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The XR Week Peek (2023.08.28): Quest 3 unboxing leaked, Samsung+Google headset situation is blurry, and more!

Jul 29, 2023

After a few days where we thought we were all living in a big oven, here in Italy we’re having the first taste of Autumn, with the temperatures going down and a lot of rain falling from the sky. I’m in that situation where I don’t know if being happy or not: on the one side, having some fresher air is welcome, but on the other side, this means that the Summer is beginning to end, and this makes me a bit sad. Anyway, I know you are not here to read my thoughts about the weather (or maybe I’m wrong… in this case, let me know, so I can start a new newsletter about this topic), so let’s start talking about XR news!

The launch of the Quest 3 is getting closer, and it is tradition with Meta, the weeks before the launch, everything about the device is getting leaked. The first huge leak we had this week was a full unboxing video of the device. This time was not some hotel employees finding some random Quest boxes, but an anonymous guy uploading the unboxing video on Reddit. The video was later republished by “VR Panda” on Twitter. The unboxing shows that the device has a very simple packaging, which includes both the headset and the controllers. This confirms that the headset is going to ship with controllers and that there is no charging station in the original box. The other thing confirmed from the video is that Quest 3 is going to offer an “eye relief” dial, which will let the user put the headset lenses closer or more distant from the eyes. This has the double advantage of being able to support better people with glasses and also to maximize the FOV for people without glasses that can put the lenses very close to their eyes. Another leak regarded the release date: an Amazon listing put the availability date of the Quest 3 starting from October, 10th. This can be a placeholder date (10/10), but it would be quite unusual as a choice, so it is probable that this is the actual launch date. If the 10th is the wrong date, then all my bets are on the 19th of October because on that date by chance already two games are launching: The Wizards Dark Times Brotherhood and the 7th Guest. It’s strange that two games decided to launch on the same date, so there is a chance this is a magical date. Someone on Reddit also published the texture associated with the 3D models of the Quest Plus controllers. He has written that the codename of the Quest 3 is Crystal. I don’t think that’s the real codename, but it is funny that in the comments many people have started joking about “Crystal Met(h)a”… 😀

More info (Meta Quest 3 Unboxing video — Road To VR) More info (Meta Quest 3 Unboxing video — Upload VR) More info (Amazon listing sets Quest 3 date to 10/10) More info (Nathie starting the speculation about October, 19th) More info (The Wizards launches on October 19th) More info (The 7th Guest launches on October 19th) More info (Texture of Quest 3 controllers)

While the rumors about the Quest 3 launch are all on the positive side, the situation for Samsung and Google related to the announcement of their joint headset is a bit more gray. According to a report by Business Insider, the joint effort to produce a headset is dubbed “Project Moohan”, but this is not going on very smoothly. First of all, Google has to keep the work on the headset very secret also internally, because Samsung is afraid that Google will steal its expertise to build a competing product. Then the wish to compete with Apple may not become a reality: when the Vision Pro was announced, Samsung didn’t expect such cool features from it, so it delayed the announcement of the headset to have the time to increase its capabilities. The new rumor in town is that the headset may be launched in the Summer of 2024, but according to the people working on the project, this is not enough to build a product that can “wow” people, not alone competing with the Vision Pro. Google is working in parallel to build the Android XR operating system for this headset and a Micro XR operating system for AR glasses. The Micro XR software project is reportedly being tested on monocular glasses codenamed “Betty” and a binocular version of the same, codenamed “Barry”. Development is taking its time, and no glass based on Micro XR is expected to hit the market before 2025. Samsung can be the first partner also on this line of products. Development at Google is going on in a very messy way, though: it seems that there is not a clear direction and one of the employees complained that “every six months there was a major pivot in the program”. This is also what led to the departure of the engineering director of Google’s Android XR project. All these premises are not good: confusion is never a good sign in business. But I hope they will find a clear direction because it would be great to have Google and Samsung back to XR with a good product.

