Apple Developing User-Friendly AR Creation App for Headset

Apple is preparing for the release of its upcoming mixed reality headset by engineering software that, while aimed largely at developers, would also allow users to create their own augmented reality apps in the same way as Final Cut Pro, which is used to edit video by both professionals and laymen. Apple’s highly anticipated headgear is expected to come to market this year, and a general use AR development tool would be a major coup for the company, given that AR apps are complicated to create and new technologies typically rely on fresh content to drive sales. Continue reading Apple Developing User-Friendly AR Creation App for Headset

CES: Dimension X Demos Bonfire Virtual Story Creation Tools

For the most part, exhibitors in the Gaming and Metaverse areas at CES 2023 didn’t touch on the latent problems with consumer adoption of the metaverse. While worlds like “Fortnite” and “Roblox” that draw consistently high MAUs do so because they offer fun mechanics, the many metaverse platforms on exhibit generally did not provide compelling reasons for why companies — much less consumers — should spend time in their worlds. Dimension X’s booth was a standout on the floor, however, as it showcased Bonfire, a soon-to-be-released tool to enable the seamless creation of narrative mechanics within virtual worlds. Continue reading CES: Dimension X Demos Bonfire Virtual Story Creation Tools

ETC@USC Student Challenge: Future of Themed Experiences

On October 22, ETC@USC began a one-week student challenge on “The Future of Themed Experiences.” Leveraging the tools, techniques and resources of today and those that could emerge in the next few years, students were asked to come up with an original idea for an experience that: 1) has a specific location-based experience, and 2) extends the experience out into the real and virtual worlds before and after the person has the location-based experience. Eighteen 3-minute pitch videos were submitted and an esteemed panel of industry executives chose to reward five of them. All 18 videos with follow-up Q&A discussions are available online. Continue reading ETC@USC Student Challenge: Future of Themed Experiences

Lenovo Teases Rollable Display Concepts for Mobile Devices

Lenovo is among the companies developing early rollable mobile displays. At Lenovo Tech World 22, a virtual event hosted by the Hong Kong-based company, a rollable-screen laptop was showcased along some rollable smartphones, a format that is generating a great deal of interest. Lenovo Intelligent Devices Group president Luca Rossi previewed a concept ThinkPad laptop with a vertically extending screen, calling the potential of such a device “compelling,” taking “multitasking, browsing, and mobility applications to another level.” Continue reading Lenovo Teases Rollable Display Concepts for Mobile Devices

Short-Form Video Platform Triller Creates a New Virtual World

Triller, a short-form video sharing app acquired in 2019 by Hollywood financier Ryan Kavanaugh’s Proxima Media, is launching a platform called Metaverz for immersive experiences ranging from sports and concerts to social events that take place “past the velvet rope” in virtual nightclubs populated with influencers, creators and celebrities. Right now, the company is previewing a video that showcases what looks like basic video game graphics, although Triller is touting a partnership with Singapore-based Epik, a blockchain-focused firm described in the Metaverz announcement as “a leading global platform for AR/VR and gaming experiences.” Continue reading Short-Form Video Platform Triller Creates a New Virtual World

Meta’s ‘Horizon Worlds’ Is Struggling to Attract New VR Users

There’s trouble in virtual paradise, according to The Wall Street Journal, which says internal Meta Platforms documents show that its initial goal of 500,000 monthly active “Horizon Worlds” users by the end of 2022 has been revised to 280,000, which is over 80,000 more than it currently has. Meanwhile, Forbes says the debut of avatar “legs” demoed by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg at last week’s Meta Connect was actually “staged” using motion capture. However, a Meta spokesman explains that the company’s metaverse efforts were always expected to be a multiyear project, with ongoing improvements based on user feedback. Continue reading Meta’s ‘Horizon Worlds’ Is Struggling to Attract New VR Users

Cook Hints Apple’s First realityOS Glasses Will Be AR, not VR

Despite speculation that Apple will debut a realityOS (rOS) headset next year, CEO Tim Cook says the metaverse is not yet ready for prime time, telling a European publication he’s “really not sure the average person can tell you what the metaverse is.” On a continental excursion that included a commencement address at the University of Naples Federico II in Italy, Cook appeared bullish on augmented reality, while downplaying virtual reality, the technology around which Meta Platforms is building its future. “I think AR is a profound technology that will affect everything,” Cook told the magazine Bright. Continue reading Cook Hints Apple’s First realityOS Glasses Will Be AR, not VR

Walmart Begins Metaverse Build-Out on the Roblox Platform

Walmart has planted its flag in the metaverse, launching Walmart Land and Walmart’s Universe of Play on Roblox, a virtual worlds game platform that emphasizes user-generated content. Roblox community members can check out the Walmart “isles” to collect “verch,” or virtual merchandise, “catch top music artists and unlock exclusive interactive content,” the company says. “Roblox is one of the fastest growing and largest platforms in the metaverse, and we know our customers are spending loads of time there,” Walmart CMO William White said, citing the platform’s 52 million daily active users. Continue reading Walmart Begins Metaverse Build-Out on the Roblox Platform

