By the time you read this I will be off on a little break. Just a week but one that I’m immensely looking forward to. I’m not going anywhere, but I am instead enjoying a ‘staycation’ as people like to call it nowadays. Although it more boils down to ‘oh crap I have a lot of holiday on the books’ and I wanted to have my birthday week off. A time where I will turn 106. Or near enough that I suppose. Anyway, I’m going to go off and enjoy… well, I’m probably going to be working on videos for my videogame website if I’m honest. It’s how I spend most of my free time anyway.
Since the gang are very busy anyway and don’t need the extra fuss of having to worry about sorting out VR vs. I’ve decided to quickly put out a few more predictions for 2018 to tide us over until the week after when I can finally begin sinking my teeth into some of the things I’ve been actually wanting to write about for some time. For now though we’re back to the predictions I guess!
13) Blockchain Is Mentioned At Least 20 Times During The Oculus Connect Livestream
What is Blockchain, really? Yes, yes, de-centralised technology and a “continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography” and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But does anyone really, actually know what it is? The word blockchain is basically thrown around so much it could essentially mean anything at this point – which is in turn my point. In doing that it in turn means nothing.
The most guaranteed way for you to utterly lose my interest in what you’re doing as a company is to mention to me the word blockchain – and it’s increasingly coming in to news about virtual reality (VR). Creative Studio X will be using blockchain on their newly announced Product Y, they trumpet in press releases.
Okay then. How?
How is it being used?
Why is it important you do so?
How does it make things better?
What does it have to do with VR?
Which is why this prediction. Regardless of me being fed up with the term its use is only going to grow and you can expect to hear about it more and more. I’m not picking on Oculus specifically here, it’s going to be the case whatever and wherever but I’m guaranteed to watch all of Oculus Connect as a stream, so it’s going to be easier to measure things by this.
14) FOVE Are Acquired
If you read last year’s predications you might be getting a slight hint of déjà vu at this point. Yes, this is one of the predictions from last year, and one that didn’t come to fruition for that matter. But damn it, I’m absolutely convinced it’ll happen, simply because of how things are continuing to develop with VR and other immersive technologies. We’re hearing more and more about the possibilities with gaze-based technology and eye-tracking and that’s what FOVE is all about.
Again, it’s a company that we’ve not heard much from in recent months. The last really being a flurry of announcements in August as FOVE first were revealed as a partner in a collaboration to create a new VR emotion tracking platform with the likes of Altitude, BlueMeme and NeuroSky Japan. After which came news of another partnership, that of FOVE with German tech company Osram Semiconductors. Since then though, not a peep. Again, I do feel as though Samsung would be the most likely candidate for any subsequent takeover given what we know, but don’t rule out either Apple or Microsoft splashing the cash to secure FOVE’s creative assets and patents. Those three are the most likely candidates, as it’s not likely to be Facebook/Oculus as they already acquired The Eye Tribe. Nor is it going to be to be HTC as if they went after anyone it’d likely be Tobii.
15) Speaking Of Acquisitions, About Vuzix…
If you’ll allow me I’ll quote myself for this one, taking a paragraph from a story I wrote last month in regard to the smart glasses manufacturer and augmented reality (AR) technologies developer Vuzix.
“In the immersive technologies space, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by all that is going on. Developments move so fast, there is certainly never ever a case of there being no news at all going on. When it comes to where such updates come from, and which part of the immersive tech space they are in it (of course) varies a great deal. For some companies, studios, or developers, it can be many months if not whole seasons between hearing anything new…. At the other end of the spectrum are those companies that always seem to have an announcement up their sleeve. A new product, a new contract, a new partnership, a new release, etc, etc. These companies you’re always staggered have something else to say, they’re just so busy all the time.”
Vuzix might not be the most glamourous of the companies out there and while we’re on the subject they aren’t the biggest in terms of name, capital, or industry impact either. What they certainly are, however, is both loud and proud. When it comes to what Vuzix do they make a heck of a lot of noise about it. Making sure everyone knows what they are up to at all times. As a result, if you are in the immersive industry it is highly likely you know of Vuzix. Even if you’re unlikely to have anything expressly to do with them.
Lots of eyeballs on a company working in AR in an area of business that not many do and that keeps making a lot of noise is likely to result in some more serious interest somewhere down the line. Not that Vuzix are in any way a new company (they were established in 1997), nor have they been devoid of interest prior to this; In 2015 Intel bought 30% of the company, only for things to go rather south a year later when Intel decided to stop collaborating with them. Intel of course went on to shutter its own AR goggles brand last year as it changed up its plans with immersive technologies.
With a new year comes new funds for all and new plans and I think Vuzix would be an interesting and timely addition to a number of the bigger fish.
16) “Augmented Reality Is Dead”
The last one and let me just preface this by saying that no, that’s not my opinion. This is more a prediction about how the mood about AR will change. For some time now many pundit on tech sites and news blogs and members of the public too have been repeating the mantra that VR is done. It’s over. That the VR industry as a whole “is dead”. Well, I seem to be employed still, so I’ll beg to differ on that one. AR has been spared this scepticism and fatalistic attitude but I’m willing to bet that before the year is over that more than one major outlet will be talking about how AR is dead and over.
2017 was the year AR got built up, what with ARKit and ARCore and it won’t surprise me at all if 2018 is the year some make a concerted argument to knock it back down again.
I’ll be back next week with something different on VR vs. but until that time be sure to check out VRFocus throughout the week to find out the very latest from all over the industry and indeed all over the world.