Warner Bros., Legendary investments in Magic Leap’s VR may not immediately pan out, report says

Magic Leap in general promises to overlay real-looking digital elements into a real environment. Image: Magic Leap

Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment are two of the many high-profile investors that have pumped a total of $1.4 billion into secretive virtual reality startup Magic Leap. However, according to a new report from The Information, those venture funding dollars may not pay off anytime soon because the company’s VR technology is not as advanced as Magic Leap has suggested.

According to The Information, Magic Leap’s VR technology is not as advanced as Microsoft’s HoloLens headset, as the Verge noted. Further, according to The Information’s report, some of Magic Leap’s most notable product demonstration videos were actually created by a special effects company.

Specifically, a video from Magic Leap showing employees shooting monsters in an office setting was entirely created by the digital effects company Weta Workshop, and was not an actual demonstration of the company’s technology.

That runs counter to the company’s claim in the video that “this is a game we’re playing around the office right now.”

Instead, according to the report, Magic Leap’s technology still requires a bulky helmet that must be tethered to a computer—a setup that’s nowhere near the glasses the company has promised. In comparison, the Verge noted, Microsoft’s HoloLens sells today for $3,000 and does not need to be tethered to a computer.

Magic Leap in general has promised to overlay real-looking digital elements into a real environment. For example, the company’s website shows a whale bursting out of the floor in a school’s gymnasium.

The Verge noted that Magic Leap did not respond to questions about the report from The Information.

Warner Bros. participated in a $793.5 million round of funding into Magic Leap in February, and Legendary participated in a $542 million round in 2014.

To be clear, Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment aren’t the only media companies investing in the VR space, and Magic Leap is by no means the only player garnering funds. For example, 21st Century Fox led a $58 million investment in mobile AR/VR smartglasses maker Osterhout Design Group. And separately, the NFL has begun offering football highlights in VR, while Google announced that HBO Now and HBO Go are now available on its Daydream VR device.

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