华尔街日报双语笔记:科技巨头在元宇宙掀起下一波掘金热

科技巨头在元宇宙掀起下一波掘金热
Facebook母公司Meta、微软和其他公司纷纷押注元宇宙领域,这反映出人们越来越相信,这个新兴的虚拟空间将在现实世界掀起一波赚钱风口。
Big Tech Seeks Its Next Fortune in the Metaverse
From virtual-reality glasses to software to digital goods, emerging online realms promise new ways to make big bucks
华尔街日报双语笔记:科技巨头在元宇宙掀起下一波掘金热

笔记导读

place/put/lay a bet on something 在…上押注

roll out 正式推出(新产品)◆ The new model is to be rolled out in July. 这种新型号将在七月份推出市场。

outspoken 直言不讳的;(Someone who is outspoken gives their opinions about things openly and honestly, even if they are likely to shock or offend people.) 近义词:blunt ◆ an outspoken opponent of the leader 一个直言不讳反对领导的人

hold sway 占统治地位;具有重大影响力;(If someone or something holds sway, they have great power or influence over a particular place or activity.)◆ Rebel forces hold swayover much of the island. 该岛很大一部份控制在叛军手里。

under sb/sth’s sway 在…的控制下; ◆ He was quick to exploit those who fell under his sway. 他毫不犹豫地利用受他控制的那些人。

fizzle /’fɪz(ə)l/ 虎头蛇尾地结束;草草收场;(If something fizzles, it ends in a weak or disappointing way after starting off strongly.)

双语全文

The bets that Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc., Microsoft Corp. and others are placing on the metaverse reflect a growing belief that the emerging virtual realm will unlock serious real-world dollars.

The metaverse remains more aspirational than real, and its biggest supporters don’t expect it to be built quickly. Proponents though see a range of possibilities, from selling the hardware and software needed to access the metaverse to hawking virtual goods, services and advertisements within the digital world.

Companies big and small have started outlining business plans for the metaverse. Microsoft last week said it would roll out software tools around the metaverse in coming months, with pricing still to be disclosed. Meta Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg last week also said that as the company works on the metaverse, it would look for ways to aid creators to make money, potentially tapping a $1 billion fund the social-media giant already has established.

Facebook的母公司Meta PlatformsInc. (FB)、微软(Microsoft Corp., MSFT)和其他公司纷纷押注元宇宙领域,这反映出人们越来越相信,这个新兴的虚拟空间将在现实世界掀起一波赚钱风口。

元宇宙目前更多地停留在理念阶段,尚未成为现实,这个概念的最大支持者们并不指望能迅速打造出这样的空间。不过,支持者们从中看到了一系列的可能商机,比如销售进入元宇宙所需的硬件和软件,以及在这个数字世界中兜售虚拟商品、服务和广告等。

大大小小的公司已经开始制定有关元宇宙的商业计划。微软上周表示,将在未来几个月内推出围绕元宇宙的软件工具,价格仍有待披露。Meta首席执行官扎克伯格(Mark Zuckerberg)上周也表示,随着该公司致力于开发元宇宙,将寻找可帮助创作者赚钱的方法,有可能会利用这家社交媒体巨头已经建立的一只规模10亿美元的基金。

To tech leaders, the metaverse is emerging as a generational step-change in how digital interactions and commerce unfold. Metaverse proponents say the new digital world will have a profound effect on day-to-day lives, not unlike the emergence of the internet or iPhone.

“When we talk about the metaverse, we’re describing both a new platform and a new application type, similar to how we talked about the web and websites in the early ’90s,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said as he rolled out the company’s new tools for the digital world. They include the wider ability for users of Microsoft’s Teams workplace-collaboration software, starting next year, to join meetings using customized avatars, a person’s digital representation.

The digital world offers new ways to shop that should spur sales, analysts say. “The commerce capability I think will be insane because you’ll see these goods that are virtual and instead of looking at pictures, you’ll be able to rotate objects and look at them and try on different things,” said Brent Thill, an analyst covering the tech sector at investment bank Jefferies.

