why, and to what end”. And this is as much about the component cost, functionality, and retail price of XR devices as the software which makes these devices worth buying in the first place. This is particularly important for Meta, which loses $100–200 per unit in order to keep its price low and drive adoption, and thus needs significant usage/platform revenue in order to finance growth (note that this also means Meta has lost around $3B selling 20MM Meta Quest 2s, even after R&D is excluded). But even if Apple books its typical 35% gross profit margin on its XR devices, they are only viable if consumers—by the tens if not hundreds of millions—come to find them useful and when.

有限但不断扩大的使用是新技术的必要弧线。一开始,计算机和互联网实际上仅限于大型公司、公共研究实验室和政府。没有其他团体负担得起,更不用说好好利用它们了。 VR 看起来很可能从以 3D 为中心的企业以及以游戏为中心的儿童和年轻人开始。技术不是“什么时候”——更不用说“X 什么时候成为主流”了——而是“什么时候是什么,被谁使用,为什么,为了什么目的”。这与 XR 设备的组件成本、功能和零售价以及使这些设备首先值得购买的软件一样重要。这对 Meta 来说尤为重要,它每单位损失 100-200 美元以保持低价并推动采用,因此需要大量的使用/平台收入来为增长提供资金(请注意,这也意味着 Meta 损失了大约 30 亿美元销售 20MM Meta Quest 2s,即使在排除研发之后)。但即使 Apple 在其 XR 设备上预定了其 35% 的典型毛利率,它们也只有在消费者(数千万甚至数亿)发现它们有用以及何时发现它们时才可行。

These use cases can come from anywhere. Watching movies in a VR theater or watching VR movies. Watching sports in a VR stadium. Virtual meetings or classrooms. VR productivity software. VR games. Lots has been tried here, but none of these categories are thus far resonating with millions of users (defined by regular usage), let alone hundreds. And this creates the chicken-and-egg problem. Without compelling experiences, users won’t buy VR devices at scale, and but without a large and active install base, developers won’t focus on these platforms. And to this end, many developers focus on 3D applications, but few on VR.

这些用例可以来自任何地方。在VR影院看电影或看VR电影。在 VR 体育场观看体育比赛。虚拟会议或教室。 VR 生产力软件。虚拟现实游戏。这里已经尝试了很多,但到目前为止,这些类别都没有引起数百万用户的共鸣(按常规使用定义),更不用说数百个了。这就产生了先有鸡还是先有蛋的问题。如果没有引人入胜的体验,用户就不会大规模购买 VR 设备,而且如果没有庞大而活跃的安装基础,开发人员也不会专注于这些平台。为此,许多开发人员专注于 3D 应用程序,但很少有人关注 VR。

Some of this impediment is probably hardware; that we’re not yet at the VR MVP (“minimum viable product”). It’s fair to argue that for VR to take off, we first need a device with an 8K display running at 120 Hz, thereby avoiding nausea for a substantial portion of users, that includes a dozen cameras, weighs less than 500 grams, and costs less than $1000, or perhaps even less than $500. Today’s user experience seems substandard, too. In October, longtime Oculus CTO (and then Consulting CTO) John Carmack said “The basic usability of Quest really does need to get better,” with user sessions often “aborted in frustration”; additionally, “app startup times are slow, our transitions are glitchy.” Carmack also admitted that some of Meta’s own staff got stuck in a “20 minute” and “multi-reboot” process to join the company’s 2022 Connect event. But a broader issue seems to be how VR competes with its substitutes. And if so, the MVP for VR is likely to be much higher than the aforementioned “min spec”.

其中一些障碍可能是硬件;我们还没有达到 VR MVP(“最小可行产品”)。公平地说,要让 VR 起飞,我们首先需要一台运行频率为 120 Hz 的 8K 显示屏设备,从而避免大部分用户感到恶心,该设备包括十几个摄像头,重量不到 500 克,而且成本更低不到 1000 美元,甚至不到 500 美元。今天的用户体验似乎也不合标准。 10 月,长期担任 Oculus CTO(然后是咨询 CTO)的 John Carmack 表示,“Quest 的基本可用性确实需要变得更好”,用户会话经常“因沮丧而中止”;此外,“应用程序启动时间很慢,我们的转换有问题。”卡马克还承认,Meta 自己的一些员工在参加公司的 2022 Connect 活动时遇到了“20 分钟”和“多次重启”的过程。但更广泛的问题似乎是 VR 如何与其替代品竞争。如果是这样,VR 的 MVP 可能会比前面提到的“最小规格”高得多。

Consider, for example, the primary use case for VR devices today: video games. While many mock Meta’s VR graphics, graphics don’t really matter; gameplay and fun does. Gamers know this, even if they still delight at shading Meta. This is why we’ve seen hit games are early at 1959 (Spacewar!).In 1993, an astonishing 10% of total Internet traffic was for text-based MUDs (“multi-user dungeons”). When Pokémon Go launched in 2016, it was barely an AR experience. Pokémon could be seen in the real world, sure, but only because they were rendered on top of your camera’s feed. They didn’t hide behind a tree, sit on top of the grass (versus be buried into it), and so on. Still, the title amassed hundreds of millions of players. Six years later, with many true AR features now in place, the lifetime revenues exceed $5B. And today, the most popular games in the world are Roblox, Minecraft, Free Fire, League of Legends, Candy Crush, and so forth, none of which are, or even aspire to look photo-real. And when it comes to non-gamers, history tells us two important lessons. First, graphical improvements never lead non-gamers to become gamers. Second, intuitive (and typically motion) interactivity does convert this exact demo, even when the graphics are rudimentary (Wii Sports, Guitar Hero, and so on).

