The XR Week Peek (2022.07.25): Google to test AR glasses in the wild, Pico 4 spotted, and more! - The Ghost Howls

2022-07-30 02:37:14 By : Mr. shuxiang chen

A blog about virtual reality, startup and stuff

The heat hasn’t killed me yet, so this week I can still write a new roundup of interesting news about AR and VR. I have to say that notwithstanding the summertime, some things worth reading have happened, so do not miss this episode!    Before starting with the news, let me remind you that until this week the candidatures for the job positions at VRrOOm for game developers and game/UX designers are still open, so if you want to work with me on virtual events and festivals, be sure to enroll! You can find all the job descriptions on Linkedin: And if you want to discover how to prepare for the job interview with me… well, Joma Tech has made a great video on the topic you can’t miss:

Google has announced that it is going to start to test the prototypes of its AR glasses in the wild. The announcement came on the company blog, and it reminds me a lot of what Meta announced a few months ago about Project Aria.    The glasses will look like standard glasses and include in-lens displays, microphones, and cameras. The presence of a display is what makes this test different than the one performed by Meta, which is just testing glass frames with cameras. Google will ensure that the tests will follow all the best guidelines for privacy: the testers are selected trusted people; no images or videos can be shot and detained by these people; ll media sent to Google servers are anonymized (people’s faces are blurred, etc…) and retained only for max 30 days; testing is prohibited in sensitive locations like institutions, schools, and so on.    What is relevant about this piece of news is that Google has just confirmed its strong commitment to augmented reality. And not only it is committed, but it has also already prototypes that are worth testing. I would bet on modified North Focals, because they fit very well with the provided description of the prototype hardware. We often talk about Apple and Meta, but we should not forget that Google is still in the match, and that in the AR Cloud race, it has still many cards to play, like the mapping of all the world already made with Google Maps. I’m curious to see what Google will deliver… and also to see if it will really commit to it, or it will abandon this project, too.

More info (Google testing AR glasses — Official announcement) More info (Google testing AR glasses — Road To VR) More info (Google testing AR glasses — Upload VR)

Protocol’s Janko Roettgers has spotted references to “Pico 4” and “Pico 4 Pro” in a recent FCC filing. Remember that before releasing an electronic device in the US, the producing company has to file a report to FCC to guarantee its safety. These filings are public, so it is possible to read some data about these pieces of hardware in them.    From the document, it is possible to find some interesting info:

It is not much, but it is enough to understand that probably this is the real competitor to Meta Quest that Pico is going to launch. The Pico Neo 3 Link was clearly “an experiment”, and Pico has always hinted at an upcoming new consumer device. Now the question is: is this a competitor to Cambria or a competitor of the Quest 2? Both options are valid, and we need further details to understand that.    I’m very intrigued by his upcoming piece of hardware, so if someone of you has some secret info to share about it, you know how to contact me…

This is the worst news of the week for us all VR gamers. Ubisoft has announced that it has stopped the development of Splinter Cell VR, Ghost Recon Frontline, and two other unannounced games. The reasons are the same ones I’m telling you every week: the not favorable economic conditions that force companies to be more attentive about how they spend their money. The CEO Yves Guillemot has basically said that Ubisoft will focus more on the games that are bringing the company more money and so will invest less in projects that appear less profitable. Probably given the small market of VR, Splinter Cell VR wasn’t retained profitable enough. This is sad news for all the ecosystem because this was one of the most awaited games of the year.    The good news is that the axe hasn’t fallen on Assassin’s Creed VR, too: during the earnings call, the company said it would “reveal the future of the Assassin’s Creed brand in September.” So we can hope for an announcement of the VR game at the upcoming Meta Connect. Fingers crossed that it will be cool.

More info (Ubisoft cancels Splinter Cell VR — Road To VR) More info (Ubisoft cancels Splinter Cell VR — Upload VR)

