The XR Week Peek (2024.04.30): Apple Vision Pro sales decrease, Meta creates hype for its AR glasses, and more!

This summary comes a bit later than usual because I’ve been busy writing a very long post to celebrate my ten years in XR! It’s incredible to have been here for such a long time… and to have written more than 350 of these roundups of news. I hope in these 10 years to have done at least something good for you of the XR communities. I hope we’ll do also the next 10 years together…

Top news of the week

(Image by Apple)

VR is dead again because Apple Vision Pro sales have decreased

A new report by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims that the sales of the Vision Pro had a huge decrease after the initial preorders and so Apple had cut the predicted 2024 shipments for international orders. After this piece of news, all outlets started writing that the Apple Vision Pro has been a failure and that if even Apple failed, it means that VR is dead.
 We’ve been here before and I also publicly predicted that this moment would have arrived. It seems that mankind can approach new technologies only with hype or huge disappointment, usually in this exact order (Gartner framed this very well in its Hype Cycle graph). And every time this just hurts our ecosystem for no reason.
 It was predictable that the Vision Pro shipments would have decreased: all expensive AR gadgets follow the same trend. They get sold out at launch and then sales decrease, because those who wanted the device already bought it at launch. I guess people the managers at Apple know it very well: it’s impossible that the first edition of a new series of devices, which even costs the enormous amount of $3500 sells like hotcakes. And the fun thing is that it could not even sell like hotcakes, because Apple can manufacture only 500K devices a year because of supply chain issues. So, no VR is not dead, and the Apple Vision Pro is not a failure. It’s just that we need to give the technology its time to develop correctly.
 In a piece of separate news, both Gurman and Kuo agree that there won’t be a new Apple device in 2025. According to Gurman, Apple is hoping to release the Vision Pro 2 at the end of 2026. It is also trying to create a cheaper device, but it is currently failing in its mission. Probably it’s too hard to slash the price in half while keeping Apple quality levels.

More info (Decrease of sales of Apple Vision Pro)
More info (One of the many posts claiming the failure of Apple and VR)
More info (Upload VR debunking the news)
More info (Apple Vision Pro 2 in 2026)

Other relevant news

(Image by Meta)

Meta teases to showcase AR glasses that will make us go WOW

Meta’s Head of AR Glasses Hardware teased the company is going to show some AR glasses that will make us go “WOW” as the original Rift did. This statement is in line with Boz’s claiming that this year the company would have shown “the most advanced [consumer electronics device] that we’ve ever produced as a species”. I see that Meta is hyping us the next Connect with very bold statements.
 If I remember well, the rumors talked about an expensive prototype to be revealed this year with around 70° FOV based on innovative technology like MicroLED displays and lenses with silicon carbide. This device should have specifications much above the ones we are used to seeing in AR glasses, but should never go into commercialization because too expensive. The past rumors say that instead in 2027 Meta will release to the market a device with more “normal” specs, like 50° FOV and LCOS display.
 So, if the rumors are confirmed, there can actually be a wow effect, but just for a showcase product that no one will be able to use in a commercial setting. Which is cool, but… it’s just a teaser for the future. This can be a good strategy: as someone suggested to me, Apple showed that making people see what the future of technology is can be good to generate hype and give a good reputation to the brand.

More info (Meta’s AR glasses — Road To VR)
More info (Meta’s AR glasses — Upload VR)