例如,考虑当今 VR 设备的主要用例:视频游戏。虽然许多人嘲笑 Meta 的 VR 图形,但图形并不重要;游戏性和乐趣确实如此。游戏玩家知道这一点,即使他们仍然喜欢为 Meta 着色。这就是为什么我们看到热门游戏早在 1959 年就出现了(太空大战!)。 1993 年,基于文本的 MUD(“多用户地下城”)占互联网总流量的比例达到惊人的 10%。当 Pokémon Go 于 2016 年推出时,它还只是一种增强现实体验。神奇宝贝可以在现实世界中看到,当然,但这只是因为它们是在你的相机画面之上渲染的。他们没有躲在树后面,坐在草地上(而不是被埋在草里)等等。尽管如此,这款游戏还是吸引了数亿玩家。六年后,随着许多真正的 AR 功能到位,生命周期收入超过 50 亿美元。而今天,世界上最受欢迎的游戏是 Roblox、Minecraft、Free Fire、英雄联盟、Candy Crush 等等,它们都不是,甚至不想看起来像照片一样真实。对于非游戏玩家,历史告诉我们两个重要的教训。首先,图形改进永远不会让非游戏玩家成为游戏玩家。其次,直观的(通常是动作)交互性确实改变了这个确切的演示,即使图形是基本的(Wii Sports、Guitar Hero 等)。

To drive adoption, VR games need to be better than the alternatives, such as TV, reading, board games, Dungeons & Dragons, video games, and whatever else. At least part of the time. But for the most part, VR loses the leisure war (again, having a few million who choose it from time-to-time is not enough, especially given investments). Yes, it offers greater immersion, more intuitive inputs, and more precise (or at least complex) controls. But the downsides are many. The install base for VR is roughly 25–30MM, whereas the AAA device base (Switch, PlayStation, Xbox, PC) is roughly 350 million. Furthermore, most of the most popular games in the world are available on the latter platforms, not the former. As a result, the average VR user can only play with a subsection of their friends—a significant drawback given the nature of VR’s applications. Metcalfe’s Law implies that games become better as the number of your friends that play the game increases. Thus even if Player A prefers to play a VR game to a non-VR game, they have to so strongly prefer that title that compensates for playing without their friend and/or its VR-benefits beat social ones.

为了推动采用,VR 游戏需要比其他替代游戏更好,例如电视、阅读、棋盘游戏、龙与地下城、视频游戏等。至少有一部分时间。但在大多数情况下,VR 输掉了这场休闲战争(再次强调,偶尔有几百万人选择它是不够的,尤其是考虑到投资)。是的,它提供了更好的沉浸感、更直观的输入和更精确(或至少是复杂的)控制。但缺点很多。 VR 的安装基数约为 25-30MM,而 AAA 设备基数(Switch、PlayStation、Xbox、PC)约为 3.5 亿。此外,世界上大多数最受欢迎的游戏都可以在后者平台上使用,而不是前者。因此,普通 VR 用户只能和一部分朋友一起玩——考虑到 VR 应用的性质,这是一个重大缺陷。梅特卡夫定律意味着,随着玩游戏的朋友数量的增加,游戏会变得更好。因此,即使玩家 A 更喜欢玩 VR 游戏而不是非 VR 游戏,他们也必须非常喜欢那种可以补偿没有朋友玩的游戏和/或其 VR 优势胜过社交游戏的游戏。

And given that we know the most popular games are not on VR, it’s likely the most beloved aren’t, either. These issues drive upstream problems, too. It’s already tough to spend $400–500 on a VR console after buying a non-VR console for a similar price; it’s harder still when it lacks many of your best friends and favorite titles. And due to the computational limitations of XR devices, there are gameplay-related constraints, rather than just limitations around battery life, comfort, weight, resolution, and so on. VR battle royale games, for example, are currently limited to two dozen players per match, rather than 50–150, as is the case on smartphones and consoles.

鉴于我们知道最受欢迎的游戏不在 VR 上,最受喜爱的游戏可能也不在 VR 上。这些问题也推动了上游问题。在以类似价格购买非 VR 控制台后,再花 400-500 美元购买 VR 控制台已经很困难了;如果缺少许多您最好的朋友和最喜欢的游戏,那就更难了。由于 XR 设备的计算限制,存在与游戏玩法相关的限制,而不仅仅是电池寿命、舒适度、重量、分辨率等方面的限制。例如,VR 大逃杀游戏目前每场比赛只能容纳 20 名玩家,而不是智能手机和游戏机上的 50-150 人。

Because of the dynamic described above, the largest game developers are largely passing on VR game development. The player base is just too small, while these same device owners typically concentrate their play time and spend on non-VR platforms. Yes, the install base, usage, and spend are growing, but not fast enough to suggest that within three to five years, the opportunity will be large enough for these developers to prioritize over non-VR platforms. Sometimes developers will port a non-VR title to VR, but this doesn’t work for most games. Gran Turismo is a good fit because it’s a first-person title with relatively predictable behaviors and only a few other players (and fewer still are visible at any point). As such, it’s not too difficult to adapt the game’s controls or experiences, and a lower-powered VR device can still compute its gameplay. Resident Evil 7 is less structured than a racing game, but still has a first-person perspective, and unlike Gran Turismo, is limited to single-player and is played offline. Titles such as Fortnite or Call of Duty simply cannot be ported, as they’re specifically designed for non-VR platforms. This focus spans technical decisions (large maps, high resolutions, and 100+ players) and sometimes perspective (Fortnite is third-person, which would cause sea sickness) and especially gameplay (from the way building interiors are designed to the mechanics of jumping or shooting). It’s difficult enough to make titles that operate across both PC and console play well together, let alone Switch and then mobile.

