Discover more from AIXR's Weekly Metaverse Business Brief
Google's Project Iris is dead, Augmedics raise $82.5 million, and Pokémon Go makers Niantic in trouble?
Also this week...Meta launch a Quest VR game subscription service, European Union big names battle latest wave of AI regulations, and Steam reportedly reject AI art game.
Good morning Metaverse Business Brief readers. Let’s jump into the most relevant news from the immersive world in our weekly roundup.
Google reportedly kill off Project Iris AR Glasses. The ‘Project Iris’ AR headset was revealed in January 2022, with it being predicted that the device would go toe to toe with rumoured headgear from Meta and Apple. In the wake of those organisations releasing and revealing devices, Google are rumoured to have pulled the plug on the ‘Project Iris’ project with a view to focusing on software as opposed to hardware. An internal report does however rumour that the planned headset may become the foundations of a potential project undertaken between Google, Samsung and Qualcomm.
Meta launch VR subscription service. The Meta Quest+ service will reward paying users with access to two new games per month. The service, similar to premium tier access passes provided by gaming industry competitors Xbox and Playstation, will cost $7.99 a month, or $59.99 for an annual subscription. Compatibility with Quest 2, Quest Pro and Quest 3 is confirmed, with the decision to begin the service an apparent step towards making the immersive tech side of Meta profitable.
EU big names battle new AI regulatory act. A collection of over 150 executives have signed an open letter urging the EU to rethink plans to regulate AI use. Some of the biggest companies in Europe have signed up to the letter with execs from Renault, Heineken and Airbus amongst others deeming the EU’s recently approved AI regulations - presented in the Artificial Intelligence act - as ineffective and damaging to competition.
Steam reportedly reject AI art game. The use of AI in creative projects, not least the creation of AI assets in video games, has been subject to controversy. In a reddit post, which has spread via a viral tweet, it has been noted that Valve’s steam service apparently rejected a game due to the use of AI image assets that appropriated third party intellectual property. The move has been celebrated by game devs and artists, however Steam have yet to announce this stance as an official policy.
Augmedics secure $82.5 million. In a round led by CPMG, the pioneering AR surgical navigation company Augmedics added the funds in the same week in which their xvision Spine system treated a 4,000th patient in the US. Augmedics intent to use the funds to rapidly expand their US commercial footprint.
Meta announce $250,000 Indian grant. A new mixed reality programme has been inaugurated in India, with the $250,000 set to go to Indian startups and developers keen to build an XR ecosystem within the country. Alongside the funds, up to five Indian startups will receive dedicated mentorship and guidance from Meta’s Reality Labs experts.
Brilliant Labs claim over $3 million. The Singapore-based startup develops AR wearables ‘powered by ChatGPT’. Brilliant Labs seed round was led by some big names, including the cofounder of OculusVR Brendan Iribe and cofounder of Siri Adam Cheyer. Funding comes soon after the launch of Brilliant Labs first product, an AR app building ‘monocle’ with a built-in microphone and smart camera.
Keep an eye on
Niantic lays off approx 230 employees and closes LA studio. The creators of the successful AR game Pokémon Go have announced the closure of their LA development studio and conducted the layoffs in a bid to ensure financial stability. The move has also led to the game ‘NBA All World’ being discontinued, and the release of ‘Marvel World of Heroes’ will be indefinitely postponed.
Ryuichi Sakamoto’s ‘final performance’ in mixed reality. A 45 minute mixed reality live musical performance named ‘Kagami’ has begun, featuring a virtual representation of the Oscar winning composer who passed away in March after battling cancer. The installation - produced by Tin Drum - has been confirmed to run In Manhattan, Manchester, and the Sydney Opera House, as attendees are invited to don Magic Leap 2 headsets and wander around the performance area.
‘First live combat sport in the Metaverse’ takes place. Former world champion boxer Roy Jones Jr will battle bodybuilder ‘NDO Champ’ in a bout which is said to be taking place live ‘in the Metaverse’. The first of its kind event will see the live action transposed into the Metaverse via the use of ‘volumetric capture’ technology. Jones Jr suggested that the opportunity to be the first person to compete in a Metaverse bout was motivation to agree to take part in the event.
VR title from Rockstar Games could be in the works. Industry sleuths suggest that a potential new VR game from Grand Theft Auto makers Rockstar Games was leaked via the resume of an actor. Michael Ursu, who has worked on several VR games for Rockstar Games owner Take Two, listed “unnamed Rockstar game” under the VR column of his resume. This entry has now been deleted, in an indication that the project was not ready for public announcement. There has been no official statement from Rockstar Games.
Events to be at
August 08 Online | Insights Live: How the Metaverse would Transform Education
August 30 Singapore | AWE Asia 2023
September 23 Online | Insights Live: How can CEOs stop feeling alone?
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 email@example.com.
July 03 2023 Edition - Issue 26
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