Graham Devine, Chief Creative Officer at Magic Leap, consistently has an air of excitement when he gives talks about his beloved company. Yet he always has the caveat of not being able to show us anything tangible. The other day, he gave a talk at the Games For Change Festival in New York telling folks to "Have faith" that the mixed reality revolution is coming. Considering what we know of the company, this is a poignant statement. To be excited for the future Graham is laying out, you really do need faith in what he is saying because he sure isn't going to show it to you.
He went on to layout his 4 pillars of mixed reality: Games, Media, Communication and Information. This outlines just about everything we do with computers once again showing the broad aspirations of magic leap. Let's talk about these Pillars
"[The game industry] is stuck [at Mario 64] ... Sometimes we give you guns now"
According to Devine, gaming went through a distinct change when Super Mario 64 was released. It showed the world how to create a 3D game. Since that time, not that much has changed in mainstream gaming. Well, he claims there is one change, "Sometimes we give you guns now". In terms of raw game mechanics, and discounting advances in art and story, I think he is broadly correct about this. Devine went on to say Mixed Reality games are going to be a similar sea change to Super Mario 64. It will be very interesting to see what games are launched with this product with bold claims like this. Those are the games that will define the category.
Why would we want Netflix in mixed reality? This is the central question Devine uses to think about media in this context. Devine makes the bold claim that in 10 years we won't have televisions anymore. We will watch Television through mixed reality instead of on a physical television.
But that answer presupposed the success of mixed reality in the living room. To get there, there needs to be a benefit today or whenever magic leap launches. He sees this as having extra information available while watching. Who is that actor? What song is playing? Where was this shot? With an MR viewing platform, that information can be provided while simultaneously projecting the video itself.
Devine seems to imply a holoportation style communication platform on magic leap. He mentions that using avatars to communicate is increasingly popular with the younger generations. The Microsoft demo of Holoporation was incredible but it requires lots of gear to achieve. I believe Devine was hinting at an avatar based version of this. Where it isn't you exactly as you are but a reasonable facsimile. Nothing was confirmed on this front but it is exciting to speculate.
If you are 5 miles from your house and you realize you forgot your phone, would you go back for it? I would. Devine would too. He wants Magic Leap to be so useful, have such valuable information access, that it fits into this category. As a counter example, he notes that the Apple Watch is not one of these products, noting that he might not even go into his living room for it. Yes, the Apple watch is mostly uselss, but is Magic Leap going to so important that we treat it like our phones? He believes so and is striving for that goal.
If there is one take away from this talk, and all other talks we have seen from the company, it is that they are highly ambitious. They want to take the market that smartphone now hold. Is that possible? Who knows. But Graham Devines wants you to have faith.
Sis Wei has some nice notes on the presentation as well.