由于上述动态,最大的游戏开发商在很大程度上放弃了 VR 游戏开发。玩家基数太小,而这些相同的设备所有者通常将他们的游戏时间集中在非 VR 平台上。是的,安装基础、使用量和支出都在增长,但速度还不足以表明在三到五年内,这些开发人员有足够的机会优先考虑非 VR 平台。有时开发人员会将非 VR 游戏移植到 VR,但这对大多数游戏都不起作用。 Gran Turismo 非常适合,因为它是第一人称游戏,具有相对可预测的行为,并且只有少数其他玩家(在任何时候仍然可见的玩家更少)。因此,调整游戏的控制或体验并不太困难,低功率的 VR 设备仍然可以计算其游戏玩法。生化危机 7 的结构不如赛车游戏,但仍然具有第一人称视角,并且与 Gran Turismo 不同,它仅限于单人游戏并且可以离线玩。 Fortnite 或 Call of Duty 等游戏根本无法移植,因为它们是专门为非 VR 平台设计的。这个重点涵盖技术决策(大地图、高分辨率和 100 多个玩家),有时还有视角(Fortnite 是第三人称,这会导致晕船),尤其是游戏玩法(从建筑内部设计的方式到跳跃或跳跃的机制)射击)。让同时在 PC 和控制台上运行的游戏能够很好地协同播放已经很困难了,更不用说 Switch 和移动设备了。

Some online multiplayer tentpoles do support a VR build, even though they were designed for 2D interfaces, such as Roblox. But the very fact that these titles are “also VR,” not “only VR,” means they are limited in how they can express, or even leverage, the unique capabilities of VR. Even hit social VR titles such as Rec Room or VRChat no longer require VR—and as much of 90% of their regular users are believed to use “2D” devices when accessing the title. For sure, these titles are better in VR, but their popularity outside of VR speaks to the incentives of its developers, as well as the limited incentives of users to invest in a VR device. All of this explains why Meta is so focused on buying VR developers. Until their ecosystem can attract a critical mass of large and incipient studios, they need to prime it themselves. Many of these developers are profitable and have the option of staying independent, but as subsidiaries, they can invest more aggressively, as their business case will stem from both direct revenue (game sales) and indirect value (driving overall platform adoption).

一些在线多人游戏确实支持 VR 构建,即使它们是为 2D 界面设计的,例如 Roblox。但事实上,这些游戏“也是 VR”,而不是“仅 VR”,这意味着它们在表达甚至利用 VR 的独特功能方面受到限制。甚至 Rec Room 或 VRChat 等热门社交 VR 游戏也不再需要 VR——据信,他们 90% 的普通用户在访问游戏时都使用“2D”设备。当然,这些游戏在 VR 中表现更好,但它们在 VR 之外的受欢迎程度说明了其开发者的积极性,以及用户投资 VR 设备的积极性有限。所有这些都解释了为什么 Meta 如此专注于收购 VR 开发商。在他们的生态系统能够吸引大量新兴的大型工作室之前,他们需要自己做好准备。这些开发商中的许多人都盈利并且可以选择保持独立,但作为子公司,他们可以更积极地投资,因为他们的业务案例将来自直接收入(游戏销售)和间接价值(推动整体平台采用)。

A related issue for developers stems from the number of different VR SKUs in market today as well as their rapid improvements. The latter helps the industry progress towards MVP, but also means that there is no single “VR install base” but rather many different ones. The Meta Quest Pro is a great example. It is far more capable than the Meta Quest 2 but likely has not even 5% of its users. Most developers will therefore produce titles that run on both platforms, which limits the distinctiveness of its VR-specific capabilities, while also reducing the benefit of buying the Meta Quest Pro. The Meta Quest 3, which is expected to release in 2023, will also be constrained by the success of the Meta Quest 2, and as it’s likely to be a better seller than the Meta Quest Pro (which is three times as expensive), that will further discourage Pro-only developers. It’s for this reason that video game console generations run six to eight years—compare smartphones, which update annually—with mid-cycle updates that are typically marginal and primarily price- and size-focused (e.g. the PlayStation 4 Pro). Rival consoles are also weary of departing too much from one another’s capabilities, cognizant of the fact that most developers build for all major consoles and PCs, and are thus unlikely to lean too far into exclusive functionality or performance capabilities.

开发人员面临的一个相关问题源于当今市场上不同 VR SKU 的数量及其快速改进。后者有助于行业向 MVP 迈进,但也意味着没有单一的“VR 安装基础”,而是许多不同的。 Meta Quest Pro 就是一个很好的例子。它比 Meta Quest 2 功能强大得多,但可能只有不到 5% 的用户。因此,大多数开发人员将制作在两个平台上运行的游戏,这限制了其 VR 特定功能的独特性,同时也降低了购买 Meta Quest Pro 的好处。预计将于 2023 年发布的 Meta Quest 3 也将受到 Meta Quest 2 成功的限制,并且由于它可能比 Meta Quest Pro(贵三倍)更畅销,因此将进一步阻止 Pro-only 开发人员。正是出于这个原因,视频游戏机世代运行六到八年——与每年更新一次的智能手机相比——周期中期的更新通常是边际的,主要以价格和尺寸为重点(例如 PlayStation 4 Pro)。竞争对手的游戏机也厌倦了过多地偏离彼此的功能,认识到大多数开发人员为所有主要游戏机和 PC 构建这一事实,因此不太可能过于依赖独有的功能或性能。

The challenges of distinctive software, sufficient hardware, and multiples SKUs converges a bit on the PlayStation VR2, which debuts in February of this year. As the device requires a physical tether to the powerful PlayStation 5, PS VR2 has many performance-related advantages over the Meta Quest line, and others, such as the HTC Vive series. Compared to the high-end Pro, it is 100 grams lighter, and boasts a 10% higher resolution and 33% greater frame rate (120 Hz not 90 Hz), and its games are more technically and visually sophisticated. The device’s price sits between the $400-500 Meta Quest 2, and the $1,500 Meta Quest Pro. For those who own a PlayStation 5, the PS VR2 is another $600, while those who lack a PlayStation 5 will need to spend about $1,100 total. There are some drawbacks. Though the PS VR2 has infinite battery life, it’s also not portable due to its tether, and its color gamut is estimated to be 40-50% less than the Quest Pro and its mixed reality mode is limited to grayscale. And of course, the device remains short of target “min spec” on the display – and by multiples when it comes to pixels per second. But where PS VR2 differentiates is its content. Sony PlayStation is arguably the most successful developer of AAA games of this millennium, producing more hits, and especially original hits, than any other publisher. Accordingly, the PS VR2 is likely to include many best-in-class titles. The plural here – titles – is key. Valve Corporation’s widely acclaimed VR-only game, Half-Life: Alyx, which released in 2020, does not seem to have moved many gamers.

