Do you remember the original online rhythm game, O2Jam? O2Jam, which quickly catches falling blocks, is a name that reminds people of their school days in the 2000s. It’s been over 20 years since the game was released. Song Young-il, CEO of Metacamp, who created O2Jam, is now in his 50s with gray hair. However, he introduces himself as “still in his 30s” and has been living as a serial entrepreneur for the past 20 years. Hankyung Geeks asked him why he continued to start a business despite repeated failures and successes.
“There are 64 schools built in the virtual space of MetaCamp, and the number of ‘Corona student numbers’ that have signed up has exceeded 120,000. These days, it’s a theory class, but the student says why it’s not a non-face-to-face lecture.”
In response to the question, ‘Isn’t the metaverse keyword dead?’, Metacamp CEO Song Young-il refuted this. Established in October 2020 when Corona 19 was spreading, MetaCamp is the first company in Korea to create a university-only metabus platform. It started by establishing a ‘virtual university’ and allowing students to come and go. He argued that the role of the metaverse is firm, at least in the field of education. “Having my alter ego roaming the campus, taking classes, and hanging out with people provides another sense of immersion.” Metacamp, which has increased its business centering on junior colleges, is providing services to half of the approximately 130 junior colleges in Korea. He emphasized, “The formula of field classes for practice and ‘metabus classes’ for theory is getting stronger.
Father of ‘O2Jam’, the first club in Cheongdam
Song Young-il, CEO of Metacamp. Provided by Metacamp
Having spent his university days in Australia, he originally started his social life in a hotel. He joined as an early member in 1994, when Novotel Ambassador was just starting its business in Korea. After attending for a while, he moved to an interior company run by an acquaintance. This experience became the foundation for entrepreneurship.
At that time, Garosu-gil and Rodeo Street were just forming in Gangnam. Stylish cafes sprung up here and there, and cash piled up. From that time on, CEO Song, who liked music, suggested it to the company. “It’s cheaper if we do the interior ourselves, so we created the first EDM club in Cheongdam-dong. There will be no one in my generation who doesn’t know about ‘Gijix’.” The club was successful, but the price of construction materials received in advance at the time of construction skyrocketed due to the IMF that broke out just in time. Even though it was open, I felt sick when I sold the club. Afterwards, he learned the art of creating websites and spent his days making official websites for singers such as Jack Kies and Fin.K.L. He got closer to music, and what he conceived was ‘O2Jam’ in 2002.
Rhythm games, where you can sing while matching falling blocks, enjoyed the greatest popularity in the early days. It was a hit not only in Korea but also in China, and the number of users increased to 50 million. CEO Song said, “Everyone had hopes and wishes when they were doing business, but I didn’t know it would turn out so well.” After the sudden success came, another failure came. “Since I was young, I wasn’t familiar with things like rights. The game went well, so there was a stake dispute with the investors, and as a result, I was kicked out.” Shocked by the conflict with the investment company, he chose to go to Thailand. Coincidentally, the shooting game ‘Fortress’ is about to enter Thailand, so I left as vice president of the Thailand branch of N-Plex, which publishes it. He also held the position of Marketing Director at Cyworld Taiwan.
The rhythm game ‘O2Jam’ was released in 2002.
‘Starting again’ while starving… Leap into VR content
Time has passed, but I still get excited when I hear the success of other services. After hearing the news that the online dance game ‘Audition’ was a success in Korea, he started a game company again in 2006. I made a ‘Dance Fever’ game of the same genre at this time. Even then, there was no smooth road. SBS Contents Hub, which served as a publisher , suddenly decided to close the game business, making it difficult to service games that had already ‘burned out’. Until then , the PC version was the main focus, so there was little interest from the game industry, which was preparing for the transition to mobile games. The company went bankrupt in 2012.
He was penniless. A hole in his shoe let in rainwater, and the house ran out of food. I started a podcast with my favorite music with the feeling of doing something. He said, “I thought I would go crazy if I didn’t do anything.” Fortunately, the podcast won first place on the ‘Podbang’ platform and my mental health recovered a lot. It’s to the point where I go to ‘D-Camp’ every day to support entrepreneurs and come up with business ideas again. At the time, I also met a person who suggested the second direction of my entrepreneurial life. It was an exchange with Seo Dong-il, the founder of Oculus, a start-up that became an organization dedicated to meta virtual reality ( VR ).