More info (Project Mohaan) More info (Google’s confusion and AR glasses timeline)

Sandbox VR (not to be confused with The Sandbox) has just announced that its most successful experience has grossed $23M in the last 12 months and is projected to make $100M in its lifetime. The record number has been obtained by the game Deadwood Valley across all the 30 locations where the experience is available. These numbers are huge if we think that there are many games on the Quest Store, which is the most successful VR platform, that don’t even come close to these revenue numbers. It shows how Location Based VR, which many people considered dead after the Covid, is back, and can even make lots of money. Sandbox VR was close to bankruptcy, but thanks to the determination and passion of its team, it has been able to make a wonderful comeback. Big kudos to the team for the obtained result. There is anyway something I should tell you to give the complete picture around these 23 millions: it is a cherrypicked number, and it doesn’t say much about the profitability of the company as a whole. In a comment on Linkedin, the CEO of Sandbox VR said that now the employee count of the company is around 800, and a quick calculation shows how the burn rate is in the order of magnitude of millions every month in salaries. One of the problems of LBVR is that it doesn’t always scale well because of the high variable costs and we don’t know how much remains in the pocket of the company of these $23M after we remove all the expenses. But still, 3 years ago, no one would have bet on Sandbox VR still making millions in 2023, so this is in any case a remarkable result.

More info

Meta has just launched the mobile version of Horizon World that runs on Android smartphones. The release is currently in closed beta, but the first footage of it has already surfaced online. The team has spent some considerable time making the experience feel mobile-first, instead of just a VR application ported to mobile. The first world to launch is the game Super Rumble, created by a dedicated internal content team. Meta is launching a mobile version because it hopes that the huge mobile market is going to increase its user count. Because the situation on that side is currently very bad for Horizon. This week, YouTuber Jarvis Johnson has gone around Meta Horizon and estimated a user count as low as 900 daily active users. Many worlds he visited were empty, and most users he found were screeching children. This is not exactly the metaverse that Mark Zuckerberg was envisioning…

More info (Meta Horizon for Android footage) More info (Horizon may have 900 Daily Active Users)

When Microsoft decided to close its Mixed Reality division, one of the biggest losses was the stop to the support of MRTK, which is a very well-written open-source library for writing cross-platform AR/VR applications. This week, Microsoft announced that MRTK will migrate to an independent GitHub account and that the project will be supported by a consortium including Microsoft, Magic Leap, and Qualcomm. Since MRTK was used especially for AR applications, it is natural that these three giants of augmented reality are interested in keeping it alive. Thanks to this partnership, MRTK will continue to thrive as an independent tool, and its much-awaited version 3 is still expected to be released in September 2023. That’s fantastic news for all Unity XR developers!

More info (MRTK will be supported by Microsoft and Magic Leap) More info (Official announcement on Microsoft website)

Journalist Janko Roettgers has reported that Meta and Luxottica’s upcoming Ray-Ban Stories smartglasses are going to feature improved cameras and first-person live-streaming to Instagram and Facebook (with viewer comments read out by an assistant via the built-in speakers). There will be no display, that instead will be part of the 3rd edition of the device, together with a neural wristband.

More info

John Carmack left Meta to dedicate itself only to artificial intelligence. I hoped he could have an invitation to still do one of its amazing “unscripted” talks at this Meta Connect, but unluckily, this is not the case. “My unscripted talks that didn’t toe the party line were no longer welcome on the big stage” wrote the god of programming on Twitter. It seems that a big corporation like Meta didn’t forgive him for the open criticism he has expressed on stage in the last few years…

More info

According to the Play Store data, the beta of VRChat for mobile Android devices has been downloaded by more than 10K people in the first week. This is for me a quite solid number, considering that the app is in beta, and is available only to VRChat Plus subscribers. Of course, we expect much more for when the app will be released to production, but in the meantime, 10K is a good start.

