Facebook和虚拟现实的问题

不管你信不信,Facebook实际上已经让虚拟现实变得更好,至少从一个角度来看。

My first VR device was PlayStation VR, and the calculus was straightforward: I owned a PS4 and did not own a Windows PC, which means I had a device that was compatible with the PlayStation VR and did not have one that was compatible with the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive.

我只使用过一次。

PlayStation VR及其所有必需的配件和电线

The problem is that actually hooking up the VR headset was way too complicated with way too many wires, and given that I lived at the time in a relatively small apartment, it wasn’t viable to leave the entire thing hooked up when I wasn’t using it我终于搬到了一个新的地方,但坦率地说,我不记得我是否打开包装。

然后,今年早些时候,Facebook推出了Oculus Go。

Oculus Go是一款独立设备

Go运动硬件与中端智能手机相当,价格为199美元至关重要的是,它是一个完全独立的设备:无需控制台或PC当然,质量并不是那么好,但便利性很重要,特别是像我这样偶尔玩电子游戏或看电视或电影的人穿上翼装或看一些NBA亮点非常有趣,而且非常容易至少只要我有“走出去”,并且被指控很难想象给别的第二个想法。

虚拟现实利基

这是虚拟现实的第一个挑战:它是一个目的地,无论是在虚拟地方,还是批判性地,在现实世界中审议行动的最终结果一个人不会偶然体验虚拟现实:它是一种选择,而且经常 - 就像我的PlayStation VR一样 - 是一个相当复杂的选择。

这不一定是个问题:去看电影是一种选择,就像在控制台或PC上玩视频游戏一样Both are very legitimate ways to make money: global box office revenue in 2017 was $40.6 billion U.S., and billions more were made on all the other distribution channels in a movie’s typical release window; video games have long since been an even bigger deal, generating $109 billion globally last year.

不过,这比智能手机等产生的收入少了一个数量级Apple, for example, sold $158 billion worth of iPhones over the last year; the entire industry was worth around $478.7 billion in 2017这种差异不应该让人感到惊讶:与电影或视频游戏不同,智能手机是您前往目的地的伴奏,而不是目的地。

That may seem counterintuitive at first: isn’t it a good thing to be the center of one’s attention? That center, though, can only ever be occupied by one thing, and the addressable market is constrained by time假设有八个小时的睡眠时间,八个小时用于工作,几个小时用于实际导航生活,最多只需要六个小时来争取这就是为什么旨在增加生命而不是取代它的设备一直更具吸引力:每一个醒着的时刻都值得解决。

In other words, the virtual reality market is fundamentally constrained by its very nature: because it is about the temporary exit from real life, not the addition to it, there simply isn’t nearly as much room for virtual reality as there is for any number of other tech products.

Facebook头疼的收购

顺便提一下,这包括Facebook:社交网络的力量是违反直觉的,就像虚拟现实是违反直觉的,但却恰恰相反No one plans to visit Facebook: who among us has “Facebook Time” set on our calendar? And yet the vast majority of people who are able — over 2 billion worldwide — visit Facebook every single day, for minutes at a time.

事实是,每个人都有意向性时刻之间的大量时间:排队,乘坐公共汽车,使用浴室That is Facebook’s domain, and it is far more valuable than it might seem at first: not only is the sheer amount of time available more than you might think, it is also a time when the human mind is, by definition, less engaged; we visit Facebook seeking stimulation, and don’t much care if that stimulation comes from friends and family, desperate media companies, or advertisers that have paid for the right他们在过去一年中获得了480亿美元的收入 - 超过全球票房收入,占视频游戏总收入的近一半。

让你大吃一惊的是Facebook偶然登陆这个金矿:在这个十年初,公司拼命想要建立一个平台,即第三方开发商可以与客户建立直接联系的地方这一直是硅谷梦想家的既定目标,但总的来说,对平台的追求有点像破坏的宣言:广泛的修辞,但实际上很少和很远。

Facebook就是这样:该公司的盈利能力和估值的大幅上涨 - 尽管有三个月 - 已经取决于该公司作为一个平台,至少不是第三方开发者的平台毕竟,为第三方开发者提供空间是为了为广告商提供空间,至少在移动设备上,并且移动设备已经为Facebook提供了填补空白空间的平台和,正如我在2013年所指出的那样,移动广告单元不可能更好。