a16z’s members show interest in XR

Jack Soslow, an investing member of Andreessen Horowitz, has published a long thread on X (Twitter) to say that the XR market is growing well so now is the right time to invest in XR or to create an XR company. Another member of the team, the partner Andrew Chen, tweeted that a16z (the shortened version of Andreessen Horowitz) is “bullish” about AR/VR and currently investing in XR. He added they also have a fund open for startups in the gaming field. This is pretty massive news and requires proper commentary.
 a16z is not just a random VC fund, it is one of the most important funds in the US and in the world. The fact that some of its members are endorsing XR so explicitly means a lot. For sure other funds are going to copy their attitude because VCs are used to following trends and hype. And they are not only talking about XR, but they also have a fund open about gaming, with AR/VR specified as very welcome technologies, meaning that they are actually putting money where they say they will.
 Mr. Soslow showed a graph of the sales of the iPhone and Quest where we could see that up to now the curves are very similar and this is one of the reasons that makes him excited. But I have also to comment that the phone and VR markets are very different: everyone has at least a use case for the phone (I mean… calling people), but there is not a clear mainstream use case for VR (with the exception of gaming). So it’s a bit like comparing pears with apples (or Apple, in this case. Sorry for the dad joke). Then at the beginning, a linear curve and an exponential curve look very similar, and in the current graph, Quest is not simulating the sharp uptake of the iPhone, yet. Still, there are many indicators that show that the XR market is growing well: for instance, Quest headsets are selling more than Xbox consoles, which is a remarkable result.
 I personally believe that we are a few years away from XR accelerating its adoption and this is coherent with what Mr. Soslow says: investors should invest in a company before they accelerate, usually 3 years before… so now it’s the right moment to start an XR company and get investments. BUT having my two feet in the field, I can tell you that at this exact moment getting investments in XR is very hard, and we will need some time before the new generation of devices (e.g. Apple Vision Pro) gets the attention of the masses, so also earning revenues is hard. So, I think that it’s true that opening an XR startup today is a good idea, but I have also to warn you that if you do, you’ll go through harsh times with little money. But if you manage to survive this phase, you may get your share of success.
 (Thanks David for the tip)

More info (Jack Soslow’s X thread about the XR market)
More info (Andrew Chen talking about a16z’s investments in XR / 1)
More info (Andrew Chen talking about a16z’s investments in XR / 2)

Meta Reality Labs increases its revenues, but it is not enough for the investors

In the latest quarterly earning call, Meta declared that its XR division Meta Reality Labs has seen a +30% year-over-year increase in revenues in Q1 2024, and this has been mostly because of Quest sales. This means that Quest 3 is continuing to sell well even after the holidays, but also that Quest 2, at the low price of $199 is also performing quite well. This is good news, but Meta’s CFO precisized that this year’s revenues are still lower than 2021’s and 2022’s ones.
 But this good piece of news was not enough to please the investors, and in fact Meta’s value went down 200 billion dollars after this event. The reason is that Zuckerberg candidly said that the company is currently burning billions in AI and XR and all these investments will have huge payoffs in the long run, but currently are just a huge amount of lost cash. Not all investors are patient, so the value of the company plummeted.
 I have to say that I appreciate Zuck’s bet on future technologies. We all know the stories of companies that did not understand the new trends and were forced to close in favor of a new innovative incumbent (e.g. Blockbuster vs Netflix). He is trying to pivot Meta to jump on the new tech trends and this may guarantee long-term survival (and profitability) for Meta. He’s risking a lot of money and irritating many investors, but this move may have huge payoffs.

More info (Meta Reality Labs increasing its revenues)
More info (Meta losing $200B in value)

Ray-Ban Meta gets Visual AI in North America

Ray-Ban Meta just got a bunch of updates, including a new model with a retro-style design and first-person view sharing in WhatsApp & Messenger calls. But the most important feature is that from now on, in the US and Canada, you will be able to use visual AI with your Ray-Ban Meta glasses. It means you can look at an object, ask a question about it, and Meta AI will analyze the image of what you are seeing and provide a contextual answer. For instance, you could look at a dog and ask what breeding it is and get an answer to this question.
 This is incredibly cool because contextual AI is what we need to have assistants in AR/MR and this is the first version of it. But at the same time, there are evident privacy concerns. Let’s see what will be the feedback of the first users after the feature has been enabled.

More info

News worth a mention

(Image by Meta)

The reactions to Meta Horizon OS news

The community reacted pretty positively to the announcement of Meta’s Horizon OS operating system, and in particular to the increased openness of the Meta ecosystem. Many people commented that this way Meta returns to be a service provider, so a software company, which is something that fits better its culture. But Mark Zuckerberg answered that Meta will still build Quest headsets, and he still envisions in the short term Quest being the most selling headset among the Horizon OS compatible ones. Developers are also happy about the news, because it means that a game shipped for Horizon OS can be sold to more people, but they have the concern that a similar game must be tested on more devices now.
 The only person not fully happy seems to be John Carmack. He’s afraid that Meta will have to spend more time and resources in guaranteeing the compatibility of the platform with all devices while the same resources could have been used to develop new innovative features for its VR headsets. Furthermore, he thinks that some of the partner headsets may have features better than Quest, which creates some sort of tension with Meta, which likes to have the best device on the market. Honestly speaking, while I understand Carmack’s concerns, I think they are negligible if Meta reaches its goal of becoming the Android of XR.

