SXSW Winners, $350M for Adept AI, Tilia Raises $22M

It’s still unclear how the new round of layoffs at Meta will affect its metaverse division, Reality Labs. Meta says the product roadmap (Quest 3 later this year, low-cost Quest in 2024, see with AR glasses in 2025) will remain unchanged. For now. As AI ascends the hype cycle and the Metaverse predictably descends into disillusionment, the company is clearly rearranging its priorities.

Adept AI is a unicorn. The startup, founded by former Google engineers, said it has raised $350 million to use AI to develop enterprise applications. The funding comes less than a year after raising $65 million. The Series B round was led by General Catalyst and Spark Capital. Although their valuation has not been officially announced, the scale of the investment suggests that Adept AI is already worth more than a billion dollars.

Tilia Raises $22M to Power Payments for Digital Economies. The company, which was spun off from Linden Lab, also named Brad Oberwager, previously executive chairman, as CEO and Kathryn Porter as the company’s first chief business officer. The funding comes from Seoul-based South Korean fintech leader Dunamu, which joins existing investor JP Morgan Payments. In 2021, Oberwager acquired Linden Lab, the company behind the Second Life metaverse. In October, Linden announced it had partnered with JP Morgan Payments to spin off Tilia.

SXSW XR Award Winners: Consensus Gentium writer and director Karen Palmer won the top prize, even though it’s not technically an XR experience. The story takes place on your smartphone and uses face tracking. You’re cast as a dissident who evaded a government surveillance app but has to download it to travel to visit his mother. There were several moments when I thought the messages I was reading on my smartphone were my own, an experience completely unique to this new medium. A special jury prize was awarded Body mine from Cameron Kostopoulos, which enables a man to inhabit a woman’s body, making a profound case for VR as a vehicle for empathy.

Google Sunsets Glass 2.0. In nothing but good news for Vuzix, Realwear, Lenovo and other wearable microdisplay vendors, Google announced this week that it will no longer sell or update Google Glass 2.0 as of September 15th. Glass now joins the graveyard of Google’s very early XR projects like Daydream, Tilt Brush, and Poly. Google may not be working with Glasses yet. Last fall, they showed off a telescoping transparent device based on technology acquired by North that can do everything Glass does and more. Glass is still used by hundreds of companies for storage, manufacturing and remote support.

Apple’s AR/VR headset has reportedly been pushed out due to “heavy shipping pressure.” There was a pile of articles this week about Tim Cook insisting on a June release over the objections of his engineers. So many tech experts have weighed in, we’ve created a dedicated section below and given it a clever name: Bobbing for Apple. The Apple Watch took a while, but it didn’t have the hype of the XR, and the devices aren’t nearly as expensive. Between now and the start of June, it will be difficult to manage expectations.

The Otherside Bored Ape Metaverse will launch “The Second Journey” on March 25th.. Daniel Allegri, CEO of Yuga Labs, which runs the Bored Ape Yacht Club, is spending over $300 million to build the Otherside metaverse. This second test of the massively multiplayer metaverse will take place on March 25th in the form of a guided experience that will be streamed simultaneously with 10,000 simultaneous uniques. The “Second Ride” is open to holders of virtual land NFTs representing a yet-to-be-created land in the as-yet-unpublished Otherside metaverse. Non-owners can also watch a live stream of the event on the company’s YouTube channel. I put it on my calendar.

Mighty Coconut’s Walkabout Mini Golf Announces Meow Wolf Partnership and Mobile App! When SXSW kicked off last Friday, they revealed a creative partnership with Meow Wolf for a new course coming in Q3; Walkabout Mini-Golf Pocket Edition, an AR mini-golf game for iOS coming this summer; and brings the title deals to hundreds of arcades in the location-based entertainment industry.

Metavrse Mall welcomes Mars’ Juicyverse, home of the Starburst candy in the Metaverse. TheMall and STARBURST┬« have teamed up to announce the launch of their newest virtual world, Starburst Juicyverse, in partnership with MetaVRse and BambuMeta┬« Web3 Loyalty.

This week on XR is also a podcast hosted by this columnist Ted Shilowitz, Futurist, Paramount Global, and Rony Abovitz, founder of Magic Leap. This week our guests are Karen Palmer, producer and director of the smartphone film Consensus Gentium, which won first place at XR Experiences at SXSW, Cameron Kostinopoulos, whose VR experience Body of Mine won the XR Special Jury Prize , and Roman. Rappak, whose Miro Shot played a sold-out mixed reality concert in Austin. We can be found on Spotify, iTunes and YouTube.

What we read

Psychedelics meets virtual reality in the Southwest (Tiffany Curry/Bloomberg)

This week in Schadenfreude

Mark Zuckerberg is ending the tech party (/Street)

Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse ambitions are on the wane (Kali Hays/Insider)

Mark Zuckerberg is suddenly strangely silent about the Metaverse (Mary Harrison/Futurism)

Bobbing for Apple

From iPhone 15 to AR/VR headset. Apple products are expected in 2023. (Lisa Eadicicco/CNet)

Mixed reality distortion field. Is Tim Cook’s legacy doomed? (Macworld)

Tim Cook is betting on Apple’s mixed reality headset to secure his legacy (Patrick McGee and Tim Bradshaw/Financial Times)

Source link