CEO Song said, “At the time, I watched founder Seo every week and talked about VR for two hours.” “ VR was a dream itself for those who played games.” Domestic companies are VRThe two of them got along well because they had the same interests. Then came February 2014. “Founder Seo said, ‘CEO, don’t give up and give it a try’ and gave me a VR device as a gift. Suddenly, I was wondering what was going on, and a month later, news came out that Meta had acquired Oculus for 2.15 trillion won. I wanted to be ‘this’ again.” In 2015, he set up a company that makes VR content again.
The third company, Thirteenth Floor, was cruising in its own way. He grew in size by creating VR contents for Coca-Cola and Everland . In 2016, at CES , the world’s largest IT and consumer electronics exhibition , Samsung Electronics’ ‘ VR Cinema’ was produced instead, attracting 53,000 spectators. In collaboration with SK Telecom, he made his name public by creating content about a realistic date with singer Seolhyun. After the company settled down to some extent, this time, it cooperated with Professor Jeon Sang-hoon of Seoul National University Bundang Hospital to start a company that creates VR contents for medical education. However, after the M&A of Thirteenth FloorConflicts arose with the insiders of the company over whether or not to do so, and in the process of resolving it, management difficulties arose, and all business returned to square one. He extinguished the fire, handed over all stake to the former professor, and focused on the 30th floor, but the recovery was already late.
Cumulative 6000 lessons… “We will prove the survival of the metaverse”
Metacamp’s metaverse platform is called ‘there’. Until now, the service has been provided under the name of ‘Metaversity’, but from next month, the service will be expanded and reorganized so that general users can access it. Provided by Metacamp
It was empty-handed again, but the manpower with experience in VR content production remained intact. This is the reason Kim Jun-ho카지노사이트, professor of electrical information and control at Dongseoul University, who has joined Metacamp as a vice-president, suggested starting a business again. CEO Song said, “In April 2020, Dongseoul University created and conducted a metabus campus class accessed through VR devices, and the response was good. ” Eventually, in October 2020, he founded Metacamp, and in February of the following year, he carried out the ‘Metaversity’ project (a compound word of metaverse and university) with the Korean Society for Vocational Higher Education and Amazon Web Services ( AWS ), an association of colleges. has settled It coincided with the vocational colleges who were looking for a way to teach during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently, there are 64 colleges and universities that have opened classes on the Metacamp platform, and the number of open classes is 6054. Cumulative class hours exceeded 40,000 hours. Most of the theory classes, such as ‘Electrical CAD Theory’, ‘Dentistry Theory’, ‘Haircut Theory’ and ‘Automotive Engineering’, are conducted on the Metacamp platform. The platform of Metacamp is called ‘Dare’, and it is characterized by the fact that the buildings of each college are implemented in a virtual space. Students can walk around the campus with virtual avatars and participate in classes as if they are playing games.
Students accessed the Metacamp platform. Provided by Metacamp
CEO Song’s next goal is overseas expansion. He said, “We started collaborating with Witt University in the United States last February,” and “starting the partnership in the form of allowing college students to take English classes at Witt University from next month.” Next year, Witt University’s metaverse campus will be built in earnest, and it plans to target 1,500 American colleges. The target sales for this year is 3 billion won. CEO Song said, “The development of artificial intelligence ( AI ) technology has made 3-dimensional (3D) modeling work easier, and the metaverse platform is facing another opportunity to take off.” will play an important role in and survive.” Metacamp was recently selected for the ‘ TIPS ‘, a technology start-up support program by the Ministry of SMEs and Startups.
Regarding the reason for the serial entrepreneurship, he said that he still wanted to prove the item he thought was right to the world. “Why hasn’t he thought about living on a paycheck? Even so, I still feel like I’m in my 30s.” His start-up material has always been opposed by those around him, but he said that in the end, there were many cases where he achieved the desired result. CEO Song said, “I have no desire to change the world’s education with a grandiose mind,” but said, “I want to directly prove the prospect that the metaverse will burn again.”