Welcome back to Spatial Beats. Meta laid off over 13% of its workforce, following a sad precedent set by Snap and Elon Musk’s Twitter, which laid off half its staff. In a video surreptitiously captured by a Meta employee, the founder and CEO took “full responsibility” for growing too fast during the pandemic. The beatings in the press continued, supplying our “This Week in Schadenfreude” section at the bottom of this column with an abundance of critical stories.
3D Animation Tool Anything World raises $7.5M. The London-based company simultaneously announced the introduction of a significant upgrade to its AI-enabled animation system, which algorithmically assigns animations and behaviors to 3D models. Users can use their own custom designs or choose from thousands of 3D models the company offers. This Series Seed Plus funding round included investments from Alumni Ventures, Acrew Capital, Warner Music Group, NGC Ventures, Supernode Ventures, GameTech Ventures, and GFR Fund. The company had previously raised $1.8 M, bringing its total to $9.3M.
Engage launched its business metaverse evolution, ENGAGE Link, a business-focused version of the six-year-old conference and education platform, designed for corporations, professionals, education organizations, and event organizers. Engage is cross-platform, supporting VR, PC, iOs, and Android devices. Companies and individual users are able to create their own virtual worlds, such as offices and apartments. ENGAGE Link is divided into locations called Plazas. Fourteen launch partners have set up or are in the process of building on the platform, including Lenovo, KPMG US, KIA, Adtalem, MTN Group, and over a dozen Metaversities, including Stanford. Blogger Tony “Skarred Ghost” Vitillo took a closer look.
Putative Metaverse Roblox beat estimates and continued to grow, but its stock took a beating anyway. Roblox bookings were up by 10% year-over-year to $701.7 million, above the $686 million analysts expected, and daily average users grew 24%. Nonetheless, the company reported a loss of $297.8 M, exceeding analysts’ projections, and sending the battered stock down another 20% in after-hours trading Wednesday night.
I got to ride in the back seat with a USAF fight combat instructor, mock dogfighting with AR adversaries at 5,000 feet over Camarillo, CA. Thank you Red 6 for a once-in-a-lifetime stomach-emptying experience with the future of flight training.
Dentsu Collaborates with Microsoft to Build Path to the Metaverse. Dentsu is one of the world’s largest International agencies and Microsoft is, well, Microsoft. The new Dentsu and Microsoft spaces are located on the Dentsu campus, in “Moon Valley,” a digital twin of the moon created by HeadOffice.Space on Unreal Engine 5. The cross-platform 3D worlds are browser-based, so they can be accessed on any device. The spaces will be used for orientation, networking, and training with new Microsoft 365 products. Additional spaces on the Dentsu campus include the ShopNXT Showroom, Merkle Virtual Retail Lab, and Intelligence Center.
The Day of the Dead in Mexico City will be coupled with a concurrent virtual parade in Spatial’s metaverse. It will be promoted live on screens on the streets of Mexico City and will remain open for the entire month of November for the public to come and enjoy the immersive experience from anywhere in the world, view Mexican artwork including Frida Khalo, try on Catrinas and wearables or to purchase NFTs within the platform.
Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee wants us to ‘ignore’ Web3 (Ryan Browne/CNBC)
Analyzing the potential of metaverse land and real estate (Tom Fiske/Immersive Wire)
SyncReality turns your room into a cross-realities playground (Tony Vitillo/Skarred Ghost Blog)
Magic Leap 2 So Far (Rony Abovitz/Medium)
This Week in Schadenfreude
Billionaire Barry Diller said there is something ‘quite odd’ in Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to turn Facebook into Meta (Grace Kay/Business Insider on Yahoo News)
The Reason for Meta’s Massive Layoffs? Ghosts in the Machine (Chris Stokel-Walker/Wired)
Facebook parent company Meta is now the worst performer in the S&P 500 this year (Jonathan Vanian/CNBC)
Meta Platforms Stock: This Is Getting Ridiculous (Seeking Alpha)
Meta’s Foundation is Crumbling (Ina Fried, Sara Fischer/Axios)
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.