Welcome back to Spatial Beats. My hot take on the Quest 3 is that I’m impressed by the passthrough and other upgrades like room scanning. The interface is much better, too. The first thing you see when you boot it up is the physical room you are in, enabled by the color pass-through cameras. Your spawn point is anywhere in the physical world, wherever you are. The digital display sits on top of reality just like it sat on top of the cartoon surroundings that were the spawn point for Quest 2. The color passthrough cameras are so good I could read email on my iPhone wearing the headset. This feels much more natural.
This YouTube video was created to illustrate the improved graphics in the Quest 3 but it’s misleading. While it’s true that in the headset the graphics are marginally better, the environment looks more fake, so pick your poison. Now the bad news. While it’s sleeker than the Quest 2, the new Quest 3 is heavier and hotter. I miss the open sides of Quest Pro, which dissipated heat. As a result, the Quest 3 may not be so great for fitness apps. XR needs its “Game of Thrones.” Maybe passthrough MR will finally make it possible.
Mojo Vision Gets Its Mojo Back After Contact Lens Fail with $43M Series A. Mojo Vision, which dropped its ambitious contact lens project and pivoted to microdisplays, announced a new expansion of its $22.4 M Series A, doubling the previous tranche, and making the total haul $43.5 M. The round was led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Khosla Ventures. The company’s displays are remarkably more dense (14K PPI) than the micro-OLEDs in Apple’s Vision Pro (3,400 PPI).
Universal Music Sue Anthropic. The complaint claims Claude 2 can be prompted to distribute almost identical lyrics to songs like Katy Perry’s “Roar,” Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive,” and the Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” Our guest on the “This Week in XR” podcast next week is the legendary music producer and executive Albhy Galuten, who will be talking with us about this very topic.
Qualcomm Lays off over 1,258 people in Santa Clara and San Diego. The company has 51,000 employees in the Golden State. “Given the continued uncertainty in the macroeconomic and demand environment, we expect to take additional restructuring actions to enable continued investments in key growth and diversification opportunities,” said the company in a statement. Word is most of those axed were in sales, marcom, accounting and HR.
Marc Andreesen’s New Techno Optimist Manifesto. It’s rather pompous to write a manifesto, declaring one’s beliefs, but the tech world leans into the billionaire’s missives. It’s hard not to, given what he’s achieved, starting with the invention of the browser in 1992. Andreesen then founded Netscape and went on to become one of the most successful tech VCs in history. “We believe the techno-capital machine of markets and innovation never ends, but instead spirals continuously upward,” he writes. “Technology is the glory of human ambition and achievement, the spearhead of progress, and the realization of our potential.” Love that, but not quite sure how I feel when Andreesen says things like “Our enemy is corruption, regulatory capture, monopolies, cartels.” But it’s interesting. If you’re reading this, you should be reading that.
Even Roblox has had it with remote work. In a letter to employees, CEO David Baszucki told the company it’s time to give up that sweet Airbnb in Portugal and come home to San Mateo. Ironically, this is a company that may be the closest thing to the Metaverse we’ve got. They recently introduced their own spin on video chat. Being virtual, it turns out, is great when we have to be apart, but not so great when we should be together.
Mythic Realms Turns Your Home Into A Mixed Reality Fantasy RPG On Quest App Lab. Speaking of games that leverage MR, Mystic Realms from Penticore Games arrives today on the Meta Quest platform via App Lab. The complete game is expected in 2024.
Wonderland and Robot Invader have partnered on a novel way to get players excited about playing a virtual reality game. The companies converted the first few levels of the upcoming Meta Quest VR title Dead Secret Circle so three levels can be played using the browser in the headset. It’s free now at wonderlandengine.com.
The 10th Augmented Enterprise Summit Opens in Houston, October 24-26. The Augmented Enterprise Summit is focused on the business and industrial applications of AR/VR/MR (XR) and other metaverse-related emerging technologies. Augmented Enterprise is the best opportunity to see how the world’s largest companies are driving meaningful digital transformation with XR and discover solutions ready to be deployed in today’s work environments.
The Metaverse Died Because Silicon Valley Is No Fun (Fast Company)
Elon Musk’s Neuralink wants to merge humans with AI. How many brains will be damaged along the way? (Sigal Samuel/Vox)
This Week in XR is also a podcast hosted by Paramount’s Futurist Ted Schilowitz, Magic Leap founder Rony Abovitz, 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.