This Week in ARExperience
November 11, 2021 by Jon Jaehnig
- A collaboration between RTFKT Studios and Daz 3D was announced. Together, NFT platform RTFKT (best known for the “crypto punks” project) and 3D modeling studio Daz 3D will develop software for 3D avatars for use in gaming and social metaverse applications.
- In related news, Apes are in Decentraland – kind of. As of November 14, the first generation of 3D apes is coming, but these are apes made by Apes 3D, not Yuga Labs, the studio that took the social media and crypto worlds by storm with the Bored Apes Yacht Club. A collaboration between Yuga and Decentraland would be interoperability, but to some this might feel more like counterfeit.
8th Wall announced the Reality Engine for creating immersive experiences that work across mobile devices as well as desktop webXR and headsets, and debuted it with “the first immersive, cross-platform web game” made in collaboration Aircards and Ready Player Me.
- 8th Wall also launched a new “Discover Hub” that lets users browse 8th Wall Powered experiences.
Niantic also rolled out their Lightship Platform for creating shared AR experiences. The highly anticipated software developer’s kit had been announced months ago but remained in closed beta until earlier this week.
- The company also announced Niantic Ventures, an investment branch for “discovering the AR leaders of the future.
- Logistics company DB Schenker has partnered with remote presence platform Avatour. The partnership, allowing virtual warehouse tours and more was inspired by the pandemic but is likely to end up a long-term move, with DB Schenker representatives calling the partnership “a new dimension of digitization.”
- Qualcomm has acquired hand tracking company Clay AIR and launched Snapdragon Spaces to select developers. The full release is expected next year. Companies currently working with the platform include Lenovo and DT.
- Game studio Chicken Waffle has created XRswim, curated VR content including games, web experiences, education, and entertainment. Also, the company’s “VR Baby Simulator” is coming to PSVR on Thanksgiving.
- VR studio Resolution Games announced that it will create a branch dedicated to the development of AR titles.
- Unity has “entered a definitive agreement” to acquire Weta Digital, the digital effects company best known for Avatar and the Planet of the Apes films. Under the agreement, Weta would remain its own standalone company but Unity would gain access to its engineers and software “to deliver tools to unlock the full potential of the metaverse.”
The biggest takeaways from this week’s XR news come from the engines and developer kits announced by 8th Wall, Qualcomm, and Niantic. All of these tools offer not only ways for more people to create more experiences and more robust experiences, but also more ways for those experiences to reach the end user – regardless of what kind of technology that end user may have.
“Democratization” has been an idea in XR for some time, and it usually means making experiences easier to create; however, removing the barrier for the user as well as the creator definitely helps the XR community to scale – and that’s better for everyone.