Meta’s post-Connect racking continues unabated. The press was unimpressed with the type of Metaverse Meta built with fifteen billion dollars, and counting. It dominated the headlines for most of the week. No wonder Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he feels like he’s punched in the stomach when he opens his phone in the morning. It’s so easy to stack, it’s hard to resist. Meta sets the record for unforced errors. Nevertheless, we rely on a company that takes historical business risk. For these reasons, I am now grouping my coverage of Meta coverage into a new section, which you will find at the end of the column. For now, I call it “This week at Schadenfreude”.
Stability AI raises $101 million Stable Diffusion, a cutting-edge open-source text-to-image AI program that generates images from text, announced a $101 million funding round at Techcrunch Disrupt in San Francisco. You tell it what you want in text, it returns art or a passing mash up. With this round, led by Coatue and Lightspeed Venture Partners with participation from O’Shaughnessy Ventures LLC, Stability AI should be able to afford its huge AWS hosting fee of around $50 million for a few years. The investment values the company at $1 billion after silver. Stability AI’s open source system that has been downloaded over 200,000 times.
VITURE raises $10 million for Headworn Media Viewer VITURE One XR glasses are like a portable projector for your face that connects to a compatible smartphone, laptop or game console. HD OLED screens simulate a 120 inch screen. The Series A funding round was led by BAI Capital and Verity Ventures. This will help the company mass-produce its VITURE One glasses.
Tilia obtains a strategic investment from JP Morgan and separates from Linden Lab On Wednesday, Linden Lab announced the spin-off of its proprietary funding engine Tilia. Tilia’s solution, designed for game, virtual world and mobile application developers, handles payment processing, in-game transactions, as well as payments to creators by converting tokens into fiat currency, including l ‘USD, serving as the backbone of any functioning virtual economy. Oh, and JP Morgan is the biggest bank in the world. Last year, Second Life generated $86 million in revenue from Tilia. Now the two companies will split the revenue, which Tilia hopes to do with many other game worlds.
Shapeyard raises $2 million to bring 3D content interoperability to the metaverse 3D modeling app for iPad compares to Blender, Maya, +3ds Max which are only available on computer. The application is currently available in alpha version on iOS.
Pico 4 VR headset review: Meta Quest 2 has some competition CNet’s Scott Stein tried out the new headset and concluded it was much the same, “a possible sign that standalone VR headsets in the next few years might see more hardware options. not be a better choice. At least, not for me.” The Pico 4 is not yet available in the United States. Blogger Tony “Skarred Ghost” Vitillo dove even deeper at AWE Europe in Lisbon this week.
Dapp Radar says there’s hardly anyone in Decentraland or Sandbox, and according to The Verge and Bloomberg, that may be true. Decentraland, Sandbox Virtual Land in Metaverse is cheap and very risky writes Carly Wanna in Bloomberg. Decentraland has a $1 billion valuation but only 8,000 daily users, according to Richard Lawler of The Verge.
Rec Room launches the “House of Terror” Halloween experience. Game room players enter “The House of Terror” through the brand new Haunt Society themed room. Haunt Society is a reputable directory of haunted houses. The experience itself is a journey through a maze that leads to an abandoned space station haunted by ghosts. “House of Terror is an immersive single and multiplayer experience that lasts at least 15 minutes and can be accessed by visiting Rec Room’s new “Haunt Society” room.
Valkyrie EIR armbands simulate muscle resistance in VR fitness games The company announced that it has opened pre-orders for Valkyrie EIR, a set of haptic armbands that provide unprecedented interactive resistance to arm muscles. Armbands pair with EIR Training, the first VR training experience that takes full advantage of hardware. Armbands will begin shipping in summer 2023.
This week in XR is also a podcast hosted by the author of this column and Ted Schilowitz, head of future technologies at Paramount Global. Our guest this week is Caspar Thykier, co-founder and CEO of Zappar, an XR agency with multiple lines of business: Zappar.com, a no-code web-based AR content creation tool, and its smartphone HMD , Zapbox. We can be found here Spotify, itunesand Youtube.
*NEW* This week at Schadenfreude
It’s painful how determined Mark Zuckerberg is to convince us that virtual reality is a thing (Darrell Etherington/Techcrunch)
What if the metaverse was better without virtual reality? (Steven Levy/Wired)
Facebook’s metaverse is apparently filled with mostly empty “sad” worlds (Zack Zwiezen/Kotaku)
Meta’s flagship metaverse, Horizon Worlds, is struggling to attract and retain users (James Batchelor/GameIndustry.biz)
UK regulators are forcing Meta to sell Giphy (Sara Morrison/Vox)
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