Welcome back to Spatial Beats. This week, we look at tech stocks, Quest 2’s continued rise, Google’s VR sunsetting, and horsing around with Snapchat See the full roundup below.
Tech Stocks Had A Great Q4. The market has responded today by falling 600 points. The NASDAQ is down 2.4%, taking back nearly half the month’s gain, as trading continues. Clever day traders, now is your chance.
Zuckerberg says Quest 2 will be the first mainstream VR headset. In a Q4 2020 earnings call, Zuck notes the launch of Quest 2 drove a 156% increase in the company’s non-advertising revenue. Zuckerberg also stated that the Quest 2 successor is in development already and that smartglasses and AR glasses will come in the near future. The CEO said they have but one competitor, Apple, which hasn’t yet announced any XR, AR or VR, products.
Tilt Brush becomes open source. Google’s solution to Tilt Brush’s problems is to give away the source code on GitHub and torch its free 3D asset store Poly, the only asset store compatible with Tilt Brush’s animated brushes. What is up with Google and XR? Seems like they’re zeroing in on Maps as the sweet spot for XR and tossing everything else, like their Daydream headset, their investment in Magic Leap, Poly, and finally Tilt Brush, overboard. In the long run it could be a good thing. Perhaps a developer will release a more sophisticated, multi-user version, which would definitely get me to buy it again. Of course, for long term success, there has to be a source of recurring revenue, which leads us to this next story.
Shutterstock buys TurboSquid for $75M, to create another marketplace for 3D assets. The acquisition will make Shutterstock the world’s largest 3D marketplace by revenue, according to Shutterstock CEO Stan Pavlovsky. Their biggest 2D competitor, Getty Images, doesn’t have 3D assets. Yet. There is this thing called Poly. I’m not saying it has to be free, but someone could get a lot of 3D developers as a result of providing this service.
‘Gravity Sketch’ is now free to individual users. The product is a 3D modeling software for PC VR and Oculus Quest headsets. The price used to be $25, but now it is free for individual users.
Valve and OpenBCI announce partnership to use brain-computer interface tech in VR. Gabe Newell, Valve’s CEO, believes this technology will create a new road to immersive, high-fidelity experiences by having the brain read technologies built into a headset. In November, OpenBCI announced Galea which is BCI designed for VR/AR headsets. Further info of the partnership is not known at this time.
Snap acquires Ariel AI. This team is dedicated to developing ways to track the human form in AR with accuracy. The acquisition aligns with Snap’s goal to improve the seamless capability to human and object mapping.
Sundance Film Festival brings VR Storytelling and Movie Premieres to your home. The Sundance film festival kicked off on January 28th and is allowing users for the first time ever to enjoy the fest online. You can join virtual environments for festival mingling or join Q&As and drop into post-premiere parties. In addition, the New Frontier program, the tech-heavy VR focused branch on cutting-edge storytelling is showcasing over a dozen XR experiences. And you don’t need a headset. Most will also allow you to participate in the experience via PC.
HaptX Ready To Ship Enterprise Data Gloves. HaptX, makers of force-feedback VR gloves, announced today they are ready to ship their advanced force-feedback gloves, dubbed the DK2 (Developer Kit 2). According to the company, the HaptX DK2 is the first true-contact haptics available to purchase on the market, utilizing 130 points of feedback on a user’s hand.
Snapchat AR takes filters to the next level. Snapchat adds a horse filter, KISS filter, and virtual being filter which maps your face or environment and augments them. The AR filters, especially those which are community built, allow Snap users to have access to AR at their fingertips. Face tracking, body tracking, and environment mapping will only improve and so will the fidelity of filters.
Former Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz launched his new company Sun and Thunder at the VentureBeat Conferences on Metaverse(s) this week. Never one to think small, Abovitz plans to create virtual AI-driven beings. The famous inventor thinks he can imbue these virtual beings with so much creative intelligence that they can then help the company make better virtual beings.
GoodTrust Raises $2.3 Million in Seed-Funding Round and launches a new digital-legacy program. The seed-round investors include Bling Capital, Azure Capital Partners, Synetro Ventures as well as private investors including Nikesh Arora. The new digital legacy platform will protect digital assets (photos, social media accounts, etc.) and memories to organize, protect, and preserve a person’s “digital afterlife.”
This Week in XR is now a podcast hosted by Paramount’s Futurist Ted Schilowitz and Charlie Fink, the author of this weekly column. You can find it on podcasting platforms Spotify, iTunes, and YouTube. Watch the latest episode below.
Charlie Fink is an author and futurist focused on spatial computing. See his books here. Spatial Beats contains insights and inputs from Fink’s collaborators including Paramount Pictures futurist Ted Shilowitz.