经济学人:脸谱网与虚拟现实 一场头戴式3D眼镜的赌博
日期:2014-04-03 16:20



Facebook and virtual reality
A game of goggles
The social network makes another expensive bet on the future
AT SXSW, a techie festival that took place inTexasearlier this month, some lucky attenders were able briefly to immerse themselves in HBO's fantasy television series, “Game of Thrones”.
By donning virtual-reality goggles made by Oculus VR, people could see how the world looked from the top of the 700-foot-tall Wall that protects the Seven Kingdoms from enemies that lurk beyond.
戴上由Oculus VR公司制造的虚拟现实眼镜,人们可以看见从700英尺高的城墙顶端俯瞰的世界,而这城墙保卫着七大王国免受潜伏在城墙外敌人的侵扰。
The digital rendition was so lifelike that gazing down from the Wall gave some folk vertigo.

Such a compelling experience explains why Oculus Rift, the company's virtual-reality headset, has captivated keen gamers.
如此令人信服的体验解释了该公司的虚拟现实耳机Oculus Rift俘获了狂热游戏迷的原因。
It has also caught the attention of Facebook, which announced on March 25th that it had bought Oculus VR for around 2 billion.
这也引起了Facebook公司的注意,在3月25日,其宣布已用约20亿美元收购了Oculus VR公司。
This deal, which comprises 400m in cash and the rest in Facebook stock, comes not long after the social network's purchase of WhatsApp, a messaging app, for 19 billion.
WhatsApp at least has more than 450m users.
Oculus VR, a startup that is less than two years old, has so far only sold its headsets to game developers.
Oculus VR这一新创办不超过两年的公司,目前只向游戏开发者卖出了它的虚拟现实耳机。
So why is Facebook paying so much for it?
And why is it betting on a much-hyped technology that has so far failed to live up to its promise?
Part of the answer is that Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's boss, and his colleagues think advances in areas such as graphics processing power and thin, high-resolution screens mean that virtual-reality headsets are at last ready for mass consumption.
部分原因是Facebook公司的老板Mark Zuckerberg以及他的同僚们认为,例如图形处理能力,薄而分辨率高的显示器等领域的发展进步,意味着虚拟现实耳机终于为大众消费做好了准备。
David Ebersman, the firm's finance chief, reckons the potential to mint money in gaming alone justifies Oculus's price tag.
公司的首席财务官David Ebersman认为Oculus仅在游戏上赚钱的潜力就证明它的价签是合理的。
Other firms spy the same opportunity.
Sony recently unveiled a prototype virtual-reality headset for its PlayStation 4 game console and Microsoft is rumoured to be developing one for its Xbox console.
索尼公司最近公布了一款为其PlayStation 4游戏平台打造的虚拟现实耳机的原型机,且有传言称微软正为其Xbox游戏平台研发一款虚拟现实耳机。
But some gaming veterans reckon the headsets will appeal only to hard-core gamers.
And Facebook's purchase of Oculus has infuriated some of those.
After the deal was announced, Markus Persson, a prominent game developer, tweeted that he had just cancelled a plan to bring a game to Oculus.
在交易宣布后,一个著名的游戏开发商Markus Persson就在推特上说他刚刚取消了一个想交由Oculus公司研发游戏的计划。
“Facebook creeps me out,” he added.
That is unlikely to bother the social network, whose decision to buy Oculus was also motivated by a broader strategic concern.
Facebook grew up in an era dominated by personal computers.
It failed miserably to spot that computing was shifting fast to new mobile “platforms” such as smartphones.
It has since raced to catch up in the world of apps and is now keen not to miss the next generation of big platforms.
Mr Zuckerberg thinks virtual reality could be one of these and foresees people putting on Oculus's goggles in their homes to, say, attend virtual classes or see their doctors.
But experiments in marrying entertainment with headgear, like 3D televisions that require viewers to wear special glasses, have been disappointing.
“Two billion dollars seems like a significant amount of money to pay for something that has yet to emerge,” says Brian Wieser of Pivotal, a research firm.
研发公司Pivotal的Brian Wieser说:“对于一些尚未实现的东西来说,20亿美元似乎是一笔大投资。”
True, but unlike Google, which spends lots of money on futuristic projects in its secretive “Google X” lab, Facebook is willing to let startups try riskier stuff, and then pay princely sums to acquire them.
确实如此,谷歌公司在神秘的“Google X”实验室进行的未来项目中投入大量资金,然而与谷歌公司不同,Facebook公司宁愿让新创业的公司试验风险较高的事物,然后支付天价收购它们。
Other firms have also been buying talent and technology: according to Thomson Reuters, an information provider, the Oculus purchase took the total spent on technology M&A worldwide since the start of 2014 to 65.2 billion—the highest amount for the equivalent period since 2000.
其他公司也正在购买人才和技术,据信息提供者Thomson Reuters透露,自2014年初以来,Oculus公司在世界范围内的技术并购中,总共花费了625亿美元,这是自2000年以来同期最高值。
The Oculus deal also represents a twist in the tech industry's very own Game of Thrones, an epic of incessant plotting and warfare.
Google wants its Glass smart specs to be a new mass-computing platform and this week said Luxottica, a seller of high-end eyewear, would help it make them look nicer.
Google's vision of the future involves complementing the real world seen through its specs with a visual feed from its search engine and other services.
Facebook's is of people immersed in lifelike digital worlds.
Their rivalry should be a real spectacle.

1.at least 至少

There are at least three reasons.

The second coup was followed by the killing of at least 200 ibo soldiers.

2.fail to 未能

Things change and when you fail to grasp that truth you suffer.

All of these interpretations fail to understand the broader importance of the announcement.

3.live up to 达到高标准;不辜负

Live up to your best life!

I just hope I can live up to such talented company.

4.ready for 准备从事

We're ready for winter!

I think he would be ready for anything.

  • announced宣布的
  • secretiveadj. 密秘的,偷偷摸摸的
  • socialadj. 社会的,社交的 n. 社交聚会
  • emergevi. 浮现,(由某种状态)脱出,(事实)显现出来
  • motivatedadj. 有动机的;有积极性的 v. 使产生动机;激发…
  • botherv. 使恼怒,使不安,烦扰,费心 n. 烦扰,麻烦,焦急
  • immersevt. 浸,陷入
  • lurkn. 潜伏,潜行 v. 潜藏,潜伏,埋伏
  • purchasevt. 买,购买 n. 购买,购买的物品 n. 支
  • strategicadj. 战略的,重要的,基本的