A new week, a new podcast by Andrew Bosworth, the CTO of Meta. In his latest podcast, he has discussed about VR, and how it is still in a strong growth stage (“hyper-growth” to be exact, which means more than +40% growth every year), how it is still in the early days, and so on.    The discussion also talked about the reasonings for requesting a Facebook account, and what he said puzzled me. Let me quote Upload VR:  The executives say the average number of Oculus friends per account was 0.5 with a median of 0 friends. In addition, Bosworth says “the data was very clear” that “people who have friends play longer, they buy more content which is good for the business, good for the ecosystem, they enjoy the thing more, so we knew that.”  […]  “We’re sitting here as a part of some of the great social networks that exist on the planet with Facebook, with Instagram, with WhatsApp, with Messenger, can we bring these things together? And we said ‘Ok, this is no problem, let’s do the Facebook account thing, we have a new headset coming out, new headset, new account requirement”  This sounds a lot like: people had too few friends in the Oculus accounts, and this was not good for business, so we forced people to use the Facebook account, so we could make more money. This statement has been a bad PR idea, in my opinion, because it doesn’t cast a good light on Meta’s practices with the VR ecosystem.    The result of Meta’s investments in multiplayer apps anyway has brought its fruits, because according to the company, now “more than half of usage time is devoted to social experiences and multiplayer games”. Before Quest 2, many experiences were single-player, while now most of them have a multiplayer mode. This fits well with the social soul of Meta.

More info (Meta CTO talks about the Facebook login requirement) More info (Meta CTO talks about VR growth)

The superstar of the week has been the VC Matthew Ball, which has been interviewed by many popular magazines like Insider, New World Notes, The Verge, and has even made TIME dedicate a cover to the metaverse! This has happened on the occasion of the launch of his book about the metaverse. I could find him everywhere, at a certain point I was afraid I could find him also turning on the TV, or opening my cupboard…    Mr. Ball has everywhere detailed his vision of the metaverse. Most of the things he said are not new to us in the ecosystem, but he says them in a way that is interesting to read for people that don’t come from the tech world. There are some insights I’ve found myself interesting, though. For instance, he thinks that the average person will enter the metaverse in 15 years, so we are talking about a very long shot. He doesn’t believe that everything will be decentralized and live in a blockchain (and I’m with him on that), but there will still be centralizations also in the metaverse. And he thinks that interoperability in the metaverse doesn’t mean that everything will be interoperable (it has no sense that I get a banana in Minecraft and use it in Call Of Duty), but that there are some certain useful data (e.g. about our identities) that will shared between the various platforms. If you want to read all his insights, you can buy his book on Amazon, which has very positive reviews.

More info (Matthew Ball on TIME) More info (Matthew Ball on The Verge) More info (Matthew Ball on Insider) More info (Matthew Ball on New World Notes)

My friend Nima Zeighami, which is a respected member of our community, has published a rumor on Twitter about Meta announcing the Quest 3 in November. He said that it will be announced “alongside the SnapDragon XR2 Gen 2 at the SnapDragon Summit on November 14th” and that “Quest 3 will be available for immediate pre-order for the Christmas holiday”.    There are many reasons for which I think this won’t be true, like the fact that launching two products at the same time for Meta would be confusing, or that I don’t think that Meta launches a new product at the event of another company… but since everything is possible in this crazy world, I wanted to notify you of this. What may be possible, if Nima has reliable sources, is that the Quest 3 may be teased at the Snapdragon Summit. Anyway, we’ll see…

Every week one of the major tech companies talks about the current economic situation. This week is the time of Snap, which isn’t satisfied with its current revenues and is promising to “recalibrate” its hiring, goals, and investments. Apple’s new privacy policies and the upcoming possible recession are the reasons. Brace yourselves, my fellow VR entrepreneurs, tough times are really ahead.

Matthew Ball has already said everything there was to say about the M-word this week, so I won’t share many more articles about the topic… only one by Simonetta Pozzi, in Italian, about Gen Z and the metaverse. She lists some interesting stats about Gen Z and how is their attitude towards virtual worlds. The article is in Italian, so use Google Translate to read it.

This week has not taken good news to the Web3 ecosystem.    First of all, Minecraft has announced that it is going to ban NFTs from the game. The reason is that NFTs create artificial scarcity and this creates divisions among the community between who was and who has not. So to have a healthier ecosystem, crypto assets have been banned. This decision has not been taken favorably by the Web3 community, and some say it has been taken to maximize profits by Mojang. But I think that, for the current speculation that there are around Web3 things, it has been a healthy decision.    In the meanwhile, the hype about Web3 stuff keeps decreasing, and the popular NFT-based game Axie Infinity is keeping losing customers. It has lost 1M users in the last four months and now sits at less than 300K Daily Active Users, which is a much inferior number to the one of popular social worlds like RecRoom. This proves once more that games should be made around intriguing gameplay, and not just around earning.