独特的软件、足够的硬件和多个 SKU 的挑战在今年 2 月首次亮相的 PlayStation VR2 上有所融合。由于该设备需要与功能强大的 PlayStation 5 进行物理连接,因此 PS VR2 与 Meta Quest 系列和其他产品(例如 HTC Vive 系列)相比具有许多与性能相关的优势。与高端 Pro 相比,它轻了 100 克,分辨率提高了 10%,帧率提高了 33%(120 Hz 而不是 90 Hz),而且它的游戏在技术和视觉上更加精致。该设备的价格介于 400-500 美元的 Meta Quest 2 和 1,500 美元的 Meta Quest Pro 之间。对于那些拥有 PlayStation 5 的人来说,PS VR2 还需要 600 美元,而那些没有 PlayStation 5 的人总共需要花费大约 1,100 美元。有一些缺点。虽然 PS VR2 拥有无限的电池寿命,但由于它的系绳,它也不便于携带,而且它的色域估计比 Quest Pro 少 40-50%,并且它的混合现实模式仅限于灰度。当然,该设备在显示屏上仍未达到目标“最低规格”——在每秒像素数方面,达不到数倍。但 PS VR2 的不同之处在于它的内容。索尼 PlayStation 可以说是本世纪最成功的 AAA 游戏开发商,它制作的热门游戏,尤其是原创游戏,比任何其他发行商都多。因此,PS VR2 很可能包含许多一流的游戏。这里的复数——标题——是关键。 Valve Corporation 广受好评的纯 VR 游戏《半条命:Alyx》于 2020 年发布,似乎并没有打动多少游戏玩家。

In the years to come, PS VR2 can become an important engine for Sony. The platform stands to strengthen the PlayStation ecosystem by offering what neither Nintendo nor Xbox can, while building out its franchises, generating new profit streams, and furthering player lock-in (this $600 could go to an Xbox or Quest, for example). It also hedges against displacement should gaming behind to rapidly shift to XR devices. Sony, meanwhile, is a leading supplier of screens and optics (it is reportedly supplying these components to Apple for most of its mobile devices, and its forthcoming XR device), thus PS VR2 can leverage in-house scale and R&D, while further progressing both. But the VR2 device will, by definition, be a sub-set of PlayStation 5 users. Today, 30MM devices have been sold, there will be perhaps 60MM by early 2025. If one in four PS5 owners buy a VR2, the install base is likely to be 15MM by 2025, still too small for major AAA developers to produce VR-only titles. And those that do are unlikely to make PS VR2-only titles, versus those that also run across far less powerful devices, such as the Quest 2 and Quest 3.

未来几年,PS VR2可以成为索尼的重要引擎。该平台旨在通过提供任天堂和 Xbox 所不能提供的东西来加强 PlayStation 生态系统,同时建立其特许经营权,产生新的利润流,并进一步锁定玩家(例如,这 600 美元可以用于 Xbox 或 Quest)。如果落后于快速转向 XR 设备,它还可以防止置换。与此同时,索尼是领先的屏幕和光学器件供应商(据报道,它为苹果的大部分移动设备和即将推出的 XR 设备供应这些组件),因此 PS VR2 可以利用内部规模和研发,同时进一步取得进展两个都。但根据定义,VR2 设备将成为 PlayStation 5 用户的一个子集。今天,30MM 的设备已经售出,到 2025 年初可能会达到 60MM。如果四分之一的 PS5 用户购买 VR2,那么到 2025 年安装基数可能会达到 15MM,这对于主要的 AAA 开发商来说仍然太小无法生产 VR-only标题。那些这样做的人不太可能制作仅限 PS VR2 的游戏,而那些也运行在功能远不如 Quest 2 和 Quest 3 的设备上的游戏。

Now, games are a bit of a distraction. They’re a small market overall, generating less than $200B a year in revenue, with fewer than 350MM so-called “AAA player” games. It is niche and not sufficient to drive XR devices into the hands of hundreds of millions, let alone billions, globally. However, the same software arguments endure for all categories. Indeed, on the enterprise side, it’s even harder. Enterprises are particularly reluctant to embrace new platforms, especially those with physical hardware. It’s costly, laborious, and slow to deploy new devices, train employees, adopt new processes and software models, and then drive the iterations required to deliver consistent (and better) net results. Accordingly, most of the market waits until the business cases become large and clear—and they are far from both today. In fact, most enterprise software has no “VR mode,” and there’s almost no VR-only software, either. Few organizations will bother to adopt VR headsets because some people on some teams find it is sometimes a better way to hold a meeting. There is some potential in using an MR device to give everyone a multi-monitor computer set-up, giving employees more monitors is easy, comparatively cheap, and requires no training. The current resolution of XR devices also means that replacing a real world monitor with a simulated one means staring at a fuzzy substitute with enormous-looking pixels. This is the difference between looking at 2K display from two feet and a 4K one from two inches.

现在,游戏有点让人分心。总体而言,它们是一个小市场,每年产生的收入不到 $200B,所谓的“AAA 玩家”游戏不到 350MM。它是利基市场,不足以将 XR 设备推向全球数亿人的手中,更不用说数十亿人了。然而,相同的软件论点适用于所有类别。事实上,在企业方面,它更难。企业特别不愿意接受新平台,尤其是那些有物理硬件的平台。部署新设备、培训员工、采用新流程和软件模型,然后推动提供一致(和更好)最终结果所需的迭代,成本高昂、费力且缓慢。因此,大多数市场都在等到业务案例变得庞大而清晰——而今天离这两者还很远。事实上,大多数企业软件都没有“VR 模式”,而且几乎也没有纯 VR 软件。很少有组织愿意采用 VR 耳机,因为某些团队中的一些人发现它有时是召开会议的更好方式。使用 MR 设备为每个人提供多显示器计算机设置有一定的潜力,为员工提供更多显示器很容易,相对便宜,而且不需要培训。 XR 设备当前的分辨率还意味着,用模拟显示器替换真实世界的显示器意味着盯着具有巨大像素的模糊替代品。这就是从两英尺看 2K 显示器和从两英寸看 4K 显示器之间的区别。

