XR Update: The week's top VR, AR, and Mixed Reality news in a nutshell

XR Update: The week's top VR, AR, and Mixed Reality news in a nutshell

Palmer Luckey builds new VR headset, Gorilla Tag breaks records, Meta restructures, and the Pico 4S may be coming soon — the week's top XR news stories.


In our weekly XR Update, you can always find the most important XR news of the last five days with a short summary. If you are interested in a particular topic, click on the link to the full article in the relevant section. As usual, we provide you with background information and opinions in addition to the facts.

Have fun browsing!

XR hardware: News on VR, AR and Mixed Reality headsets

New Pico VR headset receives certification and could be unveiled soon

A new VR headset from Pico has received certification from South Korea's RRA, which often indicates an imminent launch. The model name A9210 also recently appeared in a CPU benchmark. According to the benchmark, the headset uses the same chipset as the Meta Quest 3 in combination with 12 GB of RAM. Pico itself registered the brand name Pico 4S in March. The Pico 4S could be a budget headset to compete with Meta's Quest 3S.

Oculus founder Palmer Luckey is developing a new VR headset for military and civilian use

Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus, confirmed at AWE 2024 that he is working on a new VR headset. It is driven by military requirements, but is also intended to be used for non-military purposes. Details of the headset are not known, but the informal announcement suggests that it is at an early stage of development. It is unclear whether this is a personal project or whether Luckey's defense company Anduril Industries is behind it.


Start-up Freeaim presents motorized VR shoes as an alternative to treadmills

The London-based start-up Freeaim is planning motorized VR shoes as an alternative to bulky VR treadmills. A developer kit with SDK for companies costs 5,000 US dollars. A cheaper consumer version is due to be released in 2025 and will cost a similar amount to existing VR treadmills. The omnidirectional technology is integrated directly into the sole of the shoe, which should allow for less hardware and a lower price than treadmills.

Rokid AR Lite: New AR glasses work without a smartphone

Rokid introduces AR Lite, a new product consisting of upgraded AR glasses and a wearable Android computer module. In contrast to previous models, a smartphone is no longer required as a playback device. The Rokid Station 2 computer module is based on the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 chip and runs a customized version of Android. Rokid AR Lite will be available from mid-July.

Xreal Beam Pro: New AR glasses companion with 3D video recording and versatile functions

At AWE 2024, Xreal presented the Xreal Beam Pro, a new companion device for the Xreal Air AR glasses with improved hardware and functions for creating and playing back spatial content. It runs a customized version of Android called NebulaOS and can display Android apps on its 6.5-inch 90 Hz display at 2,400 × 1,080p. With two 50 MP cameras on the back, it takes 3D photos and videos that can be viewed with in Xreal glasses. Xreal Beam Pro will be released in mid-July.

New G1 Digital Glasses smart glasses enable real-time translation and offer smart functions

Even Realities presents its first smart everyday glasses, G1 Digital Glasses. They prioritize interaction with the real world while discreetly displaying digital content. With the Even OS, it offers features such as real-time translation, turn-by-turn navigation, an AI teleprompter, hands-free note-taking, appointment reminders and collaboration with Large Language Models.


XR market and business news

Apple pauses development of Vision Pro 2, cheaper model still in the works

According to a report by The Information, Apple has halted the development of its next premium headset, the Vision Pro 2. A supplier that manufactures key components for Vision Pro has been notified accordingly. However, Apple is still working on a cheaper model with fewer functions for the end of 2025.


Reality Labs in upheaval: Meta structures new departments for Metaverse and wearables

Meta is restructuring its hardware division Reality Labs to create an integrated product experience across hardware and software. All teams will be merged into two new groups: "Metaverse" with Quest headsets, Horizon OS/Worlds and "Wearables" with AR headsets and the AI Assistant. Some management positions fell victim to the restructuring. Meta wants to reduce frictional losses and fragmentation with the new structure.

Meta Quest & Mixed Reality: Meta now promotes "lifestyle apps"

With the emergence of mixed reality, Meta sees potential for Quest apps with everyday relevance and practical benefits. A funding program has now been launched to promote such "lifestyle apps". We are looking for prototypes that help people explore their interests and communities, pursue passions, learn new things and improve their favorite activities. Example categories include fashion, design, cooking, DIY, music, and art. Applications are open from June 18, 2024.

Varjo presents teleport service for real places in VR

At AWE 2024, Varjo presented Teleport, a new service for recording and exploring real locations in VR in great detail using a smartphone and PC VR headset. Real scenes are scanned via smartphone and then reconstructed with accurate lighting, shading, and reflections using Gaussian splatting and machine learning. The scenes are displayed on Varjo headsets, other OpenXR-based PC VR devices or flat on Windows PCs.


VR games and XR apps: All the latest news

VR horror classic The Exorcist: Legion VR receives major graphics update for Meta Quest 3

The Exorcist: Legion VR is receiving an extensive update for Meta Quest 3, which publisher Fun Train describes as the biggest update to date, with over 60 improvements. These include improved visual effects for exorcist tools and environments, seamless room transitions, dynamic shadows, multiple light sources, improved audio, updated character models and animations, and new gameplay mechanics. The free update is available now.

VR multiplayer game Mannequin released for PC-VR with crossplay

The asymmetrical VR hide-and-seek game Mannequin by Fast Travel Games was released on June 20 as an Early Access version on Steam for PC VR headsets. At a reduced introductory price of just under $20, it offers cross-play with the updated meta-quest version. Both versions will receive all four levels with a final design, UI changes and a new progression system with badges and a reporting tool at launch. Another major update with new modes and functions is set to follow soon.

Mixed reality puzzle game Infinite Inside to be released in July for Meta Quest 3 and Apple Vision Pro

Maze Theory announces the release of its mixed reality puzzle adventure Infinite Inside for July 12, 2024, to coincide with the worldwide launch of the Apple Vision Pro. It will also be released for Meta Quest 3, 2 and Pro as well as Pico 4 with mixed reality support. A VR-only version is coming for PlayStation VR 2 and SteamVR.

VR game Gorilla Tag breaks records with over 1 million daily and 10 million total players

Gorilla Tag has become a VR phenomenon and, according to developer Another Axiom, has impressive user numbers. It reached over 1 million daily users, more than 3 million monthly users and over 10 million individual users in total. Players spend an average of just under 60 minutes per session with the game. The turnover is over 100 million US dollars.


Gracia brings Gaussian Splats to Quest 3 — gimmick or awesome?

Gaussian splatting is a rendering technique based on machine learning that creates a walk-in digital 3D copy from photos of a real location. The start-up Gracia AI has developed a fast pipeline for this, which even runs on the self-sufficient Meta Quest 3, albeit with limitations in terms of resolution and content. The vision is a platform for volumetric media like a "YouTube for Gaussian splats". We have tested Gracia on Quest 3.

Overview of all XR updates to date