科技界的领袖们认为,元宇宙将带来时代变革,改变数字互动和商业运作的模式。元宇宙的支持者们表示,新的数字世界将对日常生活产生深远的影响,不亚于互联网或iPhone的横空出世。

微软首席执行官纳德拉(Satya Nadella)在该公司的元宇宙新工具推出时表示:“谈到元宇宙,我们勾画的既是一个新的平台,也是一种新的应用方式,就像我们在20世纪90年代初谈论网络和网站的发展。”这些新的工具包括,从明年开始,使用微软Teams工作场所协作软件的用户可获得更强大的功能,可以通过自定义的个人数字化身来参加会议。

分析师称,元宇宙数字世界可向人们提供新的购物方式,应会刺激销售。投行Jefferies负责科技行业的分析师Brent Thill称:“我认为这种商业能力会表现惊人,因为人们将可以亲眼看到这些虚拟商品,而不是只看看图片,人们可以旋转商品,进行观察,并试穿或试用各种商品。”

Analysts say it is difficult, at this early stage, to estimate the size of the likely metaverse economy. However, one pointed to the more than $80 billion already being spent annually on virtual goods in videogames as an indication of how much business could be generated in the virtual world.

Moneymaking opportunities at this point are linked largely to establishing the infrastructure for the online realms.

Meta is selling its Oculus virtual-reality headsets for $299 and said it is working on augmented-reality devices. Snap Inc. sells a pair of augmented reality glasses for $380. Microsoft sells its HoloLens headsets, aimed at business users, with the cheapest costing $2,975. The U.S. Army is among its customers.

分析师称,目前元宇宙产业尚处早期阶段,很难估测元宇宙经济可能呈现的规模。但一位分析师指出,每年在游戏虚拟商品上的开支现已超过800亿美元,或许可据此推测元宇宙虚拟世界中催生的业务规模。

目前看来,赚钱的机遇在很大程度上与建立这一虚拟空间的基础设施息息相关。

Meta正以299美元价格销售该公司所产Oculus虚拟现实(VR)头盔,并表示Meta正在开发增强现实(AR)设备。Snap(SNAP)以380美元出售一款AR眼镜。微软生产的HoloLens头盔最低售价2,975美元,主要面向企业用户。微软的客户包括美国陆军。

The augmented- and virtual-reality global equipment market is expected to grow by more than 50% this year, reaching a total of 9 million units shipped, according to data from International Data Corp. By 2025, shipments could reach 28.7 million units, IDC says.

Graphics-chip company Nvidia Corp. is rolling out software it calls Omniverse Enterprise that offers collaboration and simulation tools on a subscription basis. It bills the suite as foundational to creating and connecting virtual worlds and early Tuesday introduced new tools, including one to create interactive artificial-intelligence avatars.

“I’m fairly sure that at this point that Omniverse or the metaverse is going to be a new economy that is larger than our current economy,” Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang said on the company’s most recent earnings call.

据国际数据公司(International Data Corporation, 简称IDC)数据显示,今年全球AR/VR设备市场预计将增长50%以上,总出货量将达900万台。IDC预计,到2025年,全球AR/VR设备总出货量有望达2,870万台。

图形芯片公司英伟达(Nvidia Corp., NVDA)正在推出名为Omniverse Enterprise的软件,客户可通过订阅该平台获取协作和模拟工具。英伟达称,这套软件是创建和连接虚拟世界的基础。该公司周二早些时候还推出了若干新产品,其中一款可生成互动式人工智能化身。

英伟达首席执行官黄仁勋(Jensen Huang)在该公司最近的财报电话会议上称:“我相当肯定,在这一点,Omniverse或者元宇宙将成为一种新的经济,比我们目前的经济规模更大。”

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. CEO Lisa Su Monday said Meta has selected her company’s chips for use in its cloud as part of the company’s data-center expansion.

Videogame companies Roblox Corp. and Epic Games, which produces “Fortnite,” have hosted virtual concerts and other immersive experiences on their platforms. The events so far have been free to attend, but attendees could purchase related virtual items.

Other companies are also buying into the metaverse concept. Consulting firm Accenture PLC last month said it had purchased 60,000 Oculus headsets to train new employees. Nike Inc. filed trademark applications last month indicating that it wants to sell digital versions of its merchandise in online worlds.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD, 简称AMD)首席执行官苏姿丰(Lisa Su)周一表示,Meta在扩张数据中心时,选择该公司的芯片用于其云业务。

电子游戏公司Roblox Corp.和制作《堡垒之夜》(Fortnite)的Epic Games已经在其平台上举办了虚拟音乐会和其他沉浸式体验活动。到目前为止,这些活动都是免费参加的,但与会者可以购买相关的虚拟物品。

其他企业也开始接受元宇宙概念。咨询公司埃森哲(Accenture PLC, ACN)上个月表示,购买了6万个Oculus头盔来培训新员工。耐克公司(Nike Inc. Cl B, NKE)上周提交了商标申请,说明该公司希望在网络世界中销售其商品的数字版本。

Digital advertising, which exploded in the era of social media and has been the backbone of Meta earnings, is expected to migrate to the metaverse. Some advertisers are experimenting with metaverse-like digital universes such as Roblox’s in an effort to build brand recognition, but haven’t been able yet to use the platform to sell physical goods.

