New Year’s Eve in virtual reality, what to expect at CES

Tom Faber, who covers nightlife for the NY Times, spent time find community and freedom on the virtual dance floor in VR chat. He says “there are dozens of parties happening on VRChat, a platform where users assume fantastic avatars of their own design.” The places he talks about are for PC-powered VR. Quest users have their own entertainment to look forward to as top DJ Diesel (Shaquille O’Neil) hosts an hour-long event featuring performances from Cardi B, Ludacris, Lil Yachty, Killer Mike and Whipped Cream. Shaq’s New Year’s Eve event will premiere Saturday, December 31 at 3:30 p.m. PT, in VR in Meta Horizon Worlds and on Meta Quest TV, available in the Meta Quest 2 headset, as well as on O’ Facebook and Instagram. Neal pages and in Messenger’s Watch Together. Alspace is hosting a free rave all day and all night.

CES, the largest trade show in the world, takes place in Las Vegas from January 4 to 7. AI is having a moment, and will no doubt be the star of this year’s show. Companies will go out of their way to demonstrate how they are using AI to improve their products. From smart home devices to self-driving cars, AI has the potential to revolutionize the way we live and work, but no one knows exactly how it will work. The show, virtual in 2021, Delta-shrinked in 2022, still won’t be back to its 2020 record size of 175,000. Organizers are expecting 100,000, which will still feel like a crowd. Although masking is not necessary, given that Covid is in full swing in Asia, only the daredevils will roam the huge exhibition floors without a mask.

XR will be well represented at CES Forbes’ Andrew Williams says to keep an eye out for Sony’s Playstation VR2, HTC’s new standalone headset teased last week, and Somnimum Space’s VR1. Microsoft and Magic Leap will both be on hand in the central lobby, along with Vrgineers, Xtal, Pimax, and Vuzix. Cannon introduces cinematic virtual reality. We have scheduled private suite demos with Real Wear, Dimenco, Lumus and Digilens. Meta offers journalists private time with Quest Pro and Ray Ban Stories. A new high definition headset from Sharp is also expected.

I may have started a vexing trend by asking Is virtual reality in a perilous place? after Meta admitted that VR HMD sales were slowing. Thus began a trend of negative year-end stories. The Metaverse is off to an ominous start after VR headset sales drop in 2022 says CNBC. 2023 could be the metaverse’s breakthrough year added CNet. Meta, however, can still laugh heartily this Christmas. On December 25, the Quest app was number 1 on the App Store.

Variety Daily says Nreal AR glasses deliver on the promise of transforming the on-the-go lifestyle The portable second display that attaches to lightweight bezels that mirror the smartphone screen as a massive 201-inch Micro-Led second display for gaming and other content sells for $319. The Beijing-based augmented reality technology company will not be exhibiting at CES this year. In 2020, they were the talk of the show.

This week in XR is also a podcast hosted by the author of this column, Ted Schilowitz, and Rony Abovitz, founder of Magic Leap. This week we’re home for the holidays, so there’s no show, but listen to our 2022 roundup and 2023 predictions with Venture Beat lead author Dean Takahashi on December 16. We’ll be back the first week of January from CES. We can be found on Spotify, iTunes and YouTube.

What we read

The end of the Silicon Valley myth The companies that define our digital lives have hit a wall. (Brian Merchant/The Atlantic)

The technology we’re most looking forward to in 2023 (Chris Morris/Fast Company)

Immersive augmented reality for consumers is ‘about five years away,’ says Magic Leap CEO (Tiernan Ray, ZDnet)

This week at Schadenfreude

How Meta Blew Its First Year As A Metaverse Company (Karissa Bell/Engadget)

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