This Week In XR: Why Meta Won’t Shut Up, NFT.NYC Parties Like It’s 2021, Tim Cook High On AR
There were 15 different NFT-themed billboards in Times Square before an exuberant NFT.NYC came to a close with nary a mention of crypto winter from the 5,500 true believers and influencers who managed to get into the exclusive gathering. 3,000 people on the wait list did not. There were dinners at some of NYC’s nicest restaurants, and late-night parties featuring NFT promoting celebrities.
Tim Cook is getting a lot less coy about Apple’s AR headset. Apple’s CEO told China Daily to “stay tuned and you will see what we have to offer” when asked about the company’s upcoming HMD. Cook says he “couldn’t be more excited” about AR, despite it being “in the very early innings” of its evolution.
Meta Wallet Launches. In a blog post on Facebook, Meta’s commander-in-chief announced the company is setting up a new system for shopping that “lets you securely manage your identity, what you own, and how you pay…. In the future there will be all sorts of digital items you might want to create or buy — digital clothing, art, videos, music, experiences, virtual events, and more. Proof of ownership will be important, especially if you want to take some of these items with you across different services.”
Meta is launching a digital clothing store where you can purchase outfits for your avatar. As if on cue, Meta announced the sale of designer clothing for avatars, something that players in Fortnite have been buying for years. Now, from $2.99 to $8.99 your avatar can be dressed in virtual threads you could never afford in the real world.
Mark Zuckerberg unveils ultra-realistic VR display prototypes. Meta held a presser this week to show off new headset technology the company is working on, most of which is years away. So many years, people have been wondering what motivated the show-and-tell. Zuck, as always, sounded enthusiastic but rehearsed as he revealed the company’s progress on the company’s new technology. If they did it for investors, it didn’t work. Meta is down ten points since they did this on Tuesday.
Meta Publishes New Videos Which Highlight the Possibilities of its Metaverse Vision The company must think last month’s thirty minute by Nick Clegg was not enough explaining. Or maybe the Meta movie is too long? They’ve created more videos that explain The Metaverse.
China’s Tencent Forms XR Unit to Build Its Own Metaverse. The Chinese game giant told employees Tencent Games Global’s Chief Technology Officer Li Shen will head a new XR hardware and software team. Supposedly, Tencent founder and chief executive Pony Ma views the XR unit as a passion project. The company is aiming to hire over 300 staff members to fill various XR roles. They are Epic Games’ largest shareholder, owning around 40% of the company.
Metaphysiks Raises $2M seed round to develop Full Body Haptics. The company’s core technology, MetaTouch, is based on a decade of research by co-founder, neuroscientist Prof. Olaf Blanke, MD. MetaTouch connects the nervous system via the surface of the skin using neuroscience-based thermo-variant & haptic-tactile products, with the end goal of inducing or enriching conscious experiences integrated with digital environments. The round was led by TNF Capital, joined by Logitech, Tej Tadi (founder of Mindmaze), and All Here SA.
Meta, Microsoft, Nvidia, Unity and others form Metaverse Standards Forum. The Metaverse Standards Forum has been formed to foster the development of open standards to build the open metaverse. Founding members include 37+ standard organizations and top tech companies, including Meta, Microsoft, Epic Games, Adobe, Nvidia, Sony, and Unity. All interested companies are invited to join at no cost.
Watch The President Of Ukraine Deliver A Speech In AR. Volumetric video brings former comedic actor and current Ukrainian President to life on your coffee table with webXR – no app required. All you need is a smartphone with a camera and a browser.
KPMG launches a Metaverse Collaboration Hub in Engage Link. The firm is making a $30 million investment this year in Web3 experiences, of which the Metaverse Collaboration Hub is the signature piece. Upon questioning they acknowledged Engage and the Hub they built there is neither open nor does it use Web3. Nonetheless, KPMG believes their Metaverse Collaboration Hub will be the basis for the education and development of web3 protocols.
Lowe’s Opens 3D Product Library To Help Builders.The Home improvement retailer is stepping into the Metaverse by opening its 3D Product Library to help virtual and augmented reality developers – for free. Through Lowe’s Open Builder, a new asset hub, more than 500 3D products, including lighting, patio furniture, area rugs, kitchen and bath accessories, will be available for free.
Oculus VR games are up to 40 percent off through June 26th. Meta has kicked off a Summer Sale on Quest VR games, and there are over 60 titles on sale. It might be a good time to stock up on games for a Quest 2 headset, especially if you’ve been holding out on some popular ones like Resident Evil 4, Vader Immortal, or Superhot VR.
This Week in XR is also a podcast hosted by the author of this column and Ted Schilowitz, Futurist at Paramount Global. This week our guests are Andrew Zimmerman, CEO of Journey, a new design agency, and Cathy Hackl, their Chief Metaverse Officer. Last week we also posted a special thirty minute interview with novelist Neal Stephenson and his co-founder of Lamina 1, Peter Vessenes, who have partnered to create a decentralized metaverse that will bring Stephenson’s fictional metaverse to life. You can find the podcast on podcasting platforms Spotify, iTunes, and YouTube.
What We’re Reading
Leveling up: why Netflix and TikTok are turning to gaming to secure their future (James Birt, Darren Paul Fisher/The Conversation)