Decentralized infrastructure may not be a part of China’s game plan in the Metaverse, according to experts who have studied China’s market. The Sino Metaverse appears to be destined for the same fate as the web. Many people predicted that the internet, when it first became widely available in the late 1990s, would hasten China’s democratic transition.
Metaverse participation may not be deterred by China’s disdain for decentralisation, according to NewZoo’s “Intro to the Metaverse” 2021 trend report, but its experience may be very different, like the internet’s appearance behind China’s firewall. As a result, China restricts access to politically sensitive content by censoring its own internet and preventing access to foreign websites.
When asked by The Wire China whether China will adopt a similar approach to Web3 trends, Mario Stefanidis of Roundhill Investments said that it appears to be the case. As opposed to allowing users to access the “global metaverse” and spending a significant amount of resources censoring and blocking certain experiences, China will be able to oversee the development of a local metaverse.
It will be particularly noticeable between China’s metaverse and the United States, says Nina Xiang, journalist and founder of Asian tech intelligence and data company China Money Network.
China’s Metaverse plans
“The materialisation of the Metaverse will take place amid persistent U.S.-China geopolitical and technological rivalry,” she wrote in a book announcement for her new book, Parallel Metaverses: How the US, China, and the Rest of the World Are Shaping Different Virtual Worlds.
Because of this, the two countries’ metaverse ecosystems may have greater divergence in terms of major players, content creation and infrastructure outlay, applications and product formats and laws and regulations, as well as investments.
The road to the Metaverse is paved by tech giants.
There is no doubt that Chinese companies are interested in the Metaverse’s potential. An estimated $1.6 billion was invested in Metaverse-related projects in the three months leading up to the end of November 2021. According to Sino Global, a Chinese crypto venture capital firm, only 2.1 billion yuan will have been invested in 2020.
China’s largest search engine Baidu recently launched its own “Land of Hope” metaverse app XiRang. In spite of the app’s intended focus on digital infrastructure, Baidu Vice President Ma Jie made sure to highlight the fact that it will not support cryptocurrencies or nonfungible tokens (NFTs).
Tencent, a Chinese entertainment conglomerate, has the most money invested in video games of any company in the world. After making an acquisition announcement in January of this year, the company’s president Martin Lau recently described the Metaverse as a “real opportunity” during a conference call with investors.
According to the Metaverse report’s introduction, Tencent doesn’t need a decentralised infrastructure to achieve its vision for the metaverse because it already has a significant market share.
To achieve high interoperability without decentralised infrastructure, Tencent’s ecosystem already covers most vertices in the game and tech services industry.
During 2020 and 2021, Tencent applied for 4,085 patents for virtual and augmented reality technology, according to an analysis by local media publication IPRdaily. In fact, six of the top ten companies in terms of VR and AR patent applications over the past two years were from China, making it far from the only one.
In terms of China’s difficulties,
According to Reuters, China’s efforts in the Metaverse are still lagging behind. Chinese tech giants have invested less in China, and the country has banned industry-leading virtual reality (VR) headsets such as Meta’s Oculus, according to the report.
Shanghai’s Development Plan Includes a Metaverse
One of the Metaverse’s most important pillars is user-generated content, but China’s stringent restrictions on expression make this difficult. Using “reusable game modes, live-ops, and IP collaborations,” NewZoo predicted that companies like Tencent would produce their own Metaverse content.
Metaverse games are heavily regulated by China’s government, which prohibits everything from violent content to depictions of anything that could be deemed “obscene” from being depicted. In the last year, the government has also started to limit the amount of time minors can spend playing computer games.