Welcome back to Spatial Beats. Activision’s Call of Duty’s Modern Warfare II grossed $800 million in its opening weekend. The blockbuster opening outgrossed all of the biggest worldwide movie openings of 2022, surpassing Top Gun: Maverick, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness combined. The $800 million is 50 percent of the gross sales that the Meta Quest store generated in two years.
Once or twice per year I see something that makes me go wow. If you’ve got an iPhone or IPad 12 with a Lidar camera, prepare to have your mind blown by the free Reality Construction Kit app. It will let you throw balls or darts, indoors or outdoors. The virtual ball bounces off real surfaces, including sofas, stairs, and chairs with perfectly realistic physics.
Leia announces $125M debt financing from Aon. The company makes Lightfield display hardware and software that literally jumps off the screen. They had previously provided the 3D screen technology behind the Hydrogen Phone, and Continental’s new holographic instruments in luxury cars. Its core technology originated from years of R&D at HP Labs The company’s LeiaLoft empowers developers to easily create Lightfield content for commercial and consumer use.
Google acquires Twitter-backed AI avatar startup formerly named Facemoji for $100 million. Alter, originally Facemoji, the Czech artificial intelligence (AI) avatar generator, was quietly acquired by the tech giant two months ago. The tech was integrated into messaging apps to animate personalized avatars. According to TechCrunch, company executives are just now acknowledging the transaction.
The Future of the Microsoft HoloLens is in doubt after the Army gave its IVAS system low marks for performance in the field. Not good for the recently re-organized HoloLens team. The Wall Street Journal reports the HoloLens 3 project has been discontinued, and potential Microsoft HoloLens manufacturing partner Samsung has bowed out of a potential deal. In the past year over 100 Microsoft engineers have defected to Meta telling a tale of missed opportunity and underinvestment in XR to the Journal.
Qualcomm Record Q3 Revenues of $11.4 billion Undermined by Weak Guidance. The company expects a dramatic contraction in smartphone sales next year which sent the stock of the company that builds the chipsets for every XR device down 7% in after-hours trading yesterday. Despite the iffy outlook, the company says multiple Snapdragon XR2+ devices will be announced by year’s end.
PSVR 2 to Launch February 22nd for $550. The company also announced new info on games available at launch. Of course, you need the $500 PS5 game console to run it. The 2000 x 2040 resolution per eye will give users a great view of the PS5’s graphics superpowers, and new haptic controllers are built to increase immersion. Analysts say the new competition will hurt Meta.
China aims to ship 25 million virtual reality devices by 2026 The five ministries in Beijing, led by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, say VR is a key industry for the digital economy under the country’s 14th five-year plan. They expect the shipment of more than 25 million XR devices by 2026. They have made similar efforts in the past that have not panned out. Remember the virtual reality theme park, and virtual reality city?
Meta Bans Under-12 accounts from Rec Room. The problem is, as opposed to other social VR sites, Rec Room is made for them. It is overrun with kids because it’s supposed to be. As opposed to, say, Meta Horizons, which is also overrun with children. An unsupervised mix of kids and adults must be avoided for all sorts of obvious reasons. No parent thinks it’s ok for their kids to be speaking to strange adults.
Metaverse Studio Journey acquires Squint/Opera. The acquisition-minded new company responsible for the launch of Walmart Land, Universe of Play, and the production of Electric Fest inside Roblox, announced the acquisition of the Squint/Opera, responsible for the well-known Saudi City Concept, The Line. Founded just six months ago by Andy Zimmerman (Frog Design) and former HTC and Magic Leap executive Kathy Hackl, Journey already boasts marquee clients like Walmart, JetBlue, and Procter & Gamble.
November is National XR Month. The XR Association (XRA) will host the first annual “National XR Month” in November to drive awareness of immersive technologies to “advance accessibility, workforce training, national security and entertainment.” The US House resolution was offered by The Congressional Caucus on Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality Technologies (Reality Caucus). The XRA will host events around the country for the next two weeks.
Miami to welcome the XR Leaders at Immerse Global Summit this December. Meta, AT&T, Magic Leap, Amazon, Lenovo, Unity, Sony to keynote at Immerse Global Summit in Miami Beach, FL on December 5-7, 2022. The program also includes speakers from companies like Boeing and General Motors.
This Entrepreneur Raised $74 Million To Outfit You For The New Virtual World (Alejandro Cremades)
The Big Tech boom is over and Wall Street knows it (Peter Kafka/Vox)
This Week in Schadenfreude
Bulls on Meta Stock Have One Big Problem: Mark Zuckerberg (Bloomberg/Hindustan Times)
Meta bad, metaverse bad (Tony Vitillo/Skarred Ghost Blog)
Facebook’s Monopoly Is Imploding Before Our Eyes (Edward Ongweso Jr./Vice)
As Meta’s Woes Worsen, Will Mark Zuckerberg Take A Cue From Snap’s Evan Spiegel? (Mike Woosley/The Drum)
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.