Much of this essay has focused on VR, rather than AR glasses – the XR device category that most consider to be the big opportunity – able to one-day replace smartphones as the dominant computing platform globally, with billions of daily users. The focus on VR reflects the fact that many VR (or, more precisely, MR) investments are laying the groundwork for AR. Batteries and optics are great examples here. But as you might expect, this also means that AR is even farther from “MVP” than VR/MR—and thus also farther behind schedule. Consider Microsoft’s enterprise-focused HoloLens devices. Compared to the first model, released in 2016, 2019’s HoloLens 2 had three times the resolution and augmented 60% more of the user’s vision, with four times as many processor cores, all at the same weight and size. However, the price grew from an already rough $3,000 to $3,500, and the device remained the size of a helmet. Furthermore, barely 20% of the user’s eyesight was augmented—and at a 2K resolution and 60 Hz. And when it came to environmental analysis, the HoloLens could recognize little and analyze even less. On the consumer side, Snap’s Spectacles are instructive. The original Spectacles, released in 2016, weighed 45 grams, augmented less than 10% of a user’s field of view, used a 0.5K display at 60 Hz, lacked GPS, and could not produce a 3D render. The 2021 model, Spectacles 4, added GPS and 3D rendering, but while the resolution doubled to 1K, the frame rate halved, coverage remained at 10%, and the device’s weight nearly tripled to 135 grams (typical glasses are less than 50 grams)—as did the price, to $350. And the battery supported less than 30 minutes of use. The benefits of all this were modest—basic, contextualized AR overlays (e.g., butterflies on a field), an in-ear speaker far worse than any AirPod, and eyeline-based cameras that didn’t require taking out your phone.

Many people I know believe that absent extraordinary advances in battery technology and wireless power and optics and computer processing, we simply cannot achieve the XR devices that many of us imagine and that would conceivably replace the smartphone or merely (a smaller ask) engage a few hundred million people on a daily basis. Just last December, six years after he told Venture Beat that such devices were five to seven years away, Tim Sweeney told Alex Heath, “Well, I think that augmented reality is the platform of the future. But it’s very clear from the efforts of Magic Leap and others that we need not just new technology but, to some extent, new science in order to build an augmented reality platform that’s a substitute for smartphones. And it’s not clear to me whether that’s coming in 10 years or in 30 years. I hope we’ll see it in my lifetime, but I’m actually not sure about that.”

我认识的许多人认为,如果电池技术、无线电力、光学和计算机处理方面没有取得非凡的进步,我们根本无法实现我们许多人想象的 XR 设备,并且可以想象它会取代智能手机或仅仅(一个较小的问题)参与一些每天有一亿人。就在去年 12 月,Tim Sweeney 告诉 Venture Beat 六年后,Tim Sweeney 告诉 Alex Heath,“嗯,我认为增强现实是未来的平台。但从 Magic Leap 和其他公司的努力中可以清楚地看出,我们不仅需要新技术,而且在某种程度上还需要新科学,才能构建可替代智能手机的增强现实平台。我不清楚这是 10 年后还是 30 年后会发生。我希望我们能在有生之年看到它,但实际上我不确定。”

Building The Next Things and M-Words

建立未来的事物和 M-Words

I started this essay by observing that the pace of XR development hadn’t just disappointed, but that XR devices still seemed like they were years away. Hopefully you now have a better understanding of why. What’s less clear is what caused the widespread and misplaced optimism. The answers are probably a mix: The speed in which smartphones went from millions of billions of users, 2G to 4G, and an email device to one upon which the modern economy relied; the widespread desire by companies other than Apple and Google to have their own iPhone or Android-like platform (or get out from under these platforms); and Big Tech exceptionalism. Also important was the category’s nascency. In 2010, few estimated that we would need such high resolutions and refresh rates to avoid nausea – but it takes prototypes and testing to discover this.

在这篇文章的开头,我观察到 XR 开发的速度不仅令人失望,而且 XR 设备似乎还需要数年时间。希望您现在对原因有了更好的理解。不太清楚的是,是什么导致了广泛而错误的乐观情绪。答案可能是混合的:智能手机从数百万用户、2G 到 4G、电子邮件设备到现代经济所依赖的设备的速度;苹果和谷歌以外的公司普遍希望拥有自己的 iPhone 或类似 Android 的平台(或摆脱这些平台);和大科技例外主义。同样重要的是该类别的原始性。在 2010 年,很少有人估计我们需要如此高的分辨率和刷新率来避免恶心——但需要原型和测试才能发现这一点。

With 13 years of XR investments behind us, and an uncertain span in front, we should probably review the history of the devices XR might one day replace: smartphones. The first mobile phone call was in 1973, the first wireless digital network in 1991, first smartphone in 1992 (from IBM, by the way), the Apple Newton tablet came in 1994 (it lacked mobile network chipsets), with enterprise-focused BlackBerrys taking off in the late 1990s, WAP following in 1999 (thereby enabling a primitive version of the World Wide Web to be accessed from most phones), and the first D2C media services emerging in Japan in the early 2000s. The iPhone didn’t launch until 2007, with Android and the Apple App Store coming in 2008. It’s clear that 2007-2008 represented a phase shift from PC/local computing to mobile/cloud, more than 30 years after mobile “began”, but it still it took until 2014 for half of Americans to own a smartphone and 2020 for half of the world to own one.

