Welcome back to Spatial Beats. Click your heels together and say metaverse three times. The chasm between concept and reality here is huge, yet it’s the word on everyone’s lips.

Mark Zuckerberg said it out loud. Facebook “will effectively transition from people seeing us as primarily being a social media company to being a metaverse company.” FB’s co-founder and CEO gave a wide-ranging interview with Platformer’s Casey Newton. Those who have been sounding the alarm about the tech giant’s monopolistic designs may be right. Zuck has stated his intention to encompass all of XR (AR/VR) in a big bear hug.

Epic Games buys Sketchfab for an undisclosed sum. Sketchfab is the largest library and marketplace for 3D scans of people and objects on the Internet. They’re a small company, led by a personable founder, Alban Denoyel, who has positioned the company as a friend to all and a threat to none. Sketchfab is integrated into Epic’s popular Unreal Engine game and special effects paltform, and notably, all of its competitors, starting with Unity, Snap’s Lens Studio, Facebook’s Spark AR, and even Tilt Brush. In short, they are everywhere spatial content is made. And now, so is Epic. They just raised a billion dollars to build the metaverse. And there’s more than one way to do it.

Even the New York Times is writing about the metaverse this week. “Crypto people say they’re building it. Gamers might already be living in it. The art world is cashing in on it. Web veterans are trying to save it. But what is it?” Indeed, it is the question of the day.

Snap buys AR shopping company Vertebrae. Sum again is undisclosed. Vertebrae helps brands like Toyota, Adidas, and CB2, turn their goods into 3D assets. They’ve raised $10 million in vc funding to date.

Haptic VR Glove Company HaptX Raises $12 Million in New Funding. Their advanced haptic gloves, sensitive enough to feel drops of water, and robust enough for operating robotic hands across the world, have been in demand since the onset of the pandemic. The funds will be used to expand staff and facilities. The round was led by existing investors Verizon Ventures, Mason Avenue Investments, Taylor Frigon Capital Partners, and Upheaval Investments.

Wolf 3D Is expanding its footprint in the Metaverse. They enable users to create custom avatars that they will be able to take between video games, virtual reality experiences, and other apps using a single virtual identity. Their avatars are already being used in more than 260 games and apps. Like we said, there’s more than one way to skin the metaverse.

Full body Tesla suit looks like the one from Ready Player One. It packs a punch, too, and will also allow the user to feel full body sensations as subtle as rain drops. It looks like Wade’s upgraded rig in the Ready Player One movie.

Epic Games is going forward with its suit of nReal. Epic says the name of the Chinese company, which makes AR glasses for 5G networks, will be confused with its Unreal Engine. Are you confused? We are not confused. Even if we were, how is Unreal Engine being harmed financially? The one story not about the metaverse is stupid.

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.

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