Two sectors had to grow to usher in the Age of the Metaverse.
First look: the awesome headset design for PlayStation VR2
Four days ago Hideaki Nishino, senior vice president of platform experience for play station reveal the stunning new design of the PSVR 2 headset, alongside an update and final design image of our PlayStation VR2 Sense controller. It looks absolutely stunning (when more info drops I will write more on it), see the images below!!!
Second Look: Meta (formerly Facebook) Quest sad SuperBowl promo
Meta just can’t seem to catch a break. A commercial that ran at the Super bowl 2022 for the company’s Meta Quest 2 virtual reality headsets (formerly sold under the name Oculus Quest 2), was supposed to hype the world up for the coming rise of virtual reality. Instead, people seem to see the ad as nothing short of dystopian. Even I found the ad to be a bit sad/depressing. watch the video below to see why Meta Quest 2’s Super Bowl ad didn’t have the reaction they hoped for. what are your thoughts?
Now to business: Two sectors had to grow to usher in the Age of the Metaverse:
For decades Extended Reality (XR: AR/VR/MR) & Metaverse technology appeared like a dream, something just around the corner hoping to be realized by a far more advanced civilization, it would appear that perception has begun to shift due to the rate at which consumers and brands are adopting the technology. Many things are responsible for this, but we will be focused on recent advancements in key sectors, one of which is the XR hardware power, particularly the VR headsets and processors necessary to create realistic VR experiences, we also have mobile phones powerful enough to render realistic AR experiences, smart glasses… etc. all indicating why XR is finally affordable enough to enter the public domain. This Atlas focuses on certain key sectors that had to grow in one way or another or played a part in ushering in the age of the Metaverse. Happy reading!
1) The Hardware sector
As this Atlas covered in the last episode, Virtual reality has been commercially accessible in different versions since the 1990s, but it has always been criticized for being too expensive, too complicated, or too flawed to provide immersive, inexpensive virtual experiences that could inspire people to part with their money. In fact, until recently, virtual reality has depended on clumsy headgears, high-cost processors, and complicated peripheral hardware to provide realistic experiences.
A demonstration of an early VR rig at a 1993 trade show is a reminder that people in the 90s were wearing worse things than bad suits. (Alex Brandon/AP).
Though it is important to note that as of today the reality on the ground is very different, within the space of two decades, computing hardware has made several quantum leaps, companies like Meta (formerly Facebook), HTC, Sony, Samsung, Microsoft, Google and several other big tech companies now make & sell powerful commercially viable XR devices (headsets, smart glasses and more).
Due to significant improvement in the hardware sector, these companies now produce cheaper and more powerful XR hardware, driving up consumer demand to the highest level in the history of immersive technologies, Omdia research revealed that 12.5 million consumer VR headsets sold in 2021, if that statistics are to be believed, at this growth rate it is expected that XR devices will become not just mainstream but an important part of our lives, although I would argue that it already is because the average mobile devices and most iPhones currently have the capacity to deliver impressive Augmented reality experiences, even though many users/consumers are not aware of the kind of power their mobile phones possess. Were you aware?
According to Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon at the company’s 2021 investor day, Meta has sold 10 million Oculus Quest 2 headsets, signifying that the quest 2 was one of the most sorts out XR devices of the year. The reason Qualcomm CEO boast about the achievement of Meta is that the Oculus quest 2 (now sadly named Meta Quest) uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 SoC chip, one of the most impressive piece of hardware contained in the Quest 2 headset, the chip is part of a Qualcomm’s Snapdragon product line designed primarily for VR and AR devices, with 6 GB of RAM — an increase of 2 GB over the Quest 1 model, this just proves to show how much companies like Qualcomm has contributed and is contributing to making XR mainstream through making affordable and extremely powerful hardware and chips.
2) The Gaming Sector
The gaming sector has a strong root in the entertainment industry, this has also not stopped the sector from exporting powerful products and technology to a number of “serious” sectors. Gamification has become one of the ways companies and brands deliver engaging user experiences, gaming technology is being used in education, health, architecture, manufacturing, and defense. Because of the rapid growth of gaming technologies, as well as their growing societal acceptance, they are displacing other industry-specific computer hardware and software packages, to the extent that it has become impossible to ignore their potential especially in applying them to some very difficult problems in the real business world, the public’s perception of games as gadgets for kids and strictly fun, not as tools to enhance productivity is becoming increasingly outdated.
The game industry’s embrace of XR technology has aided in enhancing the social acceptability of XR technology, a Statista study; “XR technology and content investment focus worldwide from 2016 to 2019” revealed that most XR industry experts think that the gaming sector was going to witness the most investment directed to the development of XR technology or contents, this data indicates that although there are many industries and sectors utilizing XR, The Gaming sector appears to be the pioneers of XR technology worldwide & the main drivers for adoption, this was clearly proven in 2016 with the release of Nintendo’s AR Pokémon Go mobile game, which grossed $100 million in a mere 20 days and boasted 250 million players at its peak, making it one of the largest recorded adoption of the technology. This is just a drop in the ocean, as the Oculus Quest Apps store reportedly has 60+ apps that have made more than $1 Million.
In my opinion, it is extremely unlikely that XR and Metaverse technologies would have made so much progress, in terms of acceptance/going mainstream and also in terms of technological advancements if the hardware and gaming sector hadn’t largely been involved, now this is not to say other key industries like Health care, manufacturing, education and so on do not drive adoption or have not played critical roles in making XR what it is today, but the hardware and gaming sectors definitely deserve shout outs, so do gamers of all kind, people who try out new technologies, companies that spend so much in research and development, enthusiasts and developers alike. We all deserve a shout-out!
Till the next atlas, keep learning.