This is why Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus back in 2014 was such a head-scratcher; I was immediately skeptical, writing in面对不是未来

Setting aside implementation details for a moment, it’s difficult to think of a bigger contrast than a watch and an Occulus headset that you, in the words of [Facebook CEO Mark] Zuckerberg, “put on in your home.” What makes mobile such a big deal relative to the PC is the fact it is with you everywhere虚拟现实耳机实际上是一种回归,在这种回归中,您的计算体验被巧妙地隔离成您故意做的事情。

然而,扎克伯格首先未能在PC上构建平台,然后用手机惨遭失败, would not be satisfied with being merely an app; he would have his platform, and virtual reality would give him the occasion.

Facebook的Oculus Drama

当Oculus收购宣布时扎克伯格写道

Our mission is to make the world more open and connected在过去几年中,这主要意味着构建移动应用程序,帮助您与您关心的人分享我们还有很多关于移动设备的事情,但是在这一点上我们觉得我们可以开始关注接下来的平台,以实现更有用,更有趣和个性化的体验......

回想起来,这是一个引人入胜的声明当然还有对手机的轻微解雇,这将使Facebook的估值增加十倍,因为Facebook只是一个应用程序,而不是一个平台然而,更为引人注目的是扎克伯格的评价,Facebook现在可以把重点放在其他地方:在国家赞助的干涉揭露以及Facebook对社会影响的合理问题之后,它似乎相当误导。

Oculus的使命是让您体验不可能的事物Their technology opens up the possibility of completely new kinds of experiences沉浸式游戏将是第一次,而Oculus已经在这里有一个不会改变的大计划,我们希望加速Rift受到游戏社区的高度期待,开发人员对构建此平台非常感兴趣我们将专注于帮助Oculus构建他们的产品并发展合作伙伴关系以支持更多游戏Oculus将继续在Facebook内独立运营以实现这一目标。

这与Oculus和Facebook本周新闻报道的原因有关;TechCrunch报道that Oculus co-founder Brendan Iribe left the company because of a dispute about the next-generation of computer-based VR headsets; Facebook said that computer-based VR was still a part of future plans.

但这只是一个开始在游戏之后,我们将使Oculus成为许多其他体验的平台......这确实是一个新的交流平台通过感受真实存在,您可以与生活中的人分享无限的空间和体验想象一下,不仅可以在线与朋友分享,还可以分享整个体验和冒险经历这些只是一些潜在的用途通过与整个行业的开发人员和合作伙伴合作,我们可以共同构建更多有一天,我们相信这种身临其境的增强现实将成为数十亿人日常生活的一部分。

但是,这让人觉得TechCrunch正在做些什么Microsoft, to its dismay, found out with the Xbox One that serving gamers and serving consumers generally are two very different propositions, and any move perceived by the former to be in favor of the latter will hurt sales specifically and the development of a thriving ecosystem generally然而,Facebook的问题在于公司的基本性质 - 更不用说扎克伯格的平台抱负 - 依赖于尽可能多的客户。

我怀疑这不是Oculus创始人的首要任务:虚拟现实是一个难题,即使是最好的技术 - 毫无疑问,意味着连接到PC - 也不够好为此,鉴于他们的优先级首先是虚拟现实并达到第二,我怀疑Oculus的创始人宁愿花更多的时间让PC虚拟现实变得更好,也不会花更多的时间来销售温暖的智能手机内部。

Facebook和Oculus的问题

尽管如此,我不能否认Oculus Go虽然可能功能不足,但在重要方面 - 特别是便利性 - 使用技术人员连续低估正如我在开始时所指出的那样,Facebook的影响力,特别是它希望尽可能多地吸引用户控制整个体验 - 对独立设备满意的两种愿望 - 可能确实使虚拟现实比Oculus仍然是一家独立公司更为普遍。

