Welcome back to Spatial Beats. This week, we look at the NFL’s VR debut, Coachella’s AR play, and Snap doubles down on ARt. Let’s dive into all the action…

NFL Pro Era VR Let’s You QB Your Favorite Team This Fall. The new fully licensed NFL VR football simulation game for the Oculus Quest lets players experience what it’s like to be the QB of their favorite NFL team. Leveraging NFL game data, users step under center and see if they make the big plays before being sacked.

Coachella Augments Its Festival With AR Content. The pioneering music festival in the California desert worked with Unreal Engine to integrate AR content into the livestream of festival performances, like Flume. Unreal Engine worked with Flume’s artistic team and other technical collaborators to create massive psychedelic 3D images that blended in seamlessly with his stage design and set, floating around the artist and into the Indio sky.

Snapchat and LACMA Return With Monumental Perspectives AR. LACMA is one of the museums that have received grants from The Monuments Project’s $250 million fund. The initiative with Snapchat brings together LA-based artists who are inspired by moments and pieces of the city’s history. The three installations include Judy Baca’s ongoing The Great Wall of Los Angeles mural, Sandra de la Loza’s ecological work on the LA River and Willowbrook and Kang Seung Lee’s work commemorating activists who rebuilt LA following the 1991 uprisings.

Walkabout Mini Golf is evolving into a mini-golf metaverse. Today’s update transforms Walkabout from a mini-golf game to a mini metaverse. The new free update is called “Welcome Island.” Players are invited to enjoy a driving range mini-game, an expansive putting practice area with the ability to pick up and even throw their ball, a raft ride, and pool lounge.

Meta is working on a web version of its Horizon Worlds. Last week Meta CTO Andrew “Boz” Bosworth tweeted that the company will expand its social VR platform to other devices, including PCs, game consoles and mobile phones. These same moves quadrupled the usage of Rec Room during the pandemic. The company said there were no timing details to share at this time.

Gravity Sketch draws $33M for VR design and collaboration platform, which is used to produce 3D content. The London-based startup announced this week that it had closed $33 million of Series A financing. This follows their $7 M seed round in 2020. The free Gravity Sketch VR design tool just passed 100,000 users, which represents both indie designers and product design teams at big companies like Adidas, Reebok, Volkswagen and Ford. In my testing of the Meta Quest app, I found it a bit like being inside a CAD drawing, and designing from the inside out. This round of financing is being led by Accel, with GV (formerly known as Google Ventures) and existing investors Kindred Capital, Point Nine and Forward Partners participating with a number of high-profile individuals, including Tony Fadell, founder of Nest.

The Corporate Hitchhikers Guide to the Metaverse report was released by the Boston Consulting Group this week. Their research says the Metaverse market will grow to $250-$400 billion dollars by 2025. This growth will be fueled by a convergence of advancements and innovation around m-worlds, VR/AR/MR offerings, and Web3 technologies.

Mystic Moose partners with One Tree Planted to offset NFT energy costs for Planet Mojo game. Planet Mojo is a web 3 gaming metaverse being built by veterans of LucasArts, Electronic Arts, Activision, Industrial Light & Magic, and more. One of the ways the game wants to differentiate itself is by using eco-friendly NFTs. Players pit their customized teams against each other in esports player vs. player (PVP) and “play and earn” games set on a mysterious planet.

Quick Hits

Rony Abovitz Takes On NFT Tulipomania (Rony Abovitz/Medium)

Snap’s AR Vision (Harry McCrackken/Fast Company)

What Does The Metaverse Mean to the Defense Industry? (Andrew Everdson/Breaking Defense)

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.

Header Image Source: Adrian Curiel on Unsplash

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