Welcome back to Spatial Beats. We may or may not be entering a recession, but it’s definitely arrived at high-flying social media stocks that depend on advertising. This week Snap laid off 1200 employees, 20% of its workforce. Teams working on games inside Snapchat, Zenly, the social mapping app Snap bought in 2017, and Snap’s hardware division, responsible for its AR Spectacles glasses and the Pixy camera drone, are on the chopping block. The Pixy was introduced just a few months ago. Verge editor Alex Heath, who wrote this piece on Snap, said on the “This Week in XR” podcast two weeks ago that he finds it ironic that Apple’s blocking of trackers hurt two of the companies that may compete with its upcoming XR device. Despite present troubles, Snap co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel said his camera-first company will continue to focus on AR.
Setting Course for an Open Metaverse Part 1: Updates from the First 60 Days of the Metaverse Standards Forum. Launched in June 2022 with 37 founding members such as Khronos Group, Meta, NVIDIA, Google, Epic, Lamina1, IKEA, Microsoft, Wayfair, and Unity. the Forum has grown to more than 1500 in the first 60 days. Today, work is being done to form domain working groups to kick off pragmatic projects for real action. Find out more about what the Forum has accomplished in the first 60 days and what is to come in our recent blog post linked here.
Randomly selected quotes from Zuck’s very, very long interview. My personal favorite has been oft quoted. ICYMI “You wake up in the morning. Look at my phone to get like a million messages… It’s usually not good, right? I mean like, people reserve the good stuff to tell me in person, right? But it’s like, okay, what’s going on in the world that I need to kind of pay attention to that day, so it’s almost like, every day you wake up and you’re like, punched in the stomach.” Here’s another self-serving head shaker. “I’m not here to design a service that makes people angry.” Odd, because his service is still doing it. Being a public figure doesn’t mean you should share everything with the public. When you get personal on Rogan’s podcast, what kind of response are you expecting from people? Another one filed under “tone deaf billionaires.”
Zuckerberg says Meta’s next VR headset will launch in October and will focus on ‘social presence’. Meta is launching its next VR headset this October at the company’s Connect conference. CEO Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement during his interview with Joe Rogan Experience podcast.
Meta posts a series of videos promoting XR Tech, in Kenya. “Meet Team Amani,” says the description on YouTube. The description of “Amani” reads. “They have used technology to connect and compete, but someday the metaverse will help them — and all of us — do so much more. When we connect beyond boundaries, we will all go farther.” In fact, there’s another related video, by that very name, clearly shot at the same time. The videos were quite expensive, probably north of a million dollars. Launched on 8/23, the videos have 13K and 4K views since they were launched on 8/23, which suggests they’re not promoting the videos. At least not yet. Why did they even make this?
Report: ‘Fortnite’ Update Includes Mention of Oculus, Suggesting Future Quest Support This makes loads of sense. Grand Theft Auto due is coming soon and the Meta-owned battle royale, Population One, is among the Quest’s most popular titles. Fortnite is one of the world’s most popular video games, with over 350M users.
SNL’s Kenan Thompson Is Looking For Comics In VR. Thompson is partnering with Kyle Render of the VR Failed to Render Comedy show on Altspace to find talent for the “Ultimate Comedy Experience.” Kyle and his partners have produced over 400 shows in VR, hosting over a quarter million visitors in their virtual comedy club on an almost daily basis via the social VR platform AltspaceVR.
Apple may have just dropped a big clue about the name of its AR/VR headset. The company is readying its first XR HMD for release in 2023. Bloomberg reported that a shell company filed trademark applications in multiple countries for the names “Reality One”, “Reality Pro” and “Reality Processor”. In December, a shell company connected to Apple filed trademark applications for “RealityOS” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, which may be the name for the hardware’s OS.
Venice Film Festival’s Immersive section hosts 43 new projects. A small island a short water taxi ride away from the Venice FF’s main festival headquarters is their XR exhibition from September 1st – 10th, curated by Liz Rosenthal and Michel Reilhac. Visitors can play games, or “world hop” with a tour guide, dress up in costume with background dancers, or even help Coco Chanel develop her Chanel No. 5 perfume in a spectacular new experience developed by Mathias Chelebourg called “Rencontre(s).” ELELE is the directorial debut of Dutch artist Sjoerd van Acker, and “Miracle Basket” by Abner Preis. There’s also an interactive VR game set in 1920s England inspired by the television show “Peaky Blinders” called “Peaky Blinders: The King’s Ransom.”
The Immerse Global Summit (formally the VRARA Global Summit) takes place on glam Madiera Island off Portugal from September 28 – 30, 2022. Madeira Island is known as the Hawaii of Europe, and the conference will feature leaders from the metaverse ecosystem XR, NFTs, Blockchain, 5G Networks and cover enterprise, media, and entertainment. The conference will feature a unique format with a runway stage, tech experience zones, and immersive performances and demonstrations. Speakers include Niantic, Lenovo, Qualcomm, Deutsche Telekom, Google, Sony, Vodaphone, Volvo, Gucci, Adobe, European Blockchain Association, Magic Leap, Blippar, Virbe, Departure Lounge Inc., The Glimpse Group, FOV Ventures, Nokia, Mission Impact, VNCCII, SenseGlove, Forbes, EndeavorXR, KIT-AR, VIRTUALWARE, Adidas Runtastic, Mojo Vision, Faber Courtial, Maxim (UK), SenseGlove, HTC VIVE, and others.
The Verge’s Alex Heath and Recode’s Shirin Ghaffary strap on headsets and enter Horizon in the finale episode of the latest season of Land of the Giants, Vox Media’s award-winning narrative podcast series about the most influential tech companies of our time. This season has been all about Facebook’s transformation into Meta, featuring interviews with senior executives, former employees, and other experts.
This Week in XR is also a podcast hosted by the author of this column and Ted Schilowitz, Head of Future Technologies at Paramount Global. We’re off this week, but interviews with our guests this summer, Rony Abovitz (founder of Magic Leap), Neal Stephenson (author, founder of Lamina1), Matthew Ball (author, investor), John Gaeta (Academy Award winner, CCO of Inworld) Alex Heath (Editor, The Verge), Marcie Jastrow (CEO, Shiba Inu Metaverse), Cathy Hackl (CCO, Journey), Justin Barad (OssoVR), Tony Parisi (Lamina1), Matt Miesnieks (CEO, LivingCities.xyz), Catherine Henry (MediaMonks) and Steve Grubbs (CEO, Victory XR), can be found on Spotify, iTunes, and YouTube.
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.