Welcome to week 10 of sort-of the new normal of kinda-quarantine. and happy memorial day. Our favorite event of the year, AWE starts on Tuesday, May 25th. Last year over 7.000 people gathered in Santa Clara for the tenth annual edition. Same stellar line up of the industry’s who’s who, both pre recorded and live streamed on Zoom. Without the travel expenses the organizers expect many more people will attend. To encourage this, AWE has lowered the price to $199. They are also kindly comping anyone who’s lost their job during the pandemic. AWE’s prestigious Auggie Awards, a juried competition that recognizes XR industry excellence in a dozen categories, will be on Thursday evening, May 28th. There are also video-based networking events, several side events in VR, world hopping, and a spate of company announcements from market leaders like Qualcomm. Tickets.
Checking out the original Microsoft Hololens at AWE 2016.
One the heels of AWE, June 1st to 3rd, is the VRARA’s Global Summit, which was originally scheduled to take place in Lisbon, Portugal. Forbes has previously called VRARA’s GS “the people’s VR conference,” because this is a meeting of their vast, international membership which numbers over 50,000, which is why it’s supported by some of the biggest companies in the world. In keeping with the democratic roots of the organization, the conference, which features many of the same speakers as AWE, is the Internet’s (rapidly vanishing) favorite price: free. This allows you to watch all presentations live and access the Expo. Visit Virtual Booths. Get all speaker recordings. Premium Access ($129 for non-members) gets you additional access to networking groups, social events like speed dating (a nifty networking tradition at the conference) and meetings with sponsors and speakers. Tickets
Together, AWE and VRARA’s GS are big tests of the efficacy of virtual conferences based primarily on video. HTC's investment in $3.3 M investment in Immersive VR Education, which makes the full embodiment ENGAGE platform, suggests they see this category breaking VR's way.
Magic Leap was riding high at Collision 2019 at Enercare Center in Toronto, Canada.
Magic Leap Raised Another $350 Million. After laying off half the company as part of its pivot to enterprise, the company has the funds to complete the retrenchment. No word on the patents being held by Chase as collateral on the company’s line of credit. This could work. There is more than enough enterprise business to go around. Microsoft needs a tenacious competitor.
Oculus celebrates one year since the launch of Oculus Quest and Rift S. In a blog post Oculus announced that people have spent over $100 Million on Quest content since its launch one year ago. More than 20 titles have made revenues of over $1 Million, and more than 10 titles have surpassed $2 Million. Oculus also announced that hand tracking is going from an experimental feature to general release.
The Nreal light will network with android smartphones to offer spatial computing glasses for $499 in the fall.
Nreal pushing to expand consumer content for its MR glasses with partnerships and developer kit deals. Nreal is partnering with Deutsche Telekom’s tech incubator to discover, accelerate, and promote MR app development. The company will also be selling a bundle that includes two Nreal Light Developer Kits along with prescription lenses for 14% discount at $2,559. Nreal also announced multiplayer mode, a tower defense game built to show off the Nreal SDK, and WebXR coming to Nreal Light later this year.
Superdata April 2020
SuperData shares April’s worldwide digital games market report. Some highlights include increased revenues during the COVID crisis and 17% increased revenues over April 2019, from $8.9 Billion to $10.5 Billion in April 2020.
Adventure Lab launches Dr. Crumb’s School for Disobedient Pets, a VR escape room with live hosts. Adventure Lab is a new VR company founded by two veterans of Pixar, Google, Facebook, and Oculus Story Studio. You can book a live session for up to four players on the Adventure Lab website.
Felix & Paul Studios wins Webby award for Best Documentary, Video: Immersive and Mixed Reality for their 360 film Traveling While Black. Traveling While Black debuted at Sundance Film Festival in January 2019 and can now be watched on any Oculus headset.
Felix and Paul's VR documentary of what it was like to travel by car in the pre-civil rights era.
Modders rush in as Half-Life: Alyx releases Steam Workshop tools. Nerd alert. Going to be pointing to more of Joshua Gad’s stuff on medium. His dad was my first boss in show biz! So I gotta show him some love :) This piece is especially apropos as they’re turning the HLA world into a platform for developing games and cinematic films. Interesting, eh? A AAA VR title turning into a Metaverse is the basis Ready Player One.
Hallife alyx workshop tools modding
Tower Tag, a successful VR arcade shooter, is launching at home on May 28. Tower Tag has been played by over 1 million players in 40 countries in VR arcades around the world. The game requires a single controller to play and will be available on Steam and Viveport with a Quest version currently in the works.
What We’re Reading:
What Can We Learn from Niantic’s AR Lead - AR Insider
“This Week in XR” is written and edited with Michael Eichenseer.