This Week in ARExperience
December 16, 2021 by Jon Jaehnig
- MyWebAR has added a Ready Player Me plugin allowing users to incorporate their own personalized 3D characters into their free, no-code AR experience.
- Ready Player Me also has its own news: the cross-platform avatar creation tool rolled out some fun and festive holiday clothing items for all of your virtual humans.
- Speaking of virtual humans, ICONIQ is selling “Kukli Metabots” — digitally embodied personal AIs to serve as companions in the metaverse. The individual metabots start at .101 ETH (about $380 at the time of this writing) and are available on OpenSea.
- eBay partnered with Unity to create a desktop 3D viewer so that users can see items “from every possible angle” thanks to AI-generated models.
- Nike, Inc. has acquired design studio RTFKT. RTFKT (pronounced “artefact”), started out selling NFTs of virtual sneakers. However, since then, the pandemic-born company has moved into 2D and 3D NFT profile images that have largely taken over social media.
- For yet another major industry collaboration, Universal Music Group announced a partnership with Genies to create official avatars of top performers, as well as a line of virtually-wearable NFT items. The first musicians to get avatars include Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, and Rihanna.
- Also onboard for NFTs, Spatial. The company launched as an enterprise remote work platform a few years ago and recently announced a major pivot toward NFT exhibits and cultural events in the metaverse. Included in the move: new spaces including a customizable “home” space, a revamped user interface system, and a shiny new integration with the MetaMask digital wallet.
- Spatial isn’t the only group adopting blockchain. Toronto-based 3D engine MetaVRse announced a partnership with the Hedera blockchain network.
- Also in gaming and social, Meta has announced that Horizon Worlds is finally available to users in the United States and Canada. Materials from the company say that users must be over the age of eighteen, but if Facebook doesn’t know how old a user is, Meta probably won’t either.
- A final note on gaming and social, the browser-based VR platform FRAME has announced a slew of updates including textured environments, a new interface for experimental features, and more.
Last week, we went to press while Snap’s Lens Fest was still ongoing. We got all of the major news to you in time, but we weren’t able to share the winners of the inaugural Lens fest Awards with you and promised to fill you in this week:
- Best in Art & Expression: ¡Vendedores, Presente! by Sallia Goldstein
- Best in Creativity: Rock Hand by 2020CV’s Hart Woolery
- Best in Originality: SKIN THIEF by Denis Rossiev
- Best in Technical Skill: Jig Kitchen How-To by JigSpace
- Best in Utility: Food Menu by Brielle Garcia
- Best in Environmental & Social Good: Bleached Seas by Helena Papageorgiou
- Best in Fashion & Beauty: OG MetaJacket by RTFKT STUDIOS
- Best in Information & Education: BLACKSOUL GALLERY by Leighton McDonald
- Best in Gaming: Ponk by Aden Wolf
- Also new from Snap, the first annual “Lens on the Year” report. It’s a massive report recognizing fifty lenses that made 2021 special, so we won’t list them all here but we encourage you to take a look. Even if you aren’t on the camera-based social media platform yourself, it presents in interesting look at how Snap’s massive creator community are using mobile AR.
- Also occurring last week, the annual XR Safety Week hosted by the XR Safety Initiative. The event was dedicated to open forums on topics relating to safety in immersive environments, including privacy and security. As a result, the event wasn’t “news-heavy” – though it did include the launch of the new community forum Metaverse Reality Check.
The themes for this week have to be interoperability and convergence. We’re seeing VR companies adopting NFTs, conventional companies adopting VR, VR companies working together on standards and safety, and more. It’s a good time to be in XR.