Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Americans. As Jon Stewart famously said, “let’s invite the neighbors over to dinner, kill them, and take their land.”
The big news this week is Niantic’s $300M raise and epic $9B valuation, but it is also the week I am finally figuring out NFTs. At first I thought, why buy an NFT? Just go buy crypto. There are lots of good opportunities out there for fearless speculators with superficial knowledge to make some dough. NFTs, in my view, were just digital baseball cards. Want crypto? Invest in it. Want art? Invest. But that’s a shameful oversimplification. Tony Mugavero, founder and CEO of Littlestar, now renamed Rad, set me straight in an interview I’ll publish shortly.
NFTs like Bored Ape Yacht Club, Stoner Cats, and Jenkins Yacht Valet, are examples of a type of NFT that acts as a ticket to, membership in, and/or fractional ownership of, digital content. The NFTs are limited editions, so if others want to join the club, the value of your membership NFT goes up. This way an artist can sell a portion of their future royalties to fans and raise production money, skipping the traditional gatekeepers, like studios and record labels. Imagine professional sports teams owned by NFT holders who pay a premium to have a say in the way the team is managed.
Niantic raises $300M at a $9B valuation from hedge fund Coatue. The Pokemon Go creator recently unveiled its Lightship AR Developer Kit which plugs into popular game engines, enabling developers to use occlusion, real time mapping, precise geolocation, sharing of content in real time, object recognition, and scene understanding – a semantic understanding of the world, to make mobile AR content.
Dent Reality Raises $3.4M to Bring AR Turn-by-turn Directions into Retail. The app helps shoppers find every item on their list using mobile AR with real-time guidance and information.
Nreal Light Smartglasses review. The Verge points out what anyone interested in the first low cost ($600) smartglasses (available exclusively through Verizon) ought to know. This is very much a first adopter device.
This Week in XR is now a podcast hosted by Viacom/CBS’ Futurist Ted Schilowitz and Charlie Fink, the author of this weekly column. You can find it on podcasting platforms Spotify, iTunes, and YouTube. We’re off this week, which is a great opportunity to check our our chats with Matthew Ball (META ETF), Rony Abovitz (founder of Magic Leap), Jim Heppleman (CEO of PTC), Paul Travers (founder and CEO of Vuzix), and many other thought leaders in the XR world.
What We’re Reading
Epic CEO Tim Sweeny says the Metaverse Is a multitrillion-Dollar Opportunity. (Sohee Kim/Techcrunch)