Social: The First Social Augmented Reality Experience for the Magic Leap One

We’ve talked a lot about social virtual reality apps on this blog, and looked at numerous examples of social VR. But this one is a first: a social augmented reality (AR) app has been announced for the brand-new Magic Leap One headset!

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Just announced via twitter by Savannah Miles, who is leading the social and avatar chat team at Magic Leap, Social is the name of a newly-announced Magic Leap One experience that is coming sometime later this year. According to the product page:

Build Connections

Share experiences, follow your friends and join other creators to explore this new frontier together. Build, personalize and accessorize your own custom avatars with a suite of creation tools. Soon, you’ll be able to hangout with people from around the world in the comfort of your home.

Make Magic Together

Spatial computing is meant to be shared. Soon, Cast will let people in the same room see what you see, when and where you see it. Plus, since with Avatar Chat you’ll basically be in the same room, they’ll be able to see the same content and applications, too.

Express Yourself Like Never Before

Coming this fall, Avatar Chat will take full advantage of Magic Leap One’s perception features such as 6DoF, headpose, eye tracking and hand tracking to create a feeling of real presence. So wink, wave or throw a high five because you’re going to meet some super expressive avatars.

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Magic Leap One: Why Reviewers Are Disappointed with the New Augmented Reality Headset

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Magic Leap has generated a ton of media buzz and hype over the years. We’re finally getting our first independent hands-on looks at the product.

Magic Leap invited The Verge to Florida for a one-hour, hands-on demo of the Magic Leap One, an augmented reality (AR) headset that projects 3D images into reality. And the reviewer was disappointed in what she saw:

And the Magic Leap One, which is now available for sale in the United States only, is extremely pricey for new technology: starting at US$2,295, it’s easily more expensive than an entire computer set-up for the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive VR headsets. And, as the reviewer states in the video, there’s little content available for it, and what content there is demonstrates the drawbacks in the platform, such as the restricted field of view.

Another mixed review by CNET points out another serious drawback to the Magic Leap One, at least for me:

There’s one huge drawback to the entire experience of putting a Magic Leap One on my face: It doesn’t work with glasses. My handlers asked for my prescription before I arrived in Fort Lauderdale, and pop-in prescription lenses were supposed to be provided for my demo. But it turns out my prescription broke the mold. I’m -8.75 in one eye, -8.25 in the other — too strong.

The verdict? Interesting, but it’s probably best to check back in a year or two, unless you’re a fanatical early adopter. I’m quite content with my Oculus Rift headset, and I’m in no hurry to upgrade/switch.

Worldopoly: Yet Another Blockchain-Based Virtual World

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(Image taken from the cover of the Worldopoly White Paper)
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(Screen capture of an artist’s representation of Worldopoly)

Worldopoly was mentioned today on the official Virtual Universe Discord server (here’s the original tweet), so I thought I’d check it out.

All the major buzzwords are present and accounted for…

  • Augmented reality? Check.
  • Artificial intelligence? Check.
  • Blockchain? Check.
  • DAG? DAG?!?? Why, Directed Acyclic Graph, of course! Check!

This hits all the buzzword buttons! I swear, the venture capitalists must have been lining up to fund this project!

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Here’s their promo video:

Worldopoly appears to be a geolocation-based game similar to Ingress or Pokémon Go. It’s based on real maps in real cities where you buy property, kind of like what Twinity used to have in the early days. In this “Meet the Team” video, the ideas behind Worldopoly are explained in more detail:

In this next video, Worldopoly is described by YouTuber and cryptocurrency promoter ActionChris as Pokémon Go, Clash of Clans, Fishbank, Cryptokitties, and SimCity all rolled into one:

Of course, there is an appeal to potential players’ greed, shilling virtual land as an investment and a money-making opportunity (just like Decentraland). One twist is that your enemies can fire-bomb the properties you own with a virtual Molotov cocktail! Of course, you can pay extra for “protection”. (rolls eyes)

I swear, the collision of so many buzzwords and so much hyperbole has the potential to create a black hole! According to this article, their initial coin offering (ICO) will end in July 2018, and Worldopoly will be available to download from the iTunes App Store and the Google Play store in November 2018.

Finally, here’s a demo of how you play the game on your mobile device (cellphone or tablet):

Frankly, the appeal of this game mystifies me. According to this last video, the developers are assuming that players are going to want to build virtual properties (and pay protection money!) in order to generate revenue from visitors…but why? Why bother? What’s the appeal? I just don’t get the concept. Maybe I’m missing something here, but to me, it just looks boring. Sorry, but I remain rather skeptical about this.

There’s already a Worldopoly app called the AirMiner that you can download for iPhone or Android, where you can collect Worldopoly tokens for later use in the game when it launches.

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When I loaded it onto my iPhone, it told me that two tokens were right nearby—in the local river! Sorry, but I’m not going swimming to retrieve them!