我们已经进行了 13 年的 XR 投资,未来的时间跨度还不确定,我们或许应该回顾一下 XR 有朝一日可能会取代的设备的历史:智能手机。第一个移动电话是在 1973 年,第一个无线数字网络是 1991 年,第一部智能手机是 1992 年(顺便说一下,来自 IBM),Apple Newton 平板电脑是在 1994 年问世(它没有移动网络芯片组),以及以企业为中心的黑莓1990 年代后期开始兴起,WAP 在 1999 年紧随其后(从而使原始版本的万维网能够从大多数手机访问),而第一个 D2C 媒体服务则在 2000 年代初在日本出现。 iPhone 直到 2007 年才推出,Android 和 Apple App Store 于 2008 年推出。很明显,2007-2008 年代表了从 PC/本地计算到移动/云的阶段转变,移动“开始”30 多年后,但直到 2014 年,一半的美国人才拥有智能手机,而到 2020 年,世界上一半的人都拥有了智能手机。

为什么 VR/AR 越聚焦越远,vr,ar

In hindsight, it seems particularly wrongheaded to have bet XR would go mainstream years before the average person had a smartphone. There are examples of generations of technology being skipped – credit card networks and PCs in China and across the African continent – but in the early 2010s, and even now, smartphones struggle with the tradeoffs between device size, 1K displays, battery life, nits, cost, etc. Mainstream XR devices may shift from research labs to consumer hands faster than smartphones, as they build off many of mobile’s underlying technologies, but they need more time to cook before being served to more than gastrophiles.

事后看来,押注 XR 会在普通人拥有智能手机之前几年成为主流似乎特别错误。有几代技术被跳过的例子——中国和整个非洲大陆的信用卡网络和 PC——但在 2010 年代初期,甚至现在,智能手机都在设备尺寸、1K 显示屏、电池寿命、亮度、成本等。主流 XR 设备可能比智能手机更快地从研究实验室转移到消费者手中,因为它们建立在许多移动的基础技术之上,但它们需要更多的时间来烹饪,然后才能提供给更多的人。

So what does this all mean when it comes to another hyped opportunity, the so-called Metaverse, and when (or whether) it might arrive? Often, the topic of the Metaverse is confused with the very idea or experience of VR/AR/XR. But it’s important to recognize that the devices are exactly that—devices. They may come to be the best, most popular, or preferred way to access the Metaverse, but they are all just ways to access it. A good analogy might be the touchscreen smartphone and its relationship to the mobile internet. These devices have doubtless expanded who uses the mobile Internet, when, where, for what, how often, and how well. But the mobile internet is not a smartphone, nor does the mobile Internet need a touchscreen. To access the mobile internet, you don’t even need a visual interface at all (‘Hello Siri’).

那么,当谈到另一个被炒作的机会,即所谓的元宇宙,以及它何时(或是否)可能到来时,这一切意味着什么呢?通常,Metaverse 的主题与 VR/AR/XR 的概念或体验相混淆。但重要的是要认识到设备就是设备。它们可能会成为访问 Metaverse 的最佳、最受欢迎或首选的方式,但它们都只是访问它的方式。一个很好的类比可能是触摸屏智能手机及其与移动互联网的关系。这些设备无疑扩大了使用移动互联网的人群、时间、地点、目的、频率和程度。但是移动互联网不是智能手机,移动互联网也不需要触摸屏。要访问移动互联网,您甚至根本不需要可视化界面(“Hello Siri”)。

Smartphone analogy in mind, I think it’s valid to say that the difficulty in producing XR hardware will slow the emergence and thus the growth of the Metaverse, as it will limit who accesses the Metaverse, when, where, for what, how often, how well, etc. Those who haven’t used a high-end VR devices, especially in complex use cases (e.g. explore the organ systems of a human body versus ride a roller coaster), will probably underestimate how extraordinary these devices can be, even today. This is particularly important when it comes to onboarding older generations to XR, especially if they haven’t spent decades familiarizing themselves with dual-analog controllers that split control of the X and Y axis into independent inputs. But the generation that has grown up playing Legend of Zelda or socializing on Roblox does not seem to be limited by the lack of head-based motion, and this cohort grows with every year.

以智能手机为例,我认为生产 XR 硬件的困难会减缓 Metaverse 的出现和发展,因为它将限制谁访问 Metaverse,何时、何地、访问什么、多久访问一次、如何访问好吧,等等。那些没有使用过高端 VR 设备的人,尤其是在复杂的用例中(例如,探索人体的器官系统与乘坐过山车),可能会低估这些设备的非凡之处,甚至今天。这对于让老一辈人使用 XR 来说尤为重要,尤其是如果他们还没有花几十年时间熟悉双模拟控制器,将 X 轴和 Y 轴的控制分成独立的输入。但是,玩着《塞尔达传说》或在 Roblox 上进行社交的这一代人似乎并没有因为缺乏基于头部的动作而受到限制,而且这一群体每年都在增长。

AR is far more different from today’s virtual experiences because it involves rendering objects on top of reality while also scanning and, ideally, interacting with it. Yet this functionality is being rapidly embraced by smartphones. Yes, they’re less intuitive and seamless than glasses hope to be, they’re already in use by billions globally, and they are improving annually. Today’s smartphones are increasingly used to scan and understand the real world around us, layer AR renders on-top of it, and even instantly convert parts of it into 3D objects.

AR 与今天的虚拟体验大不相同,因为它涉及在现实之上渲染对象,同时还扫描并理想地与之交互。然而,此功能正迅速被智能手机所接受。是的,它们不像眼镜希望的那样直观和无缝,它们已经在全球范围内被数十亿人使用,并且它们每年都在改进。今天的智能手机越来越多地用于扫描和了解我们周围的真实世界,在其上层 AR 渲染,甚至立即将其部分转换为 3D 对象。

为什么 VR/AR 越聚焦越远,vr,ar

Apple iPhone Object Capture Apple iPhone 对象捕获

The viability of smartphones for “The Metaverse” is as unexpected and consequential as the challenges of XR proved to be. Consider the following 2022 quote, which comes from Neal Stephenson, who coined the term “Metaverse”:

智能手机在“元宇宙”中的生存能力与 XR 所面临的挑战一样出人意料且影响深远。考虑以下 2022 年的引述,它来自 Neal Stephenson,他创造了“Metaverse”一词:

