The Metaverse Set Off A Battle Between Tech Giants Google, Apple, Microsoft And Meta To Build Virtual And Augmented Reality Headsets
Google, Apple, Microsoft and Meta are in a heated race to get their VR/AR headsets to market at an … [+]
Facebook became Meta, launched a commercial with comical looking virtual reality characters, pitched the metaverse to the world and a modern-day Gold Rush ensued. While game makers already use forms of virtual and augmented reality, Mark Zuckerberg laid down the gauntlet that this will be the future and everyone scrambled to get their fair share of this new potentially colossal sector.
Google, Apple, Microsoft and Meta are in a heated race to get their VR/AR headsets to market at an affordable price point for widespread consumer adoption. Although, you may be able to participate and enjoy the metaverse without using the glasses and other gear.
People are under the impression that Zuckerberg and Meta own virtual reality, but it’s not true. The metaverse is wide open, similar to the internet. Intrepid entrepreneurs have started building and buying real estate in the metaverse. Andrew Kiguel, CEO of Tokens.com, a Canadian company, spent around $2.5 million on virtual property in Decentraland, a 3D-world platform. Purchases in Decentraland are conducted with an Ethereum blockchain token.
Sébastien Borget, cofounder and COO of The Sandbox, a virtual metaverse where players can play, build, own and monetize their virtual experiences, said that he feels the Ethereum-powered metaverse is a “digital nation.” The Sandbox previously announced a capital raise of $93 million in its latest funding round, led by SoftBank Group’s Vision Fund 2.
For the full metaverse experience, the big tech companies are offering headsets and equipment. Meta’s Oculus Quest 2 is one of the most accessible and affordable VR headsets currently available at around $300 to $400. The wireless device is relatively easy to use.
Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality glasses cost about $3,500. It’s not built for consumers, as of now. The headset is targeted to businesses in manufacturing, healthcare and other industries. The product originated as a headset for Microsoft’s Xbox gaming console, nicknamed Baraboo. Last week, Microsoft announced that it would purchase game maker ActivisionBlizzard for $69 billion. One of the reasons may include all of the experienced game development professionals that would be acquired in the deal, which would help Microsoft’s efforts in being a player in virtual reality.
Apple is looking into a number of ways to get into the race. The company has been ramping up its AR/VR programs over the past few years, and an augmented reality product may be launched in 2022. Hundreds of employees at the tech giant are working on AR and VR and figuring out how this new, exciting sector can be integrated with other Apple products and offerings. AR/VR hiring has increased and Apple has made some acquisitions in this space.
Google’s AR headsets, internally codenamed Project Iris, are expected to be released in 2024. Its device uses “outward-facing cameras to blend computer graphics with a video feed of the real world, creating a more immersive, mixed reality experience than existing AR glasses.” The hardware is “powered by a custom Google processor, like its newest Google Pixel smartphone, and runs on Android, though recent job listings indicate that a unique OS is in the works.”
Google Glass, the prior foray into AR, didn’t gain widespread consumer interest or adoption. The Verge says that the work on the project began to pick up speed recently. As of now, there isn’t a “clearly defined go-to-market strategy.” According to the Verge, Google is keeping the project secret, requiring “special keycard access” and “non-disclosure agreements.”
Facebook said it would hire around 10,000 workers around the world to build Meta and related products. A search on LinkedIn’s job board for “metaverse” shows thousands of listings. For people looking for fast-growing opportunities, you may want to look at pivoting into virtual and augmented reality and related opportunities in the metaverse.
This content was originally published here.