Short Video Giants Douyin and Kuaishou Compete for Social Metaverse

Following the launch of virtual avatar “Douyin Zaizai,” ByteDance’s Douyin platform recently unveiled a new virtual space called “Douyin Xiaowo.” Meanwhile, competing Chinese short video streaming platform Kuaishou is also developing a virtual avatar social networking layout. The moves indicate that competition for China’s social metaverse field has officially commenced, Tech Planet reported on October 17.

Douyin Xiaowo is a virtual space created for the platform’s virtual avatar, Douyin Zaizai. In this space, users can incarnate as the avatar to complete decoration.

If users want to dress up the space, they need to obtain energy by watching videos and socializing. The style of decoration can be matched according to the user preferences. The necessary energy for each decoration is different, requiring more user participation in missions and social interaction.

The virtual social gameplay tested by Kuaishou is a bit different from Douyin, as it is based on socializing with strangers in the same city.

Users can unlock four virtual avatars, namely two male characters Xiao Ming and Wen Ke, and two female characters Xiao Hong and Xue Hua, among which Wen Ke and Xue Hua can be unlocked after watching videos about what happened in the city where the user is living in for 30 hours and mutually following five people nearby.

In addition, users can set different “moods” on the virtual avatar to reveal their current emotions to others. They can view other users who have opened the virtual avatar function in Kuaishou and interact with them.

In addition, Kuaishou does not limit virtual social behavior to the app. Users can turn their virtual avatars into links and send them to WeChat and QQ.

With the rise of the metaverse, social networking presents new changes. Users can incarnate as virtual avatars in social scenarios. Among the Chinese internet giants, platforms such as Baidu Tieba, QQ, Taobao, and QQ Music have begun to build metaverse social networks around virtual avatars.

Metaverse social interaction today is mainly divided into two types. One relies on head-mounted devices, such as Meta’s virtual reality platform Horizon Worlds. The other is virtual avatar socialization adopted by mainstream Chinese products. The maintenance and construction costs of the latter are low, and a social mode with diversified gameplay can be established. However, the experience is also relatively distorted, and applications are often just a subsidiary product of the main app to drive business development.

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In order to solve these problems, Chinese tech giants are also taking action. For example, in order to improve the experience and authenticity of virtual social networking, Tencent has launched a new business focused on extended reality. After ByteDance acquired VR equipment maker PICO last year, it appointed Jason Ma, the founder of the virtual avatar social entertainment application Vyou, as head of the PICO social center.