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Magic Leap’s hype has finally soured

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The hardware is more Luna Lovegood than Ready Player One

Magic Leap

Magic Leap has enjoyed massive buzz for years based more on its high levels of funding and secretive nature than anything concrete, but the company has finally shown off its upcoming mixed reality goggles today.

They look goofy, the marketing doesn’t do much to show off what can or can’t be done and the technology seems to have at least some of the shortcomings of Microsoft’s HoloLens displays, including the limited field of view.

The jargon-heavy but ultimately detail-light piece on Glixel may end up being more damaging than helpful in getting people excited about the technology.

While the bedrock of that technology may be solved, Abovitz acknowledges the delivery of the experience still hasn’t been perfected when I bring up the limited field of view. He says that the company is still fine-tuning the experience. “Field of view we think is, we’d call it workable and good for ML1,” he says of what will be the first consumer headset. “It is one of the things we will continue to iterate on in Magic Leap 2 and 3 and beyond. And there is sort of a point where you hit a form factor and a field of view … where you are sort of done there.”

Anyone else inspired by the possibilities of the future? There is no release date and no price, but we do know that there is sort of a point where ... you are sort of done there.

2018 doesn’t seem to be the actual release date, but the year in which the company will release something that is aimed more at developers and “brands” than the mainstream. The Glixel story describes Abovitz’s feeling that the first release is “workable and good,” which seems to fall a little short of the company’s breathless hype.

This is an image from the company’s official site:

Magic Leap

Here is Facebook’s Nate Mitchell showing of the Oculus Rift’s avatars in 2016:

The Verge

Here is Magic Leap’s official site:

Magic Leap

This is Microsoft showing off Minecraft using the HoloLens in 2015:

This is Magic Leap’s site:

Magic Leap

Here’s HoloLens!

Here’s Magic Leap’s site:

Magic Leap

Here’s HoloLens in 2015:

Magic Leap is announcing ideas and concepts that are already crusty in the VR and AR world while getting lost in technical terms when it tries to explain why we should care this time. It’s exciting because they’re excited, and we should be excited too, even if they can’t explain much about what’s going on.

“Despite not answering a number of key questions, the day spent wandering the hallways and byways of Magic Leap left me with a much clearer sense of what the company was up to, that it wasn't just about the headset, or even the light field tech that's driving it,” the Glixel story says. “Magic Leap, in releasing their system to the world is combing a slew of technologies into something that could one day reinvent the way we deal with all technology.”

Are you ready to sign up to be told when you can pre-order the developer kit? Because nothing gives me a clearer sense of what a company is up to more than not answering key questions.

Magic Leap is showing off mockups of ideas from the past few years in VR and AR, and the company could learn that it takes a bit more than that to get people excited in 2017. Let’s hope it has something, anything, else to announce soon after it finds out big words and promises aren’t enough.