Disney ditch Metaverse, Ledger secure $108 million, & VRChat coming to mobile.
This week...Disney announce cuts to metaverse division, Apple delay MR headset launch again, AI development race fears, and PlayStation VR2 sales off to a slow start.
Good morning Metaverse Business Brief readers. Let’s jump into the most relevant news from the immersive world in our weekly roundup.
Disney pull out of Metaverse commitments. Roughly 50 employees made up the companies ‘storytelling and consumer experiences’ division, which has been the first cut in a round of layoffs predicted to total around 7,000. The team was considered to be responsible for planning the companies entrance to the Metaverse under new CEO Bob Iger. The leader of the storytelling unit, Mike White, is thought to be unaffected by the layoffs.
Insiders Suggest Apple MR Headset Delayed. In a recent brief, we suggested that Apple were under significant pressure to deliver the hyped device in 2023. A report from supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo now suggests that Apple are scaling back plans for the release which is predicted to fall in late 2023. It is rumoured that Apple had hoped to have a launch event akin to that of the Iphone, but have lost faith as a result of decreased industry optimism.
Calls for pause in AI development ‘race’. A number of high profile researchers in the AI space - and tech industry mainstays like Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak - have signed an open letter calling for a pause in AI system training for at least 6 months. The letter, published by the Future of Life Institute, warns that AI labs like the popular OpenAI are developing uncontrollable machine learning systems in a manner akin to an “out-of-control race”.
PlayStation VR2 launch sales considered lacklustre. Sales analysis by the publication Bloomberg has claimed that Sony are expected to sell around 270,000 headsets in the first six weeks of sale. It was previously rumoured that Sony had cut shipment forecasts for the headset, with internal expectations of around a million unit sales at launch. Potential reasons for the lack of consumer interest is levelled at the high initial cost when combined with ownership of the PlayStation 5.
Reality-VR launch funding platform. The Reality-VR project allows users to invest their funds and resources into the development of metaverse and AI projects. The platform hopes to serve as a community hub for innovators, investors, and industry enthusiasts through events, forums and initiatives.
Ledger raise $108 million in Series C funding. The French startup are a designer and manufacturer of hardware wallets for cryptocurrency. Hardware wallets are said to be becoming more popular as a result of increasing skepticism over crypto exchanges as a result of the controversies surrounding FTX.
Perplexity AI take $25.6 million funding round. The company announced the series A funding alongside the launch of a brand new IOS mobile app. Perplexity AI are a startup looking to use AI as a new model for online search, with the technology set to rival tech giants like Google - who’s researchers both current and former can also be found amongst backers.
Keep an eye on
VRChat mobile apps in development. In a developer update, the VRChat team has confirmed that it is looking to bring it’s social VR experience to mobile users. The update contained footage of the VRChat game running on Android in an unfinalised development build. The mobile version will launch on Android first, to members of the paid VRChat Plus subscription.
Luxury digital carmaker forges tangible links. Italy’s Raven Cars have been provoking debate in the automotive industry with the showcase of CGI creations of cars tied to NFTs that provide virtual 3D models with each purchase. In the latest step from the organisation, they have linked with real world seat and seat manufacturer Sabelt to collaborate on a new model, dubbed the Raven GTR.
Tommy Hilfiger step into Metaverse. The lifestyle brand have launched a cross-metaverse virtual hub in partnership with Emperia. The launch activated virtual experiences across multiple metaverse platforms like Decentraland, Roblox, DressX and Ready Player Me, all linked by a central hub provided by Emperia.
ENGAGE XR hosts Fatboy Slim VR concert. The event dubbed “Eat Sleep VR Repeat” starred Norman Cook, better known as Fatboy Slim. The highly successful DJ was met by thousands of fans from around the world, who enjoyed in-world digital effects and music during the 45 minute concert. The event was made possible due to the launch of ENGAGE LINK, a new business focused metaverse platform.
Events to be at
April 11 Online | Insights Live: Growth of Web3 and Retail
April 12 Laval & Online | Laval Virtual
May 09 Online | Insights Live: Human Progress and the Programmable World
June 13 Online | Insights Live: Metaverse vs Web3: A Convergence?
November 30 Rotterdam | The 7th International VR Awards
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments and your experiences at VR concerts to email@example.com.
April 03 2023 Edition - Issue 13
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