By 2022, metaverses have become a new trend. Many projects from other areas also began to call themselves that. For example, the social network Zepeto is now known as a metaverse with 290 million users and a $100 million budget for content creation. In the material, we analyze the essence of the project, determine the reasons for its popularity and see what kind of content it contains.
The Essence of the Zepeto Metaverse
Zepeto created Naver Z, a subsidiary of South Korean-based Internet conglomerate Naver Group. Initially, Naver Z promoted the app as a social network, then as a 3D game, and now as a metaverse. And in the AppStore, it is still in the “Social Networking” category.
The difference between Zepeto and other social networks in user avatars. There are no real photos or videos of people in it — only 3D models. The application creates them based on the user’s photos, so the virtual version is similar to the real one. For example, the avatar will have the same hair color, hairstyle, and glasses. You can modify the 3D model in the editor and make it even more like yourself or, on the contrary, change some features in your avatar.
The app quickly became popular. Already in December 2018, 4 months after the release, it ranked second in the top free apps on Google Play, and fifth in the category “Social Networking” in the AppStore.
By January 2022, 290 million people had registered on the app, 150 million of whom were residents of China and South Korea. And the number of active users is now about 20 million per month. At the same time, about 70% of users are females from 13 to 24 years old.
Zepeto’s in-app purchase rates are also on the rise. By May 2020, the app had sold 600 million virtual goods worth $10 million. By January 2022, the number of goods sold increased to 2 billion. These goods are sold by both app developers and content creators. For example, the most popular creator sold $500,000 worth of goods in 2021.
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User Activities in Zepeto
First you need to “make friends” with other users. To do this, the app has a recommendation feed, which works like in most social networks. Or you can go for a walk along a virtual street where random avatars appear. Users do not control them, so you can click on any of them and it will stop. While the avatar is standing, you can view the user’s profile, write him a message or subscribe to him.
Zepeto trailer shows in-app gaming activities
The main activity in Zepeto is joint photos with other users. For this, the app has a special section with a photo booth. It includes a set of templates with different poses and facial expressions of avatars. At the same time, you can take a joint photo with another user’s avatar without this user. You only need to be subscribed to this user.
Zepeto also has quests and giveaways in the form of bonus coins. So the application keeps the interest of users.
Reasons Why Zepeto is so Popular
In part, the app has such a large user base because of its focus on audiences in South Korea and China. But there are other reasons for Zepeto’s popularity:
- easy to find friends — to take pictures with other users, their consent is not required;
- the ability to add celebrities as friends — for example, Zepeto has Ariana Grande and Selena Gomez, as well as k-pop groups Blackpink and BTS;
- use of avatars instead of real photos or videos — users create avatars that look like them but are not;
- the opportunity to improve their appearance;
- branded items in Zepeto are cheaper than in real life — for example, the app collaborates with Nike, Ralph Lauren and Gucci.
Therefore, the application is popular with teenagers aged 13-24. They can create an avatar and improve its appearance, hide their real face, take a selfie with a celebrity, and buy inexpensive branded items for their avatar.
“Ice Cream” music video featuring Blackpink and Selena Gomez avatars in Zepeto
What Kind of Content is Created at Zepeto
The metaverse has a separate section for creators — Zepeto Studio. Users can create 3 types of content with it:
- fashion items: clothes and accessories for avatars;
- virtual worlds that can be explored by other users;
- live streams on behalf of your avatar, where you can communicate with your subscribers.
Zepeto moderates content before putting it up for sale. For example, the app prohibits the placement of political slogans, calls for hatred or discrimination on fashion items. Partly, this is necessary to work in the Chinese market.
To register with Zepeto Studio and start creating content, a regular Zepeto account is enough. There are also guides on the website to help beginners. And in total, more than 1.5 million creators are registered in the service.
How Zepeto Will Spend $100M on Content
In January 2022, the developers of the metaverse from Naver Z created a $100 million fund. Money will be allocated from it for two categories of creators:
- Developer studios that create virtual worlds and applications for the metaverse. Naver Z plans to take equity stakes in them with money from the fund. At the same time, the company will consider only those studios that use a special plugin for the Unity game engine. This is a content creation software developed by Naver Z. This is how the company plans to increase the popularity of its plugin among developers.
- Regular users who create content for Zepeto. Naver Z will pay additional rewards to the most effective of them. And the performance is planned to be assessed by app launches, visits, interactions with the audience and other metrics. The more user activity the creator causes, the more chances he has to receive additional income from the fund. This is how Naver Z plans to encourage users to create more diverse content.
Zepeto is an app for iOS and Android that is like a social network and a metaverse. Its main feature is the use of 3D avatars instead of real photos or videos. The app creates them using facial recognition technology, so they look like users.
Zepeto users walk around virtual spaces, take photos together, participate in contests and quests. To stand out from the rest, you can buy clothes and accessories for your avatar, and arrange your room. These items are sold for in-game currency. It can be obtained by participating in contests or bought for real money.
The developer of Zepeto is the South Korean company Naver Z. It has created a $100 million fund to support creators. These include both regular users who create content, and developer studios.
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