Welcome back to Spatial Beats, featuring all the top news & events from the XR world over the pats week. Let’s dive in…
Modulate AI Raises $30M To Bring Order To The Chaos Of Video Games. The Cambridge, MA AI company hopes to solve the problem of toxicity in online communities (Gaming, VR, Metaverse) with its ToxMod, a proactive voice moderation tool. ToxMod uses machine learning models to differentiate not just what each player is saying but how they are saying it – including their emotions, volume, prosody, and more. The Series A funding round was led by Lakestar with participation from existing investors Everblue Management, and Hyperplane Ventures.
Meta introduced its Horizon social VR world in France and Spain with a selfie taken by CEO Mark Zuckerberg inside Horizon with a cute little Eiffel Tower in the background, predictably igniting a massive Twitter roast that trended for several days, with detractors pointing out that Horizon has the graphic horsepower of the twenty-year-old Playstation 2. My Forbes colleague Paul Tassi asked Does Mark Zuckerberg Not Understand How Bad His Metaverse Looks? Wes Fenlon in PC Gamer wrote Mark Zuckerberg spent $10B on the metaverse and all he got was this stupid selfie. Sean Whiting, head of influencer partnerships at Rec Room (itself not a graphics powerhouse) shared the below comparison on Twitter. (Update: Mark Zuckerberg’s response and updates can be seen here).
Rec Room vs Horizon Worlds pic.twitter.com/mTY7XMBrcI
— Shawn Whiting (@ShawnRecRoom) August 18, 2022
USC Film School Adds Immersive Storytelling Lab. David Ganek funded the new lab, called the Ganek Immersive Studio. Ganek is the producer behind the VR production company, CityLights, which made the King Tut VR experience that uses Positron motion chairs. The lab will be led by USC School of Cinematic Arts professor Candace Reckinger.
AR Studio Trigger Global Tapped by Universal to put Jurassic World’s DinoTracker in your hands. Universal’s new free Jurassic World DinoTracker AR is built using Niantic’s Lightship AR SDK (software development kit), which allows the dinosaurs to blend seamlessly into the environment, occluded by objects like trees. The app focuses on putting a dozen dinos in your yard or living room. A Pokemon-like dino game is natural, and hopefully something like it will grow out of this promotion.
The TRAGIC Fall of Neos VR: The First Metaverse. This video tells the little-known story of the up-and-coming Neos Virtual World, which was crippled by a crypto scheme that created a rift between the founders.
Mark Cuban: Buying real estate in the metaverse is ‘dumbest’ idea ever (Cheyenne DeVon/CNBC)
‘Metaverse’ is in, ‘mixed reality’ out: Reading the tech tea leaves in Microsoft’s new words (Todd Bishop/Geekwire)
Learn how to write an article about the metaverse in 9 minutes (Tony Vitillo/Skarred Ghost Blog)
Apple asked for a cut of Facebook’s ad sales years before it stifled Facebook’s ad sales (Jay Peters/The Verge)
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.