More info (HorizonOS news)
More info (Zuck confirming Meta’s commitment on Quest)
More info (Quest developers comment on the news)
More info (John Carmack comments on the news)

Meta’s OpenEQA can be one of the foundations of AR assistants

Meta has just released OpenEQA, the Open-Vocabulary Embodied Question Answering Benchmark. It measures an AI agent’s understanding of physical environments by probing it with open vocabulary questions like “Where did I leave my badge?”. Thanks to it, you could ask your AR assistant or robot assistant a question about your house (e.g. where you left a thing, or if the fridge is open) and he will be able to answer that, or to check that information via cameras installed in your place. I think this is pretty cool and will be very useful, too.

More info

MPEG standards around volumetric videos are being built

Nokia and other companies are delivering new MPEG standards specifically dedicated to volumetric videos. Having standards is very important to ensure that you can record a volumetric video with a tool and play it back with a player of another company.

More info

HaptX is researching VR for the vision impaired

HaptX, the company making highly technological VR gloves, is working on a very interesting research project targeting vision impaired people. Old Dominion University (ODU), HaptX, and Georgia Institute of Technology aim to investigate “Glove-based Tactile Streaming of Braille Characters and Digital Images for the Visually Impaired.” The team wants to transform the ways in which visually impaired individuals explore and navigate virtual environments. Wearing HaptX Gloves, users will experience precise tactile interaction with streaming digital images and objects. The goal is to create a “tangible reality” that is accessible to people whose vision is not good.

More info

Survios’s Alien game is only for Quest 3

Survios has finally unveiled some details about the Alien game it has been working on. Alien: Rogue Incursion is described as a “single-player, action-horror VR game,” with an “all-new storyline full of heart-pounding action, exploration, and terrifying Xenomorphs.”. The teaser trailer that has been released is pretty cool and there we can see that the launch period is holiday 2024. But even most interestingly, the game will be compatible only with Quest 3 and not with Quest 2. It is probably the first big game that takes this decision.

More info

Some news about content

  • Homeworld: Vast Reaches is set to launch on Quest 2 and Quest 3 on May 2nd, 2024
  • Zombie Army VR is slated to launch sometime this year on PSVR 2, Quest 2/3/Pro, Oculus Rift, and PC VR headsets via Steam. You can now enjoy a new trailer about it
  • Laser Limbo is a mixed reality game on Quest App Lab that lets you play laser tag-style games in your home, either in single or multiplayer
  • Brazen Blaze, a melee-focused 3v3 VR multiplayer game, begins a new open beta on Quest & Steam. Furthermore, it has been announced that Netvios will manage the distribution of the game in China
  • Contractors Showdown, a VR battle royale shooter that supports 60-player matches, is available now on the Meta Quest platform and Steam for $19.99
  • Subside is a VR experience for PCVR that lets you go underwater and features impressive graphics
  • MudRunner VR adapts the off-roading vehicle sim MudRunner for virtual reality, and it’s “coming soon” to Quest
  • DIG VR is a simulator game for digging, and it’s coming to Quest soon
  • CONVRGENCE is a post-apocalyptic VR survival shooter just released on Steam Early Access
  • Episode 2 of Prehistoric Planet Immersive is out now on Apple Vision Pro and it features triceratops
  • OhShape Ultimate makes its PlayStation VR 2 debut at $19.99

More info (Homeworld: Vast Reaches)
More info (Zombie Army VR)
More info (Laser Limbo)
More info (Brazen Blaze)
More info (Contractors: Showdown)
More info (Subside)
More info (MudRunner VR)
More info (DIG VR)
More info (CONVRGENCE)
More info (Prehistoric Planet)
More info (OhShape)

Some reviews of content

  • Upload defined the storytelling experience Astra as an “enjoyable adventure across the stars”
  • Upload tried the demo of Cold VR and found it a pretty cool game, that has similarities with Superhot, but requires a completely different way of playing it

More info (Astra)
More info (Cold VR)

Other news

The first Vision Dev Camp took place. I’ve never seen a picture with so many Apple Vision Pro devices in it!

