Market Reality: NFT & AR Converge with Atari, MF Doom & Virtual Homes, Plus Samsung Partners with Snapchat

Snapchat may trail Facebook and Instagram in terms of daily active users, but a new partnership with Samsung may get those innovative AR Lenses onto the mobile devices of a lot more users.

Non-fungible tokens, perhaps the hottest segment of the blockchain tech industry at the moment, has always appeared destined to be on a collision course with augmented reality. Over the past week, we saw several examples of how these technologies can work together with NFTs from gaming brand Atari, to hip-hop legend MF Doom.

Meanwhile, Facebook Reality Labs took a brief pause from its research and development on AR smartglasses to provide a peek at how a wrist-wearable device could provide more natural interactions with AR interfaces.

We also spoke with a leading AR content platform executive and a Canadian artist about NFTs and AR art, among other things…

Samsung Integrates Snapchat into the Camera of Its Latest Smartphones

During this week’s unveiling of the new Samsung A Series of smartphones, much of the focus was on the high-end features at a more affordable price as the South Korean tech giant looks to regain its status as the world’s top smartphone maker versus Apple’s iPhone.

But buried in the range of features mentioned in the new Samsung A Series was a surprising and very big feature addition: native Snapchat augmented reality lenses.

Continue reading to learn more about the partnership and what it means for the growth of Snapchat’s AR platform

Image via Samsung

REALITY BITES: Snapchat parent company Snap acquired Berlin-based Fit Analytics for an undisclosed amount. The Berlin-based company makes Fit Finder, a machine learning platform that helps customers choose clothing that matches their measurements and preferences. Considering Snapchat’s addition of AR virtual try-on features and e-commerce tools like Shoppable AR, it will be interesting to see how Fit Finder fits in.

Atari Publishes Snapchat Try-on Lens to Preview NFT Sneakers

When you’re talking about collectibles, in 2021 it’s heresy not to include the world of sneakerheads. Nowadays, a single, limited batch of newly designed sneakers from Nike can quickly sell out and then go on to be resold for many thousands more than they were purchased for at launch.

Predictably, the sneakerhead world is now converging with the hot new world of NFT (non-fungible tokens) auctions. One of the most recent and prominent auctions comes in the form of a concept Atari sneaker that looks like something out of a retro science fiction film.

Read further for more details on what you’ll be able to do with the virtual sneakers and how to try them on for yourself

Image via RTFKT

REALITY BITES: In other AR/NFT news, blockchain company Liquid Avatar Technologies, AR platform maker ImagineAR, digital NFT art studio Oasis Digital Studios, and creative digital agency McCartney Multimedia have joined forces to develop AR NFTs for entertainment and lifestyle brands. McCartney Multimedia is run by Ruth McCartney, sister of legendary musician and songwriter Paul McCartney.

MF Doom Estate Nets Over $1.6 Million at AR NFT Auction

The hype surrounding non-fungible tokens (NFTs) has reached astronomical levels over the past few weeks, and now the technology has intersected with augmented reality’s orbit in a fantastic way.

NFT marketplace Illust Space has conducted a crypto auction featuring limited AR masks autographed by the late MF Doom.

Keep reading for more details on the auction results and how AR NFTs appear to the future of monetizing art and entertainment

Images by Tommy Palladino/Next Reality

REALITY BITES: Magic Leap has named Tracy Trewin as its new chief product officer. A former director of engineering at Microsoft, Trewin has experience in “incubating new technologies and building global, cross-disciplined engineering teams.”

NexTech AR Exec Paul Duffy Talks About Holograms, Smartglasses & NFTs

One of the companies leading the charge to help brands and individuals offer and experience AR via mobile devices is Toronto-based NexTech AR.

The company is attempting to address a range of immersive segments, including helping companies to hold virtual events, facilitating holographic performances, and even diving into the virtual try-on space, which has exploded in recent years.

Read further for our conversation with NexTech President Paul Duffy covering a wide range of topics from holographic performances, to smartphone and tablet AR versus head-worn AR devices, to the future of AR smartglasses, and we even explored how the NFT world is quickly merging with the world of AR

REALITY BITES: Facebook and Google each lost a key member of their respective AR/VR teams recently. Pokémon GO maker Niantic has hired Jonny Thaw, formerly director of product marketing for Facebook Reality Labs, as vice president of communications. Meanwhile, controversial fintech company Robinhood lured away Aparna Chennapragada to become its first chief product officer. Chennapragada was formerly the vice president of consumer shopping and led the launches of Google Lens, Live View for Google Maps, and 3D content in Google Search.

Facebook Previews Brain Control Wristband for AR Smartglasses

While Apple has been rather secretive about its work on AR wearables (despite the abundance of leaks revealing details about their unannounced devices), Facebook has been rather chatty about its plans for smartglasses.

The company’s latest missive on its AR wearables development focuses not on the smartglasses but on a peripheral that would improve gesture recognition for virtual interfaces.

Continue reading to learn more about the wristband that Facebook expects to improve hand gesture recognition for its forthcoming AR smartglasses

Image via Facebook Reality Labs

REALITY BITES: The national processor shortage has reportedly hit leading chipmaker Qualcomm, who is seeing increased demand from Android smartphone makers. The company is having difficulty sourcing subcomponents of their processors. Considering that Qualcomm has positioned its XR1 and XR2 chips for smartglasses and AR/VR headsets, these shortages could have an impact on the go-to-market plans for AR wearables makers.

Artist Who Sold Virtual Home for $500,000 NFT Plans AR Version

The NFT space is moving so fast that if you’re not already engaged, you’ve probably already missed several history-making events.

One of those events happened this week with the sale of Mars House, a virtual home that sold for over $500,000, which is more than many real-world homes that you can actually live in.

Rather than hold a one-on-one conversation with Mars House creator Krista Kim, we decided to open it up by holding it on Clubhouse, the audio chat app that has recently sparked excitement after high-profile visits from the likes of tech billionaires like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg. Continue reading for the full discussion

Image via Krista Kim

REALITY BITES: Gaming giant Square Enix will adapt Taito Corporation’s classic arcade title, Space Invaders, as a mobile AR game. The announcement is extraordinarily vague, promising only AR gameplay in the physical realm “in a new and delightful way” where you “defend the world against an invasion wielding the magic of AR and the power of mobile devices,” whatever that means. The teaser trailer features images of the game’s aliens appearing as graffiti in the real world, which infers that the game could be another Pokémon GO clone, though that would hardly be a new approach.

Every Friday, Next Reality reviews the latest headlines from the financial side of augmented and mixed reality. This weekly Market Reality column covers funding announcements, mergers and acquisitions, market analysis, and the like. Check out previous editions of Market Reality for more news you may have missed.

Cover image via Samsung