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Niantic breaks the fourth wall, twice 

8th Wall bought by Niantic. Photo credit: Niantic.

By Tom Ffiske
VR/AR and metaverse analysis every Wednesday and Sunday // 13 March 2022 

Slightly delayed newsletter as I am wiped with Covid at the moment. Didn’t expect that.

Supported by:

Black Public Media

Niantic acquires 8th Wall

Let’s talk about Niantic acquiring 8th Wall. A big move, but one that complements Niantic’s vision like slotting a jigsaw piece into a complete picture. In terms of strategy, their blog post had one snippet which neatly summarised why 8th Wall is a great fit: 

  • “With our Lightship platform, launched globally in November last year, we’re offering all developers the world’s largest immersive canvas to bring their creations to life on a massive scale. 8th Wall greatly complements our vision for Lightship, and we plan to expand our developer platform tools with their proven WebAR technology.”

So this is all for Lightship, their platform that sits at the heart of their strategy. And it makes perfect sense. Arming developers with the right tools means they can make good experiences. 8th Wall also has high ratings for their platform, innovating it so that devs (and partner companies) can use it for their work. 

What alternatives did Niantic have? Zappar and Blippar come to mind, offering their own WebAR solutions. Who knows what discussions happened behind closed doors (the transaction has not been disclosed), but it is a neat fit in any case. 

Niantic wants to build the ‘real-world metaverse,’ an overlay of reality that brings people together. Of all the metaverse interpretations I have seen recently, it is one I am particularly fond of. With the acquisition of 8th Wall, it will help the company come closer towards providing devs with a suite of tools to build experiences for people. 

Supported by Black Public Media

The BPMplus Initiative aims to increase the participation of Black filmmakers and artists working in XR, AI, 3D, and other forms of emerging-tech storytelling. 

BPMplus programs include: Immersive Day at PitchBlack 2022, the MIT & Black Public Media Visiting Artists Program, the Nonso Christian Ugbode Fellowship, XR mixers and classes, BPMplus Fellowships, and Pop-up XR Theaters.

Learn more about BPMplus here.

Black Public Media

Q&A: I believe AR will form a key part of the metaverse

David Goldman, VP of Marketing at Lumus

What is your background?
I got started in marketing in Los Angeles and San Francisco during the dotcom boom, working with eBay and Google on the agency side. Since then I’ve worked with major software and product developers for both the consumer and B2B markets on a global scale. For me, the heart of marketing has always been strategic messaging and branding—hearing ten messages and knowing which one resonates. Lumus has an exciting message: Lumus is an AR optics company that has developed the most important display technology the world has ever seen. We are solving not only an optics challenge but also a mechanics and fashion challenge. Building the Lumus brand has meant helping an innovative company become an industry leader.

What are you working on, and what’s a key learning that you’ve had from it? 
The AR hardware space is heating up now after many years. Now the Tier 1 companies are serious about shipping products over the next two to five years. These days I’m immersed in bringing our recent 2D pupil expansion waveguide displays into the spotlight. We always had the best performing tech, but the competition had a leg up on us with the aesthetic. Since introducing our 2D waveguides, we have been able to significantly shrink the footprint of our projection module, allowing for a host of competitively natural-looking products. I’ve also learned a ton about how we manufacture and focused on our supply chain including SCHOTT in Germany and Quanta Computer in Taiwan to show our prices are consumer-friendly.

I think it’s amazing that a simple, ancient tool like the mirror is the key to the world’s most advanced AR display. I’ve learned all about this incredible technology, and how significant it is to the future of the metaverse or Web 3.0. My mission is making sure the entire AR world understands that, too.

If you had to give one piece of advice, what would you give? 
I think we all agree that the metaverse is coming, and it will have a huge impact on everyday life. So my advice would be to keep your eye on augmented reality. AR is the only way to experience the metaverse AND engage with the real world simultaneously. At the same time, as with any new technology, users will need to create boundaries and try to limit their usage so it doesn’t come at the expense of daily life, but enhances it.

If you want to know more about David Goldman then click here to find out more.  

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Meditative with the VIVE Flow. Photo credit: Tom Ffiske

Tom Ffiske

Editor, Immersive Wire

Tom Ffiske is the Editor of the Immersive Wire, a twice-weekly newsletter on the immersive industry.