More info (Minecraft bans NFTs) More info (The answer to a Web3 community member to Minecraft decision) More info (Axie Infinity losing players)

In a Youtube video, I was able to discover more details about Cilia, the scent emitter for VR used by Thrillseeker in his video where he tried to recreate the “Ready Player One setup”. If you are interested, you can watch it too.

Meta Reality Labs has just published another interesting article about its research in creating realistic clothes for its realistic codec avatars. The work is impressive, and it lets avatars wear different clothes, which adapt to the shape of the body of the user.

Mozilla has just teased that something new is coming for Hubs (its WebXR social world), and has invited anyone interested in subscribing to its beta program. From what it is possible to read, it seems that probably they will let anyone create its own Hubs version in the cloud without needing any kind of knowledge about AWS or Azure.    The good news in all of this is that Hubs is still alive and still (slowly) improving.

Vertical Robot has published a video showing the technical achievements the team has reached while developing Red Matter 2. In the video, you can see some stunning visuals, and as a developer, I can tell you that they must have worked really a lot to reach those epic results.    I can’t wait for this game to be released… on August, 18th I guess I won’t work that much 😉

More info (Vertical Robot shows its technical achievements) More info (Video showing the graphical quality of Red Matter 2)

More info (Steam VR Fest — Road To VR) More info (Steam VR Fest — Upload VR) More info (Steam VR Fest — Blacktop Hoops game) More info (Steam VR Fest — Dream Catcher VR game) More info (Space Explorers) More info (Moss: Book 2 review) More info (Warplanes) More info (Cooking Simulator) More info (Bonelab)

Horizon Worlds lets creators now flag some worlds as 18+, but no explicit content is allowed

Learn more (New policy on 18+) Learn more (Horizon is theoretically all 18+)

A Ready Player Two movie is in the works

NBA is training referees using Virtual Reality

The adult VR industry is already using passthrough AR in original ways

Brad Lynch has just published its final leak article on Cambria. According to him, it will cost $1500

Web3 companies are creating an association to define some standards together

Holoway promises to let companies experiment with “holograms”

The application Air Hologram has just rebranded as Holoway and is trying to offer holograms-as-a-service to companies. The idea is to scan 3D video messages using iPhones and deliver them in AR to your peers.

Learn more (Holoway announcement) Learn more (Holoway official website)

AIXR takes the VR Awards ceremony to Rotterdam

AIXR has just announced that the usual VR Awards ceremony will be held physically this year, but not in the traditional London venue anymore. It will be held in Rotterdam on the occasion of the Immersive Techweek in December.

DeoVR arrives on the Pico Store

DeoVR has just announced two interesting pieces of news: the popular video player now supports hands tracking and it has also been ported to Pico. It’s good to see it constantly being upated.    (Disclaimer: DeoVR is one of the Patron of this blog)

Learn more (DeoVR on Pico Store) Learn more (DeoVR supports hands tracking)

CARV is a hoverboard for the metaverse

CARV is a project to give your VR avatar a cool hoverboard to ride on, which is usable in different virtual worlds. It is also compatible with Ready Player Me avatars. It is being sold as an NFT, if you are into these collectible avatars.

My meme about Matthew Ball and the fact that he is on every magazine now Funny link

He has won the internet. Or the metaverse. Or both. Funny link

Zuck being Zuck Funny link

This is a disturbing invention Funny link

How not to do machine learning… unless you want to eat your dogs Funny link

The processing power of the Quest 2 Funny link

Ok, now I get what the HP Reverb G2 is used for… Funny link

These memes are fairly accurate Funny link

Like last week, also this week in this final paragraph I won’t ask you to donate for my blog, but to the poor people that are facing the consequences of the war. Please donate to the Red Cross to handle the current humanitarian situation in Ukraine. I will leave you the link to do that below.    Let me take a moment before to thank anyway all my Patreon donors for the support they give to me:

And now here you are the link to donate:

Support The Red Cross in Ukraine

AR/VR developer, startupper, zombie killer. Sometimes I pretend I can blog, but actually I've no idea what I'm doing. I tried to change the world with my startup Immotionar, offering super-awesome full body virtual reality, but now the dream is over. But I'm not giving up: I've started an AR/VR agency called New Technology Walkers with which help you in realizing your XR dreams with our consultancies (Contact us if you need a project done!)

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