More info

A fascinating report by 9to5Mac shows that Apple filed a patent defining an XR headset already in 2007, when the first iPhone was launched. The patent shockingly details many of the features of the upcoming Vision Pro, so it seems that this vision (pun intended) started many years ago. This would be coherent with Robert Scoble claiming that the XR strategy of Apple was started by Steve Jobs. Anyway, someone in the comments explained that the 2007 one was a provisional patent, which has basically been rewritten in the current form in 2018. 2018 is 5 years ago, which is coherent with the 7-years timespan rumored for this device. We don’t have the original text from 2007, so we can speculate that maybe in 2007 Apple started having some ideas about XR, but then detailed what was its goal in 2018.

More info

BMW has created a mixed reality experience where you drive a BMW M4 Competition Coupé (worth around $86,000) with a headset on your head and you see yourself driving in a fantasy world while you are driving the car in real life in a safe test track. This is not the first time I read about this kind of experience, but it is the first time I have found an online link to register to try it. So if you are brave enough, you are willing to fly to Munich, and have €660 to invest in the experience… well… have fun!

More info

More info (Medal Of Honor) More info (Fast Travel Games) More info (Half-Life 2) More info (The 7th Guest) More info (Hellsweeper VR) More info (Max Mustard) More info (Vertigo 2) More info (Islanders VR) More info (CarX Rally) More info (Smash Drums) More info (Firewall Ultra) More info (Bounce Shot) More info (Memoreum) More info (Subside)

More info (The 7th Guest)

Meta’s new hand tracking update makes hands as responsive as controllers

Learn more

HTC’s Vive Pro 2 bundle gives the full Vive Pro 2 kit, plus a Wireless Adapter, for $1400

Learn more

A lawyer suggests on Reddit how to push Meta to restore your account if it was banned and deleted without you doing anything bad

Learn more

Lenovo’s latest handheld console, Legion Go, supports Augmented Reality glasses

Learn more

A tutorial online explains how to use opensource tools to provide captions in your application, a feature good for accessibility

Learn more

Experimental brain implant helps a paralyzed person speak through an avatar

Learn more

The Unity Cube

I see that my crazy stupid Meta Quest application that just shows a cube is still rocking on App Lab with a score of 4.5 in the reviews! If you want this joke to never end, please download it and then give it 5 stars! Check it out!

But… is it also compatible with Quest 3? Funny link

I guess it’s too late to use it Funny link

I see that someone made good use of this meme in VR… Funny link

Johnny English knows how to use VR at its best (thanks Tino for the link) Funny link

Like last week, also this week in this final paragraph I won’t ask you to donate for my blog, but to the poor people that are facing the consequences of the war. Please donate to the Red Cross to handle the current humanitarian situation in Ukraine. I will leave you the link to do that below. Let me take a moment before to thank anyway all my Patreon donors for the support they give to me:

And now here you are the link to donate:

Support The Red Cross in Ukraine

(Header image by VR Panda)

