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Magic Leap is real and it’s a janky marvel


After years of speculation, some mockery, and more than a little befuddlement, the Magic Leap augmented headset is arriving in the hands of developers and users — and its first product is a somewhat janky piece of magic.

After officially announcing the availability of the product for pre-orders last month,  the company is pulling back the curtains on all of the prestidigitation it’s been cooking for the past several years. 

The company’s first developer conference is slated for tomorrow, with a keynote bright and early in the morning, but the $2.3 billion dollar augmented reality headset manufacturer let a slew of VIPs, media types (including your humble reporter) take a look at the first official content partnerships to come from its formerly super secret studios.

Development studios like Weta Workshop (whose partnership began with Magic Leap nearly a decade ago) and Wingnut AR (the augmented reality development studio founded by Peter Jackson) have revealed new games that involve battling robots and spider infestations (respectively); while the medical imaging company Brainlab and the direct to consumer furniture retailer and design consulting service, Wayfair, pitched their augmented reality wares to show the business use case for Magic Leap’s magic leap into virtual reality.

In all some sixteen companies pitched demos at the curtain-raising event today.

Earlier this afternoon Weta just debuted their augmented reality game as a preview to the Magic Leap conference and it’s impressive. The robot battling Dr. Grordbort’s Invaders is the clearest vision of what Magic Leap’s platform can do.

Magic Leap teased the two companies’ vision for what immersive augmented game play could like in its promotional materials for years, but the culmination of the development work the two have undertaken is about three to five hours of gameplay battling robots that appear from the walls and floors and doors of any room. It’s (pardon the easy pun) magic.

According to Weta games director Greg Broadmore, the final game is the result of six years of collaboration between the creative studio and Magic Leap.

Rony Abovitz, Magic Leap’s visionary chief executive, first reached out to Weta with a vision for “Our Blue” a far-reaching, immersive, science fiction-influenced immersive world that Abovitz wanted Weta to help realize. Abovitz kept in touch with the Weta team and as he began putting the pieces together for Magic Leap, brought the studio on board to develop content.

Dr. Grodbort’s is the first fruits of that partnership and it’s pretty stunning.