Welcome back to Spatial Beats. Animoca Brands is the star this week, leading funding for two web3 game worlds, Seed (by Klang Games) and Libplanet. Otherwise a relatively slow week in XR following Independence Day in the US. Meta, always at the top of the XR news, has untethered its accounts from Facebook, which will be welcome news to many users.
Klang Games raises $41M to build Seed virtual world with AI beings. The company, which has raised a total of $80M, also named Electronic Arts veteran Isabelle Henriques as co-CEO. The multiplayer space colony game is a persistent simulation where players must cooperate to colonize an alien plane. Players manage multiple characters which live on after the player has logged off. Animoca Brands and Kingsway Capital led the round, with participation from Anthos, Novator, Supercell, Roosh Ventures, AngelHub, and New Life Ventures.
Planetarium Labs Raises $32 million Series A. The company is building a gaming ecosystem based on Libplanet blockchain technology, which allows players to participate in the game network and gives the community a chance to play a major role in open-source content development. Libplanet played a pivotal role in Nine Chronicles, an open-source online RPG with 300,000 players that runs on its own blockchain. The round was led by Animoca Brands and joined by Krust Universe, Wemade, and Samsung Next,
Meta to Replace Facebook Login Requirement for Quest with New Meta Account. Meta will no longer require a Facebook sign-in to use its popular headset. Instead, users will need to create a new Meta username and password starting in August. The response was tepid. “We don’t need Facebook accounts anymore to log into Quest, but we need… Meta accounts. It’s basically the same thing, just under a different name,” said XR tech blogger Tony “Skarred Ghost” Vitillo. You can still connect to FB and Insta if you want. “Friends” will become “Followers” like Instagram.
Book Review: The Metaverse, And How It Will Revolutionize Everything, By Matthew Ball. Ball has set himself a monumental task. In order to explain the Metaverse, he has to explain the history of the personal computer, the internet, mobile phones, networks, cable infrastructure, streaming, games, game consoles, and virtual and augmented reality. Because the Internet and what comes after it represents the convergence of business, history, and technology, intertwined like a golden braid, no technology, and few companies, go unmentioned. Some general business readers might consider this to be too much information, but I loved it and can’t recommend it highly enough.
Secret Location’s Walking Wonderland at Atlanta’s Iluminarium. Emmy-winning Toronto content studio Secret Location premiered its new immersive multimedia experience, Waking Wonderland, at Illuminarium last month. The Alice-themed experience uses interactive props, motion tracking and spatial audio soundscapes. The project received production funding from the Canada Media Fund, and Ontario Creates, and is an Epic MegaGrant recipient.
Toronto’s VRTO (VR Toronto) Is On July 20-21. The two-day conference features a conference track, fast-track workshops, and exhibit hall. Attendees network and learn about Virtual Production, live VR theater performance, Hyperreality TV, natural language Holodecks, and next-gen haptics defining the future of production for entertainment, television and film, arts, performance, design, and communications.
IDC Says Meta Underwrites Its Hardware At Its Peril. Analysts at IDC questioned the company’s practice of selling the Quest at a loss to attract more users, which is how the game console companies started, too. Meta will soon face more competition from TikTok’s Pico VR and Apple’s upcoming headsets, anticipated in 2023.
Epic graphics guru Tim Sweeney foretells how we can create the open Metaverse (Dean Takahashi/VentureBeat)
My doubts about the Apple headset and mainstream VR (Tony Vitillo/SkarredGhost blog)
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.