Welcome back to Spatial Beats. This week, High Fidelity Invests in Second Life metaverse. Founder Philip Rosedale returns to the metaverse he launched in 2002 as an investor and advisor. Second Life is a 3D virtual world users navigate using the 2D screen of their PC. It was a phenomenon in the 2000s, attracting millions of users, businesses, and governments. Obama had a campaign office there. Indeed, it was one of the first social networks. The mobile revolution, the growth of social media and competition from products like Roblox, Minecraft, and Fortnite, slowed its growth. The return of Rosedale could give the original metaverse a second life.
In what sounds more like a business combination than an investment, High Fidelity will move several employees over to Second Life parent Linden Lab. Rosedale has a close relationship with Linden’s acting CEO and Executive Chairman Brad Oberwager, whose investment fund bought out the original venture capital investors last year. The company reports the 19-year old metaverse has experienced substantial growth during the pandemic. Importantly, Second Life also has a remarkable creator economy, with an annual GDP of $650 million USD, with 345 million transactions of virtual goods, real estate, and services.
Amaze Raises Another $15M To Create Virtual Concerts. Using ultra high definition video, volumetric capture, 3D art, and animation, the company brings the excitement of a live show to VR. Users join as avatars, and experience VR concerts together with friends in the same simulation. AmazeVR has raised a total of $30.8 million since its inception in 2015. Partners Investment and Murex Partners co-led the new funding.
Kura Gallium AR Smartglasses Wins Both 2022 CES Innovation Award and Best of CES. The prototype features an astounding full-frame field of view of 150 degrees. Its 8K resolution per eye is delivered by a device weighing only 80 grams. 95% transparency guarantees images can be projected on the real world under any lighting conditions.
Magic Leap’s new AR headset is rolling out to healthcare companies. The company named four healthcare partners that are getting access to the device: clinical data visualization company SentiAR, neurotechnology company SyncThink, diagnostics company Heru, and surgical software tool Brainlab. The Magic Leap 2 is slated for a more general release in mid-2022 at $2,295. I have personally tried the Magic Leap 2 AR HMD and can vouch for its awesomeness. Unlike its predecessor device, the Magic Leap One, it has not been overhyped.
The Sad Cow Metaverse. If things go terribly wrong, the coming AI overlords might do this to people.
What Comes After The Smartphone, with Qualcomm CEO Christiano Amon (Nilay Patel/The Verge)
Meta’s Sharma plans to transform Horizon into a cohesive metaverse (Alexander Lee/Digiday)
About that Meta metaverse (Eileen Brown/ZDnet)
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.