Welcome back to Spatial Beats. This week, we look at ads in VR, new funding rounds and Varjo’s Reality Cloud. Let’s dive in…
Many words were written about Facebook testing ads inside of Resolution’s VR game Blastron this week. Interstitial ads and pre-rolls in immersive media clearly go too far, too soon. Needless to say, howls of displeasure rained down on Facebook. Here are a few of our favorites:
–– Facebook’s VR advertising plans feel inevitable, but it’s starting off rocky (Scott, Stein, CNET)
–– Facebook’s entry into VR advertising isn’t going too well (Lucas Matney, Techcrunch)
–– The one developer who publicly agreed to try Facebook’s VR ads is already backing away (Jay Peters, The Verge)
–– Blaston Review Bombed After Facebook Ad Announcement (Ian Hamilton, Upload)
As Skarred Ghost points out, there will eventually be ads of some kind in VR. This feels really soon, but the transition from free to fee will anger and alienate some users. Second, when you lose someone’s trust, it’s really hard to get it back. Facebook is cringefully trying to be transparent, and people are just not feeling it (but please keep trying). Finally, there is a right way to do this. Fortnite sets a good example. The entertainment brands it promotes are part of the game. The “ads” are native to the platform. It’s authentic. Additive, and not disruptive. It’s marketing that makes the game experience better.
Ultraleap Scores 50M from Tencent. Ultraleap makes hand tracking haptic (touch) technology. They work with Qualcomm, Varjo, and others to create high end enterprise applications for XR. Chinese technology giant Tencent is the world’s largest video game developer.
Psychedelic VR meditation startup TRIPP raises $11 million Series A. Users take guided and unguided “trips.” The app costs $4.99/month on Quest. The CEO called it a low-cost low-risk way of experiencing psychedelics.
Engage (VRE.L) Raises $10 M, Announces Oasis, Metaverse For Business. The popular cross-platform XR application for online learning and training is going to use the cash to pivot into connected, public and private, social worlds. CEO David Whelan says he wants the company to be “the Linkedin of VR.”
VR Developer Moth+Flame announced a 2.5M seed funding round, led by Bee Partners. The company creates VR training programs for both hard skills (navigation) and soft skills (suicide and sexual assault prevention) for the US Air Force and private industry.
Varjo Reality Cloud lets you virtually experience a real place via ‘teleportation.’ CEO Urho Konttori live-streamed a dramatic speech Wednesday, which began: “Imagine no more Holographic visuals that you get with AR glasses. No more narrow field of view. Instead, photo-realistic, ultra-low latency pass through mixed reality where virtual objects finally look real. So real that you need to touch them to understand they aren’t real… all while you are capturing and sharing the entire physical reality around us in real time.”
Most Expensive Virtual Plot of Land Ever Sells for $900,000 on Decentraland. The price within Decentraland was 1.3 million MANA, which is the platform’s native cryptocurrency. The buyers say they are committed to building the metaverse in Decentraland.
Computer Vision solution TechSee is launching its brand new self-service AI product EVE Cortex next week. EVE allows customers and repair technicians alike to repair their devices and utilities by simply pointing their smartphone camera at the problem and the product’s augmented reality and artificial intelligence will automatically detect how to fix it. The AI can detect right away what the product is, which model, which part is broken, etc.
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.