“The assumption that the Metaverse is primarily an AR/VR thing isn’t crazy. In my book [Snow Crash, published in 1992] it’s all VR. And I worked for an AR company [Magic Leap]--one of several that are putting billions of dollars into building headsets. But I didn’t see video games coming when I wrote Snow Crash… Thanks to games, billions of people are now comfortable navigating 3D environments on flat 2D screens. The UIs that they’ve mastered [keyboard and mouse for navigation and camera] are not what most science fiction writers would have predicted. But that’s how path dependency in tech works. We fluently navigate and interact with extremely rich 3D environments using keyboards that were designed for mechanical typewriters. It’s steampunk made real. A Metaverse that left behind those users and the devs who build those experiences would be getting off on the wrong foot… My expectation is that a lot of Metaverse content will be built for screens (where the market is) while keeping options open for the future growth of affordable headsets”
“认为 Metaverse 主要是 AR/VR 东西的假设并不疯狂。在我的书 [Snow Crash,1992 年出版] 中,全是 VR。我曾在一家 AR 公司 [Magic Leap] 工作——这是几家投入数十亿美元制造头显的公司之一。但我在写《雪崩》时并没有看到电子游戏的出现……多亏了游戏,数十亿人现在可以在平面 2D 屏幕上舒适地浏览 3D 环境。他们掌握的用户界面 [用于导航和摄像头的键盘和鼠标] 不是大多数科幻小说作家所预料的。但这就是技术中路径依赖的工作原理。我们使用专为机械打字机设计的键盘,可以流畅地在极其丰富的 3D 环境中导航和交互。这是真实的蒸汽朋克。将那些用户和构建这些体验的开发人员抛在脑后的元宇宙将走错路……我的期望是,许多元宇宙内容将针对屏幕(市场所在)构建,同时为未来保持开放的选择负担得起的耳机的增长”

Stephenson’s perspective is clearly demonstrated by Roblox, the most popular 3D platform in world. At the end of 2022, Roblox average more 61MM daily and over 250MM monthly users, who use it for nearly 5 billion hours each month, and had created nearly 100 million different worlds in total, each connected in currencies, communications suites, avatars, portals, and more. Not only is all of Roblox usage via 2D devices, 90% of Roblox’s usage comes via smartphones and tablets that require the user to partially obstruct the screen whenever they want to do something. And unlike other would-be pandemic darlings, such as Zoom, or Peloton, or Shopify, Roblox still growing as the COVID-19 pandemic eases. Daily users are up 18% YoY, with usage per user up 3%. Compared to Q4 2019, Roblox is up nearly 100%.

世界上最受欢迎的 3D 平台 Roblox 清楚地展示了斯蒂芬森的观点。到 2022 年底,Roblox 平均每天超过 61MM,每月超过 250MM 用户,每月使用它近 50 亿小时,总共创造了近 1 亿个不同的世界,每个世界都以货币、通信套件、头像、门户连接, 和更多。不仅所有 Roblox 的使用都是通过 2D 设备进行的,90% 的 Roblox 使用都来自智能手机和平板电脑,这需要用户在想做某事时部分遮挡屏幕。与 Zoom、Peloton 或 Shopify 等其他潜在的大流行宠儿不同,随着 COVID-19 大流行的缓解,Roblox 仍在增长。每日用户同比增长 18%,每个用户的使用量增长 3%。与 2019 年第四季度相比,Roblox 上涨了近 100%。

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为什么 VR/AR 越聚焦越远,vr,ar

Roblox is one of many examples of the sufficiency of 2D interfaces for 3D experiences. While the platform does have a VR mode, it is not fundamentally designed for VR and thus it’s both available on, and optimized for, the billions of other devices in market today. And notably, Roblox boasts over 1,250x the monthly userbase of Meta’s VR-only Roblox competitor, Horizon Worlds. Roblox is also 20-60x the size of the VR-centric RecRoom and VRChat, which, unlike Horizon Worlds, also benefit from 2D-based access.

Roblox 是 2D 界面足以满足 3D 体验的众多示例之一。虽然该平台确实有 VR 模式,但它并不是为 VR 而设计的,因此它可以在当今市场上数十亿的其他设备上使用并针对这些设备进行了优化。值得注意的是,Roblox 的每月用户群是 Meta 的 VR-only Roblox 竞争对手 Horizon Worlds 的 1,250 倍以上。 Roblox 的大小也是以 VR 为中心的 RecRoom 和 VRChat 的 20-60 倍,与 Horizon Worlds 不同,后者也受益于基于 2D 的访问。

Still, Roblox can also be viewed as a case study for XR optimism and Stephenson’s point on the importance of preserving XR optionality. While Roblox was largely unknown until 2018, and unfamiliar to most until 2020, the platform was developed as early as 2004 and launched in 2006. A lot of Roblox’s latter growth stemmed from technical improvements to hardware which enabled greater experience, I’d argue another primary driver was generational.

尽管如此,Roblox 也可以被视为 XR 乐观主义和斯蒂芬森关于保留 XR 可选性重要性的观点的案例研究。虽然 Roblox 在 2018 年之前基本上不为人知,并且直到 2020 年才为大多数人所熟悉,但该平台早在 2004 年就已开发并于 2006 年推出。Roblox 的后期增长很大程度上源于对硬件的技术改进,这带来了更好的体验,我认为另一个主要驱动力是世代相传的。

For the first two or so years following the release of the iPad in 2011, it was common to see press reports and viral YouTube videos of infants and young children who would pick up an “analogue” magazine or book and try to “swipe” its non-existent touchscreen. Today, those one-year-olds are twelve-to-thirteen. A four-year-old then is now well on her way to adulthood. These media consumers are now spending their own money on content—and some are already creating content themselves. And while they now understand why adults found their futile efforts to pinch-to-zoom a piece of paper so comic, older generations are stuck observing how the worldviews and preferences of the young differ from their own. Most of these consumers look at the world as interactive and immersive, seeking out not YouTube or Snapchat as millennials did, but Roblox or Minecraft. Their preference for social interactivity is so great that they embrace platforms that, like VR today, look rudimentary and technically insufficient. This secular trend explains Roblox’s growth even as the pandemic has eased. Every year, its addressable market grows by 140 million kids who go from age eight to age nine - all of whom are ‘iPad Native’ - which is more than enough growth to offset the users who have dropped the platform, or reduced their usage since 2021.

