It’s not yet clear how Metaverse’s new round of layoffs will affect Metaverse’s Reality Labs division. As the AI climbs the hype cycle and the Metaverse predictably descends into a trough of disillusionment, the company is clearly rearranging its priorities. As you can see in our dedicated section on meta below, glee rains down on them. Do you think Mark has learned his lesson from the hype surrounding technologies that are still a decade away from realisation?
Electronic Medical Record.getty
Adept AI is a unicorn. Founded by former Google engineers, the startup announced that it has raised $350 million to use AI to develop enterprise applications. The funding comes less than a year after raising $65 million. The Series B round was led by General Catalyst and Spark Capital. Although their valuation has not been officially announced, the size of the investment suggests that Adept AI is already worth over $1 billion. That must be some damn good AI.
from Linden Lab and now CEO of Tilia. Linden Laboratory
Tilia raises $22 million to process payments for the digital economy. The company, owned by Linden Research, also appointed Brad Oberwager, previously Executive Chairman, as CEO and Catherine Porter as the company’s first Chief Business Officer. The funding comes from Seoul, South Korea-based fintech leader Dunamu, which joins existing investor JP Morgan Payments. In 2021, Oberwager acquired Linden Lab, the company behind the Second Life metaverse. In October, Linden announced that it had partnered with JP Morgan Payments to spin off Tilia.
Award for Best XR at SXSW this week. SXSW
SXSW XR award winner. Consensus Gentium, by writer-director Karen Palmer, won the grand prize despite not technically being an XR experience. The story takes place on your smartphone and uses face tracking. You are cast as a dissident who has avoided the government surveillance app but has to download it in order to travel and take care of her mother. There were a few moments when I thought the messages I was reading on my smartphone were my own, an experience totally unique to this new medium. A Special Jury Award went to Cameron Kostopoulos’ Body Mine, which allows a man to inhabit a woman’s body and makes a strong case for VR as an empathy machine.
Google Sunsets Glass 2.0. In what is only good news for other assisted reality device vendors, Google announced this week that it will no longer sell or update the HMD starting September 15. Glass now joins Google’s graveyard far too early in XR projects like Daydream, Tilt Brush, and Poly. Google may not be done with the glasses yet. Most recently, this infill demonstrated that the technology from the North acquisition revealed a binocular see-through waveguide that can do everything glass can do – and then some. Glass is still used by hundreds of companies to support warehousing, manufacturing and remote support.
and Tim Cook attend the Apple Original Series Season 3 premiere “Ted Lasso” on the red carpet at Westwood Village Theater on March 07, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/WireImage)WireImage
Apple’s AR/VR headset is reportedly being launched due to “huge shipping pressures.” The mixed reality headset seems like a given for a 2023 launch, but are Apple and the industry ready? There was a slew of articles this week about Tim Cook insisting on a June launch despite objections from his engineers. So many tech experts have spoken out that we’ve created a dedicated section below and given it a clever name: Bobbing for Apple. The Apple Watch took a while to catch on, but it didn’t have the inflated expectations that come with XR, and the devices aren’t nearly as expensive.
Yuga Labs’ Otherside Metaverse launches “Second Trip” on March 25th. Daniel Alegre, CEO of Yuga Labs, operator of the Bored Ape Yacht Club, which has over 300 million This second test of the massively multiplayer Metaverse will take place on March 25th in the form of a guided experience shared simultaneously with 10,000 unique users at a time. The Otherside team captains. Second Trip is open to owners of virtual land NFTs representing yet to be created land in the previously unreleased Otherside metaverse. Non-owners can also watch a live stream of the event on the company’s YouTube channel. I put it on my calendar.
Mighty Coconut’s Walkabout Mini Golf announces Meow Wolf partnership and mobile app. As SXSW kicked off last Friday, they unveiled a creative collaboration with Meow Wolf for a new course coming in Q3; the Walkabout Mini-Golf Pocket Edition, an AR mini-golf game for iOS coming this summer; and deals to bring the title to hundreds of arcades in the location-based entertainment industry.
Metavrse Mall welcomes Mars’ Juicyverse, home of Starburst candy in the Metaverse. TheMall and STARBURST® have partnered to announce the launch of their newest virtual world, Starburst Juicyverse, in collaboration with MetaVRse and BambuMeta® Web3 Loyalty. The fully immersive virtual world will premiere at SXSW 2023 in TheMall, the largest virtual mall in the world.
Mixed Reality with the new Elite XR HMD from Vive. Miro shot
This Week in XR is also a podcast hosted by this column’s author, Ted Schilowitz, Futurist, Paramount Global, and Rony Abovitz, Founder of Magic Leap. This week our guests are Karen Palmer, producer and director of Consensus Gentium, a smartphone film that won first place in XR Experiences at SXSW, Cameron Kostinopulous, whose VR experience Body of Mine won the XR Special jury won, and Roman Rappak, whose Miro Shot performed a sold-out mixed reality concert in Austin. You can find us on Spotify, iTunes and YouTube.
what we read
Psychedelics Meet Virtual Reality at South by Southwest (Tiffany Kary/Bloomberg)
This week in Schadenfreude
Mark Zuckerberg ends the tech party (/The Street)
Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse ambitions are shrinking (Kali Hays/Insider)
Mark Zuckerberg Is Suddenly Strangely Quiet About The Metaverse (Mary Harrison/Futurism)
Rockers for Apple
From iPhone 15 to AR/VR headset: Expected Apple products in 2023 (Lisa Eadicicco/CNet)
Mixed Reality Distortion Field: Is Tim Cook’s Legacy Doomed? (Macworld)
Tim Cook relies on Apple’s mixed reality headset to secure his legacy (Patrick McGee and Tim Bradshaw /Financial Times)
Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.
Charlie Fink is the author of the AR-enabled books Metaverse (2017) and Convergence (2019). In the early 90’s, Fink was EVP & COO of VR pioneer Virtual World Entertainment. He teaches at Chapman University in Orange, California.
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