Magic Leap shifts its strategy for augmented reality

Now that the metaverse is finally getting real, Magic Leap isn’t playing games.

When the mysterious augmented-reality venture was founded back in 2010, the idea was to transform the consumer market with a goggle-eyed headset that would let users play with robotic digital gremlins and a virtual solar system. Over the course of a decade, the Florida-based company raised $2.6 billion in funding — and opened a Seattle engineering office led by science-fiction writer Neal Stephenson.

That was then. This is now: The Seattle office was closed amid controversy in 2020, and Magic Leap is now taking aim at the enterprise market for augmented reality, or AR, rather than the consumer market.

At this week’s GeekWire Summit, Magic Leap’s chief technology officer Julie Larson-Green acknowledged that times have changed.

“There was a lot of money spent going after the consumer AR market,” she said. “It was definitely early, and a lot of money was spent on R&D, and it’s a completely different company now.”

Just last week, Magic Leap put its second-generation AR device on the market, with three models at price points between $3,299 and $4,999.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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