Sometime in 2018-2019, we're going to get to the point where a company called Magic Leap are going to release the next big thing in consumer electronics, a mixed reality headset that only a handful of people in the world have used so far.
This hasn't stopped the company from spending $1 billion "perfecting a prototyping" that projects an image onto your retina using an optics system that is built into a magical piece of semitransparent glass. Magic Leap's headset, which still doesn't have a name, will also double as a data-gathering device blasting images onto your retina.
Magic Leap will constantly gather information, scanning your room for items and obstacles, listening for your voice and any other voices in the room, eye-tracking, and it also keeps an eye on your hand movements. This is where things get cool, as Forbes report that the mixed reality objects displayed are "aware of their environment and have the ability to interact with the real-world". They continued, adding: "On Magic Leap's hardware a Pokémon might escape capture by ducking behind your couch or, assuming you live in a "smart" home, turning off your lights and hiding in the dark".
Better yet, it sounds like Magic Leap has plans to not just lead the future of entertainment and games, but billionaire founder of Legendary Entertainment (yeah, the movie company) Thomas Tull teases: "This is a different way of interacting with the world, a new generation of computers. I think this will end up being a very, very important company".
Who the hell is Magic Leap? They're a small South Florida-based startup led by founder and CEO Rony Abovitz, who has operated the company in complete secrecy since it was founded in 2011. This hasn't stopped the company raising large sums of money from various investors like Alibaba (who does nearly $300 billion of business per year), Google, and more.
Magic Leap reportedly raised a record level of C round investing earlier this year with $794 million on a valuation of $4.5 billion, all on a company that hasn't launched a commercial product yet. It was led by Alibaba, with Google and Qualcomm Ventures also throwing some money onto the pile. There were exciting new investors that were also paying attention, including Warner Bros, Fidelity, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley, T. Rowe Price and Wellington Management Co..
In the earlier prototyping stages of Magic Leap, Abovitz said that not-so-confident investors went from "This is impossible", to "We want in". James Joaquin from Obvious Ventures, a San Francisco-based venture capital fund he founded with Evan Williams (of Twitter) and a third partner said: "We invested in Magic Leap because we believe their lightfield technology is the next big inflection point in technology after the PC, the Web and the smartphone. It has the potential to transform multiple global economic categories, including entertainment, education and productivity".
The startup might sound small, but they opened a massive new 259,000-square-foot campus in October 15 which houses most of the 850 employees that will be there by the end of the year. The rest are found in offices throughout the world.
What I want to know: are AMD and NVIDIA working with Magic Leap, and if so - in what capacity? I doubt we'd ever find out, but I do have one big statement to make: consoles are dead. We're going to have fully immersed worlds with VR, AR and mixed reality - all from tiny devices while high-end gaming is taken care of by the GPUs of 2018 and beyond. Am I excited? That's an understatement.
The entire article at Forbes is an amazing read by David M. Ewalt, so be sure to check it out.