Meta’s announcement around the online realm may inspire some brands to experiment with augmented and virtual reality and imagine creative ways to show up in places that already have established virtual communities, said Brian Wieser, global president of business intelligence at WPP PLC’s GroupM.

Mr. Zuckerberg, who has emerged as one of the most outspoken metaverse proponents, said the new online realm wouldn’t be controlled by just one company. Mr. Zuckerberg for years has said Apple Inc. and its App Store policies hold too much sway over the social-media company’s business.

在社交媒体时代爆炸式增长的数字广告一直是Meta盈利的支柱,该业务预计将迁移至元宇宙。一些广告用户将尝试元宇宙式的数字宇宙,如Roblox的数字宇宙,以打造品牌认知度,但尚未能用这个平台来出售实体商品。

WPP PLC旗下GroupM的商业智能全球总裁Brian Wieser称,Meta宣布的这项围绕网络领域的决定可能激发一些品牌尝试增强现实和虚拟现实,并想象出创造性的方式,在已经建立了虚拟社区的地方展示。

扎克伯格是最高调的元宇宙支持者之一,他说这个新的网络领域不会只被一家公司控制。扎克伯格多年来一直表示,苹果公司(Apple Inc., AAPL)及其App Store政策对这家社交媒体公司的业务影响过甚。

“I’ve come to believe that the lack of choice and high fees are stifling innovation, stopping people from building new things and holding back the entire internet economy,” he said at an event last week detailing his company’s plans to build the metaverse.

Apple has defended its App Store fees as fair and similar to those of other digital marketplaces. The iPhone maker is also working on an augmented reality headset for consumers, which analysts expect to hit the market as soon as next year, and the company has plans for AR glasses.

There are skeptics that the metaverse will fundamentally alter how business is conducted, pointing to earlier iterations—such as Second Life in the 2000s—that spurred excitement before fizzling.

他在上周的一次活动中说:“我相信,缺乏选择和高收费正在扼杀创新,阻止人们创造新事物,并阻碍整个互联网经济的发展。”那次活动详细介绍了Meta打造元宇宙的计划。

苹果公司曾辩解称,其App Store的收费是公平的,与其他数字市场的收费水平类似。苹果公司还在为消费者开发AR头盔,分析师预计该头盔最快将于明年投放市场,该公司还计划开发AR眼镜。

有人怀疑元宇宙能否从根本上改变商业运作模式,他们提到早先的例子,比如21世纪初的“第二人生”曾激发了人们的热情,但后来也销声匿迹了。

Business will be conducted in the metaverse at some point, Mark Raskino, a fellow at research firm Gartner Inc., said in a blog post. “But it will not happen in the 2020s. It probably won’t happen in the 2030s,” he said.

Building the metaverse comes with high upfront costs. Meta said it would see a $10 billion hit to its operating costs from its metaverse efforts. The company also has said it expects to raise capital expenditure on items such as network infrastructure and data centers almost 80% next year.

“Our hope though is that if we all work at it, then within the next decade, the metaverse will reach 1 billion people, host hundreds of billions of dollars of digital commerce and support jobs for millions of creators and developers,” Mr. Zuckerberg said at the event last week.

研究公司Gartner Inc.的研究员Mark Raskino在一篇博文中说,未来的某个时候将建立起元宇宙中的商业运作。他表示,但到本世纪20年代甚至30年代可能都不会实现。

构建元宇宙需要高昂的前期成本。Meta说,元宇宙工作将使公司运营成本增加100亿美元。该公司还曾表示,预计明年将把网络基础设施和数据中心等项目的资本支出提高近80%。

扎克伯格在上周的活动中说:“我们的希望是,如果我们都为此努力,那么在未来十年内,元宇宙将达到10亿人,承载数千亿美元的数字商业,并为数以百万计的创造者和开发者的就业提供支持。”

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