在 2011 年 iPad 发布后的头两年左右,经常会看到新闻报道和 YouTube 上病毒式传播的婴幼儿视频,他们拿起“模拟”杂志或书籍并试图“滑动”其屏幕不存在的触摸屏。今天,那些一岁的孩子十二到十三岁。一个四岁的孩子现在正在走向成年。这些媒体消费者现在将自己的钱花在内容上——有些人已经在自己创造内容。虽然他们现在明白为什么成年人发现他们徒劳地捏合缩放一张纸如此滑稽,但老一辈人仍然在观察年轻人的世界观和偏好与他们自己有何不同。这些消费者中的大多数都将世界视为互动和身临其境的世界,他们不像千禧一代那样寻找 YouTube 或 Snapchat,而是寻找 Roblox 或 Minecraft。他们对社交互动的偏爱是如此之大,以至于他们拥抱像今天的 VR 这样看起来简陋且技术上不足的平台。这种长期趋势解释了 Roblox 即使在大流行病有所缓解的情况下仍能保持增长。每年,它的目标市场都会增加 1.4 亿从 8 岁到 9 岁的孩子——他们都是“iPad 原生”——这个增长足以抵消自那以后放弃该平台或减少使用的用户。 2021.

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为什么 VR/AR 越聚焦越远,vr,ar

And so perhaps we should think of computing platforms as having three underlying steps. ‘Step One’ is when a new technology achieves its MVP. Step Two is when a generation has grown up using that technology. For example, the iPad hit Step One in 2011, but only in the last few years have those who grew up since 2011 been able to direct their own media consumption and spend. Step Three is when those native to a new technology become entrepreneurs. Facebook is a good way to understand the importance of Step Three. Facebook was technically possible long before it was created in 2004. But it took Mark Zuckerberg, a 19-year-old who grew up in the 1990s Internet to create Facebook, and then see it adopted by his peers, also of the 1990s Internet. Evan Spiegel, the creator of Snapchat, was similar, but of the mobile Internet. This is bullish for immersive social platforms, as we are approaching Step Three for that generation. But the timing for VR is less certain.

因此,也许我们应该将计算平台视为具有三个基本步骤。 “第一步”是一项新技术实现其 MVP 的时候。第二步是当一代人使用该技术成长起来的时候。例如,iPad 在 2011 年迈出了第一步,但直到最近几年,那些自 2011 年以来成长起来的人才能够主导自己的媒体消费和支出。第三步是那些熟悉新技术的人成为企业家。 Facebook 是了解第三步重要性的好方法。 Facebook 在 2004 年创建之前很久就在技术上是可行的。但 19 岁的马克扎克伯格在 1990 年代的互联网中长大,他创建了 Facebook,然后看到它被他的同龄人采用,也是 1990 年代的互联网。 Snapchat 的创始人埃文·斯皮格尔 (Evan Spiegel) 与此类似,但属于移动互联网。这对沉浸式社交平台来说是利好,因为我们正在接近那一代人的第三步。但 VR 的时机不太确定。

We may have already hit Step One with VR. Or it may be imminent, or perhaps due in the next decade. Alternatively, VR might never be mainstream (defined by billions of devices), and instead serving primarily as R&D on the path to mainstream AR. As I mentioned earlier, the “when” for technology is more a “when is what, used by whom, why, and to what end”. This is why there is no set answers for when Company A should adopt Hardware B or Service C, nor when it’s too early or too late to build X or Y. It wasn’t too late to launch a smartphone in the 2000s – a decade after BlackBerry, Palm, Nokia, Windows Mobile came to market, but it could have been had they made the right bets on interface (touch-focused, not keyboard-focused), price point ($500 not $0-200); core market (consumers, not enterprises) and so on. By the early 2010s, it was too late to launch a new smartphone (or relaunch one, as Windows Phone demonstrated). Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok demonstrated that you could still launch social networks and media services as many as seven years after the smartphone, though none displaced Facebook, which debuted years before the iPhone or Android. What of the Metaverse? Time will tell.

我们可能已经通过 VR 迈出了第一步。或者它可能迫在眉睫,或者可能在下一个十年内到期。或者,VR 可能永远不会成为主流(由数十亿台设备定义),而是主要用作通往主流 AR 道路上的研发。正如我之前提到的,技术的“何时”更像是“什么时候是什么,被谁使用,为什么以及为了什么目的”。这就是为什么对于 A 公司何时应该采用硬件 B 或服务 C,以及何时构建 X 或 Y 为时过早或过晚都没有固定答案。在 2000 年代推出智能手机还不算太晚——十年在 BlackBerry、Palm、Nokia、Windows Mobile 上市之后,如果他们在界面(以触摸为中心,而不是以键盘为中心)、价格点(500 美元而不是 0-200 美元)上做出正确的赌注,那本来是可以的;核心市场(消费者,而非企业)等。到 2010 年代初期,推出新智能手机(或重新推出智能手机,如 Windows Phone 所展示的那样)为时已晚。 Snapchat、Instagram 和 TikTok 表明,在智能手机问世七年后,你仍然可以推出社交网络和媒体服务,尽管没有一个能取代 Facebook,后者比 iPhone 或 Android 早几年推出。元宇宙呢?时间会证明一切。

One parting quiz, though. When Neal Stephenson wrote Snow Crash in 1992, he set it in the future - at a time where more than a hundred million people used AR/VR glasses regularly. When do you think it was? The mid-2010s. :)

不过,这是一个临别测验。当 Neal Stephenson 在 1992 年写下 Snow Crash 时,他将其设定在未来——当时有超过一亿人定期使用 AR/VR 眼镜。你认为是什么时候? 2010 年代中期。 :)

Matthew Ball (@ballmatthew) 马修鲍尔 ( @ballmatthew )文章来源地址https://www.toymoban.com/news/detail-844020.html

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