If you’re a reader of this column, you won’t be surprised when I say sometimes things get weird around here. Immersive media can be a box within a box. Like using AR inside a VR experience. This week Netflix began production of “Squid Game: The Challenge Reality Competition Series,” as a companion reality series to season two of the blockbuster streaming series. This is pretty meta. You’re a character in someone else’s story. 456 real players will enter the game in pursuit of $4.56 million cash. Unlike the Netflix series, presumably this does not include actual death. This would be epic in VR. You could do all sorts of impossible things, and “killing” players could be more fun, and less harmful. Just saying.
Blippar partners with Microsoft Teams to provide shared AR experiences for simultaneous users on their communication and collaboration suite of applications. Using QR codes and WebXR, any Teams users with a smartphone camera and a browser can share and view 3D content, expand it, and walk around it. New features like annotation will be added soon. Blippar offers a web based drag and drop platform for creating bespoke mobile AR experiences. Microsoft Teams has over 250,000 users.
ENGAGE Reveals First Look at ‘Link’ Metaverse Platform for Enterprise & Education. The XR training and education platform announced last year it was building what it now calls “Link.” There are virtual worlds you can live and socialize in, ones optimized for business and learning. There are creative tools to encourage users to build places themselves. Users can even have their own apartment in a highrise with views of floating mountains. This week they’ve been giving clients and select members of the press a look at their new 3D virtual worlds, which can be accessed with VR headsets or PCs. I was cautioned that everything is under construction. Engage Link will launch sometime this fall.
AWE 2022 Wrap Up Interesting insights from the world’s most important XR conference. We gleaned a few new insights, and saw lots of new enterprise XR headsets.
Pico VR To Introduce a Consumer Headset in the US, Parent ByteDance is on a VR hiring spree. A report in Protocol revealed Pico is building both a VR consumer software and game team on the west coast, as well as a domestic marketing organization. The plan is to introduce a consumer focused version of their $475 Pico Neo later this year. Both HMDs run on the same Snapdragon 2 chip set from Qualcomm, but Pico’s displayport creates a better connection when using the headset with a PC.
Tribeca Immersive Announces Winners of Its Storyscapes Competition. The 21st annual Tribeca Festival today announced the winning immersive experiences in its annual Storyscapes competition. The Storyscapes Award and the $10,000 prize went to Kubo Walks The City (director: Hayoun Kwon, producer: InnerspaceVR).LGBTQ + VR Museum (project creators: Antonia Forster and Thomas Terkildsen, producer: Albert Millis) received the New Voices Award. EVOLVER (project creators: Marshmallow Laser Feast, Jonny Greenwood, Meredith Monk, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Howard Skempton; producers: Nicole Shanahan (Bia-Echo), Edward R. Pressman, and & Sam Pressman (Pressman Film), Terrence Malick (TF Malick Productions), Antoine Cayrol (Atlas V), and Mike Jones (Marshmallow Laser Feast) received a special jury mention for the Storyscapes Award. Kyle Melnick of VR Scout said this was the best year yet for XR Experiences at Tribeca. The experiences can be seen in the Tribeca gallery in the Museum of Other Realities (PC VR only) for a nominal fee through the end of the month.
Probing reality and myth in the metaverse McKinsey and Company surveyed 1,000 Americans to find out what people think of the putative metaverse. Their survey revealed people are leaning in the Metaverse; half can even describe it; a quarter of them think they’re going to be spending a good part of their day there in five years.
Meta’s Mind-Blowing “The World Beyond,” A Free MR Demo for Quest2. Meta recently launched The World Beyond, a one-of-a-kind experience for the Meta Quest 2 that turns your real-world space into a mixed reality playground. The tech demo makes excellent use of the Quest 2’s hand-tracking, passthrough, and voice command technology. The result is a game-changing experience, unlike anything we’ve seen before in VR.
Nissan Built A VR Dealership In VRChat With Interactive Cars. First reported by Autoweek, Nissan just launched several branded virtual worlds on VRChat platform, called the Nissan Crossing Experience, where you can get up-close and personal with realistic 3D models of the Nissan Sakura and Ariya. A second world inside VRChat is called Nissan Sakura Driving Island. There you sit in the driver’s seat of Sakura and drive around the island.
This Week in XR is also a podcast hosted by the author of this column and Ted Schilowitz, Futurist at Paramount Global. This week our guest is Justin Barad, founder and CEO of OssoVR, the world’s leading VR surgical training platform. We are also recording a special thirty minute interview with novelist Neal Stephenson and his co-founder of Lamina 1, Peter Vessenes, who have partnered to create a decentralized metaverse that will bring Stephenson’s fictional metaverse to life. You can find the podcast on podcasting platforms Spotify, iTunes, and YouTube.
Other Stories Worth Reading
Tribeca’s Latest VR Festival Might Be Its Best One Yet (Kyle Melnick/VR Scout)
Annecy XR Program Looks Toward the Future (Ben Kroll/Variety)