everything about the device is getting leaked.The first huge leak we had this week was a full unboxing video of the device.n anonymous guy uploading the unboxing video on Reddit. has a very simple packaging, which includes both the headset and the controllers. Quest 3 is going to offer an “eye relief” dial, support better people with glasses an Amazon listing put the availability date of the Quest 3 starting from October, 10th.then all my bets are on the 19th of Octoberalready two games are launchingSomeone on Reddit also published the texture associated with the 3D models of the Quest Plus controllers.More info (Meta Quest 3 Unboxing video — Road To VR)More info (Meta Quest 3 Unboxing video — Upload VR)More info (Amazon listing sets Quest 3 date to 10/10)More info (Nathie starting the speculation about October, 19th)More info (The Wizards launches on October 19th)More info (The 7th Guest launches on October 19th)More info (Texture of Quest 3 controllers) their joint headset is a bit more graythe joint effort to produce a headset is dubbed “Project Moohan”Google has to keep the work on the headset very secret also internally so it delayed the announcement of the headset to have the time to increase its capabilities. may be launched in the Summer of 2024, this is not enough to build a product that can “wow” people,Google is working in parallel to build the Android XR operating systema Micro XR operating system for AR glasses. no glass based on Micro XR is expected to hit the market before 2025. it seems that there is not a clear direction the departure of the engineering director of Google’s Android XR project. it would be great to have Google and Samsung back to XR with a good product.More info (Project Mohaan)More info (Google’s confusion and AR glasses timeline)Sandbox VRits most successful experience has grossed $23M in the last 12 monthsthe game Deadwood Valley Location Based VR, which many people considered dead after the Covid, is back, it has been able to make a wonderful comeback. it doesn’t say much about the profitability of the company as a whole.the burn rate is in the order of magnitude of millions every month in salaries. high variable costs this is in any case a remarkable result.More infoMeta has just launched the mobile version of Horizon World that runs on Android smartphones. making the experience feel mobile-first, The first world to launch is the game Super Rumble,estimated a user count as low as 900 daily active users empty, and most users he found were screeching children. More info (Meta Horizon for Android footage)More info (Horizon may have 900 Daily Active Users)MRTK, which is a very well-written open-source library for writing cross-platform AR/VR applications. MRTK will migrate to an independent GitHub account a consortium including Microsoft, Magic Leap, and Qualcomm. ts much-awaited version 3 is still expected to be released in September 2023. More info (MRTK will be supported by Microsoft and Magic Leap)More info (Official announcement on Microsoft website)upcoming Ray-Ban Stories smartglasses are going to feature improved cameras and first-person live-streaming to Instagram and Facebook More info, this is not the case.were no longer welcome on the big stageMore info the beta of VRChat for mobile Android devices has been downloaded by more than 10K people in the first weekwe expect much more for when the app will be released to productionMore info Apple filed a patent defining an XR headset already in 2007, when the first iPhone was launchedmany of the features of the upcoming Vision Pro,the 2007 one was a provisional patent,which has basically been rewritten in the current form in 2018. More info you drive a BMW M4 Competition Coupéwith a headset on your head and you see yourself driving in a fantasy worldt it is the first time I have found an online link to register to try it.More infoMedal Of Honor: Above And BeyondFast Travel Games Half-Life 2: RTXThe 7th GuestHellsweeper VRMax MustardVertigo 2 Islanders: VR EditionCarX RallySmash DrumsFirewall Ultra Bounce ShotMemoreum SubsideMore info (Medal Of Honor)More info (Fast Travel Games)More info (Half-Life 2)More info (The 7th Guest)More info (Hellsweeper VR)More info (Max Mustard)More info (Vertigo 2)More info (Islanders VR)More info (CarX Rally)More info (Smash Drums)More info (Firewall Ultra)More info (Bounce Shot)More info (Memoreum)More info (Subside)The 7th Guest More info (The 7th Guest)Meta’s new hand tracking update makes hands as responsive as controllersLearn moreHTC’s Vive Pro 2 bundle gives the full Vive Pro 2 kit, plus a Wireless Adapter, for $1400Learn moreA lawyer suggests on Reddit how to push Meta to restore your account if it was banned and deleted without you doing anything badLearn moreLenovo’s latest handheld console, Legion Go, supports Augmented Reality glassesLearn moreA tutorial online explains how to use opensource tools to provide captions in your application, a feature good for accessibilityLearn moreExperimental brain implant helps a paralyzed person speak through an avatarLearn moreThe Unity Cubejust shows a cube is still rocking on App Lab with a score of 4.5 in the reviews!Check it out!Funny linkFunny linkFunny linkFunny linkAlex Gonzalez VRDeoVRGenVREduardo SimanJonn FredericksJean-Marc DuyckaertsReynaldo T ZabalaRichard PennyTerry xR. SchusslerIlias KapouranisPaolo LeonciniImmersive.internationalNikk Mitchell and the great FXG teamJake RubinAlexis HuilleRaghu BathinaChris KoomenCognitive3DWisear (Yacine Achiakh)And now here you are the link to donate:Support The Red Cross in Ukraine