Nvidia Debuts New AI Model That Quickly Generates Objects

Nvidia Research is introducing a new AI model that largely automates the process of creating virtual worlds, making it easier for developers to populate games and VR experiences with a diverse array of 3D buildings, vehicles, characters and more. Trained using only 2D images, GET3D generates 3D shapes with high-fidelity textures and complex geometric details. GET3D can generate “a virtually unlimited number of 3D shapes based on the data it’s trained on,” according to Nvidia, which says the objects can be used in 3D representations of buildings or the great outdoors, in games or the metaverse. Continue reading Nvidia Debuts New AI Model That Quickly Generates Objects

EU Hints at Introduction of Metaverse Regulations and Taxes

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen signaled the bloc is preparing the implement a regulatory framework for the metaverse, writing in her annual Letter of Intent for the State of the Union address that the Commission will in 2023 advance an “initiative on virtual worlds, such as metaverse.” The EU’s internal market commissioner, Thierry Breton, expanded on that in a blog post that Europe’s “way to foster the virtual worlds” will be threefold, focusing on “people, technologies and infrastructure,” with speculation bubbling that the third prong will involve some sort of carrier tax. Continue reading EU Hints at Introduction of Metaverse Regulations and Taxes

Nvidia Unveils New Tools for AI, the Metaverse at SIGGRAPH

Nvidia founder and CEO Jensen Huang shared his vision for a computer graphics industry transformed by AI, the metaverse and digital humans. “The combination of AI and computer graphics will power the metaverse, the next evolution of the Internet,” Huang told attendees at SIGGRAPH 2022 in Vancouver. To support this transformation, Nvidia unveiled the Avatar Cloud Engine (ACE) and discussed plans to build out the Universal Scene Description (USD) industry standard, which Huang called “the language of the metaverse.” New extensions for Omniverse and graphics workflow optimizations using machine learning were also part of the mix.
Continue reading Nvidia Unveils New Tools for AI, the Metaverse at SIGGRAPH

‘Minecraft’ Developer Mojang Rejects Blockchain, NFT Tech

Mojang Studios, creator of the wildly popular “Minecraft” game, has taken a public stance banning NFT integrations and blockchain functionality. The Stockholm-based company, owned since 2014 by Microsoft, stated this week that “integrations of NFTs with ‘Minecraft’ are generally not something we will support or allow.” Mojang says it is updating terms of use with further details explaining its position, but a blog post emphases ensuring “Minecraft” players have “access to the same content.” In a blog post, Mojang concludes NFTs “can create models of scarcity and exclusion that conflict with our guidelines.” Continue reading ‘Minecraft’ Developer Mojang Rejects Blockchain, NFT Tech

Meta Teases Headset Prototypes from VR Development Lab

With Apple expected to announce an AR/VR headset by year’s end, Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg is wasting no time trying to saturate the market with Meta Quest 2 games and gear, while priming the pump for the Meta Quest Pro, which some say may debut as early as this fall. June has seen a summer sale of up to 40 percent off on 60 Quest 2 games. And last week, Zuckerberg mounted a shock and awe offensive, previewing several early prototypes, including the Holocake 2 — Meta’s lightest, thinnest VR headset, which plays PC virtual reality games. Continue reading Meta Teases Headset Prototypes from VR Development Lab

Major Brands Are Starting to Experiment with the Metaverse

Madison Avenue continues to scale in the metaverse, which is experiencing a land-grab for the best storefronts as brands like Gap and Nike unveil digital-only versions of their goods competing against — and sometimes collaborating with — digital-first brands like sneaker maker RTFKT and fashion house Fabrikant. Mobile game destination The Sandbox has already sold more than 70 percent of its “land” to businesses including cryptocurrency exchange Binance and video-game maker Atari. Even traditionalists like NASCAR and JPMorgan Chase are pitching virtual tents. The bank has signed a lease in Decentraland, a 3D online world. Continue reading Major Brands Are Starting to Experiment with the Metaverse

Spotify Island a Destination for Music and Quests on Roblox

Spotify says it’s the first music-streaming brand to have a presence on Roblox with the introduction of “Spotify Island,” described as “a paradise of sound” where fans and artists around the world can hang out together, explore music, go on adventures and access exclusive merchandise. Virtual beat-maker stations powered by Spotify’s Soundtrap service will enable users to “enjoy an immersive audio experience by creating music and exploring sounds.” “Spotify Island” will feature “musical Easter eggs at every turn” and allow users to “climb to the top of ‘The Charts’ by collecting points,” the company says. Continue reading Spotify Island a Destination for Music and Quests on Roblox