Setting the foundations for the Metaverse

Bi-weekly update with the latest insights from the Metaverse: news, posts, creations and communities.

The last newsletter of the decade. Also the fourth newsletter of the decade. But who’s counting. With the Holidays upon us, there has been less news but some interesting ideas and reflections that settle the foundations for the Metaverse. The Quest isn’t shipping until end of February in the US thanks to its success during the Holidays. It’s proving to be the first proper VR consumer device.

Things like IoT standards, Edge computing and 5G are coming along and will be the infrastructure for the Metaverse. And the software stack being built on top is making great strides. Games are getting better and better and companies are starting to make real money (Superhot brought in >$2M over the last week). VR applications like Gravity Sketch or remote work tools are gaining presence. We’re figuring out better interactions and interfaces, and hand tracking makes the devices more accessible.

Here’s a nice summary by Sai Krishna of the amazing strides made in XR during the last decade:

Day by day and year by year we’re making Spatial Computing and the Metaverse happen. I can’t wait to see what 2020 and the following decade has to offer and to work together with all of you to make the open Metaverse happen.

Happy New Year!

On the news

  • An IoT standard is finally coming: It’s called Projected Home over IP and it’s formed by the likes of Amazon, Apple, Google and the Zigbee Alliance. Yup, you heard that correctly. This to me sounds like the tech news of the year. IoT is shaping our homes and cities and will continue to do so in a deeper way. We’ve been waiting for the big companies to work together on a standard for years and it’s finally happening. It’s based on IP which already works everywhere and is an open standard. They are expected to release an open source reference implementation by the end of 2020. [Link]

  • Mozilla experimenting with streaming: Mozilla is playing with Servo to offload video rendering to a high-end server and then streaming that to a headset. This only works with video for now, which isn’t interactive. It’s still an interesting experiment. Headsets need to be as small and power efficient as possible. For that, running heavy applications on the cloud and streaming them to the headsets seem like the solution. Cloud gaming is making strides. We’re still far from it working at a high enough frame-rate for VR though. We do need to make sure that the communication is secure and private and servers don’t hoard user data. [Link]

Food for thought

  • Polygon loves Oculus Quest but is concerned about Facebook: Mainstream gaming media is cozying up to VR. Polygon published a great recommendation for people to get the Quest. We finally have a device we can recommend to all sorts of people that just gets better and better with software updates. But with one caveat, it’s from Facebook. Many of us don’t trust them anymore. We don’t want Facebook in our homes and controlling the software layer. [Link]

  • How much data is the Quest actually sharing: Mozilla recently released a study of how much data the Quest sends back to Facebook. The conclusion is “not so much”. This may sound positive but their Terms of Service still allows them to collect whatever they want so they could start collecting it at any moment without notice. The danger is still very much there and we must oppose it strongly as a community. [Link]

  • Tivoli Cloud VR working on organic virtual worlds: In a recent blog post, Tivoli outlined their design philosophy for their Social VR platform. Contrasting with an up-down directive of how virtual worlds should be built, they want the community to outline what the virtual universe should look like. Instead of grey and rigid urban planning, delightful and messy people-built worlds. I can’t wait to see how they bring this vision to life and it’s very much aligned with my idea of the Metaverse I want to live in. [Link]

Cool Creations

  • Visit Doom levels in WebXR: Ian Belcher has recently shared his adaptation of classical Doom levels with A-Frame that work with WebXR browsers. Many people grew up and got into games thanks to Doom and with WebXR can no be inside the game. It reminds me of Ready Player One where certain worlds allowed you to relive classical films. [Link]

  • Presenting Spatial Computing in 2009: I recently bumped into Albert Hwang’s presentation of Spatial Computing on Twitter. It’s a great reminder that none of this is new. We’ve been working on VR since the 60s and the term AR was coined in 1990. We stand on the shoulder of giants who have been experimenting with these technologies for decades. There’s so much left to explore, but it’s worth revisiting the past to better pursue the future. Albert does a great explanation of what AR is and different interaction paradigms. 10 years later and many possibilities he outlines are now possible with a $3000 headset. We expect the Quest of AR over the next decade and we’ll have many things figured out by then. (Albert Hwang ended up working at Oculus and currently works at Looking Glass) [Link]


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Thanks for tuning in, that’s it for today. If you find anything interesting that we should post in the next one, reach out via Twitter or Email.

See you in 2 weeks!

Alberto