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New Horizons for XR Studios: A Glimpse into the Resurgence of Immersive Content

Updated: Oct 12, 2023

By Trent Clews-de Castella

Co-founder & CEO at Phoria

In recent times, the tech behemoth, Apple, has been meticulously carving a niche in the realm of Spatial Computing, with the much-anticipated launch of the Vision Pro serving as a testament to its ambitions. This innovative stride isn’t an isolated endeavour but part of a greater narrative executed through strategic acquisitions and technological advancements over the last five years. A remarkable 33% of these acquisitions encapsulate fundamental technologies pivotal to enhancing Apple’s trinity of software, hardware, and content strategy for spatial computing. This proactive approach is set to galvanise a new wave of Extended Reality (XR) adoption, promising a resurgence of demand and opportunities for XR Studios.

The acquisitions made by Apple over the last half-decade have been nothing short of strategic. Companies like NextVR, Spaces, VRsenal, Vrvana and Akonia Holographics have been brought under Apple's umbrella, each bringing a unique flavour of immersive technology to the table. NextVR, for instance, specialises in live-streaming virtual reality experiences, offering a glimpse into the future of live events. On the other hand, Spaces excels in 3D mapping and augmented reality technologies, setting the stage for creating and sharing virtual maps of indoor environments.

The significance of these acquisitions extends beyond mere corporate consolidation. They underline Apple’s vision to foster a more interactive and immersive digital landscape. The Vision Pro is a manifestation of this vision, encapsulating cutting-edge technology to redefine user engagement. The innovation doesn’t stop at hardware; it transcends to a broader spectrum of content opportunities that XR Studios can capitalise on.

The upcoming release of Vision Pro heralds a new era of content creation and storytelling. The synergy between the hardware capabilities of Vision Pro and the software ingenuity from Apple’s acquisitions creates a fertile ground for XR Studios like PHORIA. We now have the opportunity to pioneer the new wave of XR adoption, leveraging the expansive ecosystem that Apple has meticulously crafted.

The acquisition of Akonia Holographics with its holographic display technologies, particularly underscores the vast canvas now available for content creators. They can now venture into realms like augmented reality apps, holographic storytelling, and much more with the backing of a robust and intuitive platform.

The narrative of spatial computing is further enriched by Apple’s collaboration with industry giants like The Walt Disney Company and Unity. These alliances are not mere endorsements; they are gateways to a plethora of content opportunities, ranging from immersive storytelling to high-quality content production. XR Studios stands at the cusp of this transformative journey with the tools and the platform to create, innovate, and deliver captivating experiences.

Unity has landed in a lot of hot water recently, receiving immense backlash from the community based on some poor cash-grab decisions. It is indeed committed to improving its engine and platform to pioneer spatial applications for games, storytelling and enterprise industries. Our team have been tirelessly building spatial experiences on Unity for the Quest line of VR and MR headsets, alongside testing the latest Vision OS simulator to get a good grasp on where Apple plans to take things. With this in mind, the prospect and vision for an App store equivalent for XR studios that can grow billion-dollar businesses from releasing a 3rd party application on the store is incredibly exciting.

Now we are at least a decade away from these unicorn studios taking flight off into the sunset. Given that many studios have been surviving this last decade on the smell of some oily VR rags, even a slow and gradual growth within the ecosystem is undoubtedly welcome with open arms and a loving embrace.

Furthermore, the continual advancement in 3D mapping and data technologies, as reflected in Apple’s acquisition spree, opens up new vistas in maps and navigation tools. The convergence of real and digital realms through enhanced mapping technologies sets the stage for a more intuitive and interactive user engagement model. We envision contractors walking through buildings in a Vision Pro and gathering a plethora of spatial data that can be post-processed to generate unique insights around a space and eventually have those spaces activated with real-world aligned experiences and information.

In conclusion, the stage is set for a renaissance in the XR domain, with Apple’s Vision Pro serving as the catalyst. Studios like PHORIA have been putting in the hard work and practising a level of patience that embodies the values of good things come to those who wait. In 2024, we will witness many new studios launch into action armed with an enriched ecosystem of hardware, software, and content creation tools, all poised to pioneer this new wave of XR adoption.

As we anticipate the launch of Vision Pro, the horizon is imbued with boundless possibilities. The synergy between Apple's strategic acquisitions and the innovative thinking of XR Studios has helped shape a narrative of empowerment, innovation, and a promising future in the immersive technology domain.

Are you ready for the XR revolution of spatial computing?


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