What is inevitable though — what was always inevitable, from the day Facebook bought Oculus — is that this will be one acquisition Facebook made that was a mistake如果Facebook想要在虚拟现实中出现,那么最好的路线就像移动设备一样:成为一款应用程序曝光的服务,可在所有设备上使用,由广告资助我一直觉得扎克伯格感到痛苦,不仅仅是在2014年,但即使在今天,从他在主题演讲和收益电话中的评论来看,似乎无法或不愿接受Facebook在科技价值链中的地位这一基本事实。

事实上,扎克伯格围绕虚拟现实的言论背叛的不仅仅是缺乏战略意识:他的主题演讲在2016年的Oculus开发者大会上,也就是在上次大选前一个月,回想起来,该公司关于其对世界影响的天真广告:

我们将虚拟现实作为下一个主要的计算平台在Facebook,这是我们真正致力于的事情你知道,我是一名工程师,我认为工程思维的一个关键部分就是这种希望和这种信念,你可以采用任何系统,并使它比现在好得多任何东西,无论是硬件,软件,公司,开发者生态系统,你都可以采取任何措施并使其更好,更好正如我今天看到的那样,我看到很多人都有这种工程思维我们都知道我们想要改进的地方以及我们希望虚拟现实最终得到的地方......

我当时写的:

也许我低估了扎克伯格:他不想为了拥有一个平台而想要一个平台,他的重点不一定是在Facebook上的业务相反,他似乎开始创造乌托邦:一个比我们现在居住的世界更好的世界并且,获得拥有一家虚拟现实公司也许是到达那里最明显的途径......

毋庸置疑,2016年表明这种方法的结果并不是很有希望:当我们的个体现实在现实世界中相互碰撞时,结果对于将社会团结在一起的规范具有极大的破坏性Make no mistake, Zuckerberg gave an impressive demo of what can happen when Facebook controls your eyes in virtual reality; what concerns me is the real world results of Facebook controlling everyone’s attention with the sole goal of telling each of us what we want to hear.

The following years have only borne out the validity of this analysis: of all the myriad of problems faced by Facebook — some warranted, and some unfair — the most concerning is the seeming inability of the company to even countenance the possibility that it is not an obvious force for good.

Facebook的不匹配

尽管如此,除了Facebook之外,虚拟现实比您想象的更具吸引力在虚拟现实提供的完全身临其境的环境中,有一些经验确实更好,仅仅因为未来更接近游戏机(最好)而不是智能手机没有什么值得道歉的然而,更具吸引力的是增强现实:承诺是,像智能手机一样,它是你一天的伴奏,而不是中心,这意味着它的潜在用途要大得多为此,您可以确定任何Facebook高管都乐于解释为什么虚拟现实和Oculus是朝这个方向迈出的一步。

这在技术上可能是真实的,但同样,服务的基本性质和商业模式都是错误的Facebook制作的任何东西都必然偏向于每个人都可以访问,这在创建新市场时是个问题Before technology is mature integrated products advance more rapidly, and can be sold at a premium; it follows that market makers are more likely to have hardware-based business models that segment the market, not service-based ones that try and reach everyone.

为此,很难对苹果最终超越Oculus和其他所有人的机会感到乐观The best way to think about Apple has always been as a personal computer company; the only difference over time is that computers have grown ever more personal, moving from the desk to the lap to the pocket and today to the wrist (and ears)面对下一步是合乎逻辑的,没有哪家公司能够在实现这一目标所必需的硬件工程方面更好地证明自己。

至关重要的是,苹果公司也拥有合适的商业模式:它可以销售几乎没有足够好的设备,仅仅因为它们来自Apple而购买的用户群,并从那里找出一个用例而无需触及每个人我对Apple Watch的这种方法非常批评 -从发布主题演讲中可以清楚地看到that Apple had no idea what this cool piece of hardware engineering would be used for — but, as the Apple Watch has settled into its niche as a health and fitness device and slowly expanded from there, I am more appreciative of the value of simply shipping a great piece of hardware and letting the real world figure it out.

Facebook的基本问题就在于:公司开始使用一个用例 - 社交网络,或者“联系人”来使用他们喜欢的短语 - 并退出硬件和商业模式这是一种过于规范的方法,正如您对启用应用程序的服务所期望的那样,与您对实际平台的期望相反In other words, to be a platform is not a choice; it is destiny, and Facebook’s has always run in a different direction.