Learn more

Marques Brownlee went hands-on with the Disney Holotile

Learn more

AWE started the XR Hall Of Fame to celebrate the pioneers of augmented and virtual reality

Learn more

The poetry camera doesn’t give you photos but sonnets about the things you are picturing

Learn more

Apple released OpenELM, small opensource AI models designed to run on the device

Learn more

News from partners (and friends)


Join us for one of Europe’s biggest XR hackathons, where you can connect with top professionals, showcase your projects, learn from industry leaders, and have a great time! And most importantly, also meet me :). Tickets are on sale now, and only 150 are available… first come, first served!
Learn more

Read the XR Developer News newsletter

Pieter Siekerman curates an interesting newsletter of news and updates all focused about XR development. If you are a dev like me, you should give it a look!
Learn more

Sponsored Area

No promotional messages today. Just drink something and cheer for me to celebrate my 10 years in the field. Enjoy life!
Very important link

Some XR fun

Even Apple has started trolling Brad and all the other people inhaling copium for the Valve Deckard
Funny link

You weren’t expecting today to open your browser and see an XR device meant to simulate you gulping a fish, were you?
Funny link

Damo9000 mocking Apple at his finest
Funny link

The best answer I’ve found to the statement “VR is dead”
Funny link

Donate for good

Like last week, also this week in this final paragraph I won’t ask you to donate to my blog, but to the poor people who are facing the consequences of the war. Please donate to the Red Cross to handle the current humanitarian situation in Ukraine. I will leave you the link to do that below.
 Let me take a moment before to thank anyway all my Patreon donors for the support they give to me:

  • Alex Gonzalez VR
  • DeoVR
  • GenVR
  • Eduardo Siman
  • Jonn Fredericks
  • Jean-Marc Duyckaerts
  • Reynaldo T Zabala
  • Richard Penny
  • Terry xR. Schussler
  • Ilias Kapouranis
  • Paolo Leoncini
  • Nikk Mitchell and the great FXG team
  • Jake Rubin
  • Alexis Huille
  • Raghu Bathina
  • Chris Koomen
  • Cognitive3D
  • Wisear (Yacine Achiakh)
  • Masterpiece X
  • Dimo Pepelyashev
  • Jennifer Granger
  • Jason Moore
  • Steve Biggs
  • Julio Cesar Bolivar
  • Jan Schroeder
  • Kai Curtis
  • Francesco Strada
  • Sikaar Keita
  • Ramin Assadollahi
  • Juan Sotelo
  • Andrew Sheldon
  • Chris Madsen
  • Horacio Torrendell
  • Andrew Deutsch
  • Fabien Benetou
  • Tatiana Kartashova
  • Marco “BeyondTheCastle” Arena
  • Eloi Gerard
  • Adam Boyd
  • Jeremy Dalton
  • Joel Ward
  • Alex P
  • Lynn Eades
  • Donald P
  • Casie Lane
  • Catherine Henry
  • Qcreator
  • Ristband (Anne McKinnon & Roman Rappak)
  • Stephen Robnett
  • KaihatsuJai
  • Christopher Boyd
  • Carol Dalrymple
  • Sb
  • Pieter Siekerman
  • Enrico Poli
  • Vooiage Technologies
  • Caroline
  • Liam James O’Malley
  • Hillary Charnas
  • Wil Stevens
  • Brian Peiris
  • Francesco Salizzoni
  • Alan Smithson
  • Steve R
  • Brentwahn
  • Matt Cool
  • Simplex
  • Gregory F Gorsuch
  • Matias Nassi

And now here you are the link to donate:

Support The Red Cross in Ukraine

(Header image by Apple)

The post The XR Week Peek (2024.04.30): Apple Vision Pro sales decrease, Meta creates hype for its AR glasses, and more! appeared first on The Ghost Howls.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at