Magic Leap did not mention during its upcoming party in Los Angeles this week that it has increased $ 2.4 billion in funding since 2011. This is because this fact can cause people to keep the company to a higher standard for the revelation of its technology and applications for mixed reality, or blending animated digital information with the physical world.
Rony Abovitz, CEO and founder of the Florida company, has correctly identified spatial computing (as some describe with the much less high words of enhanced reality) as a potential revolution in how people interact with the world. But he did not play many new friends this week by opening the show in a strange way without product announcements for over an hour.
He had his best marketer Brenda Freeman and game developer Robin Hunicke of Funomena talk about the importance of diversity and female creators before he really reminded everyone of what the product is: Magic Leap One Creator Edition.
Keynoten droned for three hours and killed the blow of all the spatial data processing faithfully in the audience.
Rio Caraeff, chief proprietor, said in an interview with me that independent game developers is extremely important to Magic Leap, like all creators out there. But Tipatat Chennavasin, general partner at The Venture Reality Fund, reminded me that Facebook invested more than $ 250 million in Oculus virtual reality apps and promised that it would invest another $ 250 million. He was disappointed Magic Leap did not do that, given the amount of money it has increased. It also did not give a real indication of when the $ 2,295 product would be a real consumer product, rather than an expensive toy for the rich.
We can cut Abovitz a little slack for his passion when he, like Facebook s Mark Zuckerberg, wants to reach more than a billion people. Abovitz could convince Neal Stephenson, author of the legendary Sci-fi novel Snowcrash, to join the Magic Leap and get out on stage. Unfortunately, Stephenson did not grow as poetic as he could have when he spent a great deal of his time talking about virtual goats.
I think of what could have been in this keynote, which seemed a little untouched. Mike Zyda, professor at the University of Southern California, Viterbi School of Engineering, said he looked at it and thought Abovitz should have studied a Steve Jobs keynote. It would have enabled him to cut the parts that seemed important, but only ballooned the keynote to the point where the only thing people remembered was that it was too long.
If we learned something from the fake start of VR in 2016, the launch of a new computing platform is a huge task. Many of the Magic Leap demos were dazzling and things of science fiction. But there were also the early demonstrations of the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. VR demos such as Ocean Rift and Bullet Time were good for showing VR to friends and relatives. Many of us did. But then the VR headset went into the cabinets and did not go out for several months. I can see that Angry Birds for Magic Leap are the same: You can view it, but you can not play it for more than an hour or so.
The error of VR was that it did not have a killer program, such as email or Twitter or Pokemon Go, forcing you to return to it every single day.
AR has the same problem as VR. A single person can see the demo in full glory, but it does not look as inspiring as anyone looks at it on a big screen. So Magic Leap is working to get as many headsets as many as possible. In fact, instead of trying to sell devices for $ 2,295, I think the company should only go all-in on site-based entertainment, as many VR companies have learned to do, where a 10 minute experience can cost $ 10.  That kind of effort is going to be expensive. But I'll remind you that Microsoft lost about $ 5 billion to $ 7 billion in the first four years of the Xbox business. The period of "investment" had to happen before business began to sink by 2005. If you are a Magic Leap investor, you start scratching your head. Wait. This one is going to sell bad, the second and the third too, and maybe the fourth model will take off?
Showing the magic
Fortunately, about halfway through the event, Abovitz showed some magic. I had seen these demonstrations the day before, but most saw them for the first time under the keynote.
Weta Workshop appeared by Dr. Grordbort's Invaders, a zany robot shooter that had been running the Peter Jackson New Zealand special effects house for 5.5 years. It was a work of amazing care and patience.
And my favorite was a demonstration of mica, a humanistic artificial intelligence that can be seen in Magic Leap One. Mica is a short-haired woman who does not speak, but still communicates in hot ways with the viewer. I put the AR glasses on my head and look through prescription posts to see the virtual overlays on the real world. Mica eyes followed my own. It was enthralling and uncomfortable.
Mica is just the tip of what can be a great shift in computing. Andrew Rabinovich, director of AI at Magic Leap, and John Monos, head of human centered AI, talked about how they see digital people and AI-based virtual avatars that become real in the coming years on the Magic Leap platform.
These avatars will be like fully embodied Amazon Alexa smart speakers. When you wonder what the song was like you enjoyed so much at the Pink Floyd concert last year, the virtual human, called the Aya in Magic Leap scene, will speak, saying it was "Another Brick in the Wall." Aya will get to know you and your feelings. If your friend Erika is over, Aya will discover that you are happy when talking with Erika, and it will save it in her AI memory, Rabinovich said.
This is spatial data processing. Your computer will not only understand you. It will understand your surroundings and who is sitting next to you and it may ask you if you both want to hear the song that you both love so much.
Magic Leap did not talk about the last part, but I'm driving with the idea of the imaginary friend who can take the form of mica or maybe just a dragon on the shoulder.
Such spatial computers, like the Wireless Oculus Quest next spring, will give us the freedom to move a room and still be fully engaged with a data processing platform. With these platforms you can swing a lightsaber into a 360 degree circle or throw a bite to a small Porg cabinet without being clamped into a wire.
"The messages we wanted to get out today are very much about – we support independent creators. We have a number of developers across a variety of industries that work on the platform. We have a long road map regarding the display of a Magicverse and how it relates to what Neal Stephenson and John Gaeta talked about how it relates to AT & T, said Caraeff.
These little things, which were many separate threads, inspired me to believe that Magic Leap does something special. I just wish they did a better job of joining the threads so that we all could believe it.