Discover more from AIXR's Weekly Metaverse Business Brief
Apple's golden tickets, Anthropic raise $450 million, and Dr Who steps into Metaverse.
Also this week...PSVR 2 sales figures higher than first device, Meta close 'final' layoff wave, and an AR focused deal from the tech giant with Magic Leap might be in the offing!
Good morning Metaverse Business Brief readers. Let’s jump into the most relevant news from the immersive world in our weekly roundup.
Apple issue XR media invites to WWDC Keynote. As reported by UploadVR and RoadToVR, Apple have begun to invite XR industry media outlets to their WWDC23 Keynote on June 5th. This has been taken as an immediate signal that the much anticipated first ever Apple XR headset will be revealed at the event, a rumour reinforced by apple analysts like Ming-Chi Kuo. It remains to be seen however as to how much information will be issued by Apple at the event.
PSVR 2 launch sales figures beat original. In a presentation delivered by Sony, the company revealed that the PSVR 2’s first six week sales figures have beaten the first iterations. The original PSVR clocked around 500,000 units, while the PSVR 2 has delivered closer to 600,000. The news contradicts initial reports from March, which suggested that the headset would only sell 270,000 units in the same time frame.
Meta announce final layoffs. In what is being deemed the final major wave of layoffs, around 5000 staff have left Meta. This included more employees from the reality labs AR/VRA division, however it is thought that these employees didn’t hold technical roles. This round brings the total number of laid off staff members to around 20,000 since November, when the first of the three layout rounds took place.
Meta in talks with Magic leap on deal. The deal is reported to include a multiyear agreement, wherein Meta will gain access to Magic Leaps AR intellectual property, supply chain, and manufacturing capabilities in North America. The news comes amidst news of a slowing metaverse ambition at Meta during it’s ‘year of efficiency’, with the deal allowing Meta to save potential billions in product research and development plus tricky navigation of the current U.S. Chinese geopolitical breakdown.
Anthropic raises $450 million. The AI startup, backed by Google, raised the finance as the ramp up a battle against OpenAI for the competitive race to develop AI foundation models. This round brings the total funding for Anthropic to nearly $1 billion, ranking it as one of the highest funded AI startups.
Moonfire Ventures launch $115 million fund. The London based organisation, founded by former Atomico co-founder Mattias Ljungman, have raised the figure in order to continue investment in European startup organisations existing in the fields of Web3, AI and AR/VR. Moonfire first appeared in 2021 with an inaugural fund of the size of $60 million.
GoodGang Labs raise $2 million. Formed by former Facebook exec Doo-Kyung Ahm, and entrepreneur Jae-cheol Kim, GoodGang Labs offer a 3D avatar communication platform called Kiwi Town, which aims to replicate facial expressions via AI. There is a Web3 version of the platform, which allows users to embody NFT avatars through digital wallet integration.
Keep an eye on
BBC Studios and Reality+ launch Sandbox experiences. The move to push popular BBC properties like Top Gear and Doctor Who to The Sandbox will also be supported by a BBC events space on the same platform. The decision marks the first time in which the BBC has fully backed a step into the metaverse, with previous small experiments taking place on some platforms. The space will be launched in late 2023.
Microsoft bring avatars to teams enterprise customers. The organisation announced that avatars will now be available for Microsoft 365 Business and Enterprise licenses in the teams desktop app on Windows and Mac. The option will be an alternative to video or non video use. Microsoft also launched Mesh in private preview, to attempt to mimic in person interactions on the teams platform.
Nreal become Xreal with new beam adapter. The rebranding of Nreal to Xreal is complete, with the organisation stating that the name change is designed to reflect a shift to working on ‘expanded reality’ experiences. Alongside the rebrand announcement came the launch of the ‘Xreal Beam’, an adapter for the existing Xreal Air product that allows users to connect the 201-inch display to games consoles, PCs and other devices.
4D smell-o-vision comes to VR? A team based in Hong Kong and mainland China has developed a small, wireless odour generator that can be worn as a mask or attached to the skin under the nose. Research from the City University of Hong Kong, Beihang University in Beijing and Shandong University suggests VR devices combined with the odour generators have the potential to even be used in medicine and education as a means to trigger memories or aid communication.
Events to be at
May 31 California | Augmented World Expo (AWE) 2023
June 01 Online | The 7th International VR Awards Nomination Webinar 2
June 13 Online | Insights Live: Metaverse vs Web3: A Convergence?
August 08 Online | Insights Live: How the Metaverse would Transform Education
October 24-26 Houston | The 10th Augmented Enterprise Summit
November 30 Rotterdam | The 7th International VR Awards
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 29 2023 Edition - Issue 21
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