How did Cluster become Japans largest metaverse company?
On the 7th, it was reported that the Japanese metaverse platform ‘cluster’ had surpassed 1 million downloads. It may be difficult to feel it easily because ‘ZEPETO’ shows overwhelming influence only in Korea, but in the current metaverse market where fragmentation is severe, the number of 1 million is a pretty meaningful indicator.
In fact, until I heard the news, I felt unfamiliar with what a ‘cluster’ was and even its name. By looking at Japan’s unique culture and environment together, it was only then that it was easy to see what efforts the cluster made to solidify its position in the current highly fragmented metaverse market. It seems that companies currently planning a metaverse in Korea can learn something from the progress shown by the cluster. We have prepared a time to find out what kind of policy differentiates the cluster, which is currently exerting a particularly big influence in the Japanese market, along with the peculiarities of the Japanese market.
What is a ‘cluster’?
Cluster is a metaverse platform that creates a virtual society and community under the unique concept of ‘the closest metaverse’. You can create your own 3D avatar to enter the VR world, explore the worlds that are open to you, and participate in events and live performances.
Using a VR headset gives you a higher sense of presence, but anyone can easily access it using a PC or smartphone even if you don’t have a VR headset. This easy access to the metaverse has become an attractive point, and now many companies, local governments, and players in Japan are using the cluster as a VR event venue or communication space. In fact, several events have been held through clusters, such as ‘Virtual Shibuya’, a virtual world established by the local government tourism association, or ‘Pokemon Virtual Fest’, a corporate event.
The most representative service of the cluster is the world system that reproduces the real streets of Japan in the VR world. In fact, in the cluster, you can enter virtual worlds that reproduce real cities such as Virtual Shibuya, Virtual Harajuku, Virtual Marunouchi, and Virtual Osaka. It is characterized by a high degree of perfection because it was created in collaboration with local governments rather than by ordinary individuals.
Of course, even ordinary individuals can create their own world by using the ‘World Craft’ function that exists in the cluster. Even without programming knowledge, you can easily create your own world, so it is known that more than 34,000 original worlds have been newly created in the cluster so far. Players in the cluster spend more than 60,000 hours building their own worlds using Worldcraft features.
Analysis and understanding of the Japanese market, and ‘immersion into the virtual world’
In fact, meeting friends in the virtual world and attending events or live concerts are common activities on other metaverse platforms today as well. In fact, it is more difficult to find a metaverse service that does not support these activities. The reason why the cluster was able to differentiate itself from other services and to achieve the fruit of ‘1 million downloads’ seems to be due to a sufficient understanding of the Japanese domestic market.
First, you need to understand the Japanese market. Even before the keyword ‘metaverse’ became a hot topic in Japan, stories dealing with the mixture of the real world and the virtual have appeared frequently. The visual novel ‘Sword Art Online’, one of the first keywords that come to mind when talking about the virtual world, was published in 2009, more than 10 years ago. Thanks to Japanese console games and multiple visual novels that emphasize immersive experiences, Japanese users have been one step ahead and reduced their reluctance to anonymize virtual worlds.
In a survey conducted in Japan in 2021 with the subject of ‘Did the Corona 19 infection accelerate virtual communication?’, the majority of Metaverse service users were in their teens and 20s, and more than 91% of them gave their real names. The results of using an anonymous and altered voice instead of Ina’s voice have been published. Even if you create an avatar that can be called an alter ego and communicate with others, you can see that there is a greater demand for those who want to be anonymous rather than reveal themselves in the process.
Combining these features, users who act as virtual beings different from their real ones, but want to experience ‘I’m really here’ in a truly immersive world instead of a vague virtual world that is far from reality You can read their needs. It can be said that this is the key point of the Metaverse World, which the cluster considers important and has developed in the Japanese market.
The cluster held ‘Shibuya Under Scramble’, a live performance featuring over 100 real singers, in a virtual world that reproduces the real Shibuya street, and implemented the Marunouchi district of Tokyo Station, a famous tourist attraction, in a virtual world. Various events hosted by companies and local governments are being held within Metaverse. When participating in all these worlds and events, you can substitute your own virtual avatar with freely set gender and appearance, without having to identify yourself.
A platform division that can be easily connected to the metaverse anytime, anywhere, an avatar system that helps you reveal your individuality while hiding your real self, and a reality-based variety that maximizes immersion while being a new existence called ‘virtual me’ The world can be seen as the force that made the current cluster.
The development and innovation of ‘Metaverse’, which starts from understanding the market, is not far away
In fact, the revival and development of the metaverse is not something that platform developers can create al1. Efforts should be made to continuously expose services to encourage user participation, increase the degree of freedom and accessibility of UGC content that they can access and enjoy on the platform, and distribute high-quality content through cooperation between companies and local governments. The metaverse platform ‘Cluster’, which is currently attracting attention in the Japanese market, has not disappeared without a momentary boom since its first launch, and has been able to keep a meaningful record until now, two years later, because these efforts were supported. seems to be
In Korea, there was a time when ‘buchae’ came to the fore a while ago. The demand for a different self, different from me, has been noticed as a popular concept that is not limited to celebrities. Paying attention to these trends may help you understand the domestic market. Whenever there is an event, I often hear the news that a ‘metaverse space’ has been opened along with the offline exhibition hall. I think it’s time to create a ‘buccaneer’ and create a virtual space where users want to be compatible with reality, rather than a short-lived, eventful experience. I hope that each of these challenges will come together to grow the metaverse and serve as a stepping stone for innovation.