Meta Connect 2023 Recap: 5 Insights from Immersive's biggest event

Liam Broza
October 11, 2023

Having just attended the much anticipated Meta Connect, we're excited to share our firsthand insights on the innovations and future trajectory of the immersive industry.

1. Meta vs. Apple Vision Pro:

As competition in the immersive industry heats up, Meta made it clear they aren't holding back. While Apple's Vision Pro teases exciting advancements and new interest in AR, Meta’s Quest 3, by our assessment, might just be leading the pack. Although not as all-encompassing as Apple's promises, the Quest 3 symbolizes a monumental achievement in consumer-grade standalone immersive tech, making extended reality (XR) truly viable in everyday use.

2. Meta’s Defined Roadmap:

The new Quest 3, revamped version of Ray-Ban glasses, and introduction of Meta AI illustrated a transparent overview of Meta's strategy for the coming years. Their accentuated focus on XR will familiarize both developers and consumers with emerging use cases, all the while maintaining their established VR niche.

We believe that as smart glasses evolve – especially with the integration of waveguides for true augmented reality– Meta will benefit from their first-mover advantage. Leveraging the insights from Quest's XR initiatives will undoubtedly strengthen their smart glasses. Pulling it all together is Meta AI, channeling content to the Meta ecosystem and beyond with features of traditional search engines, albeit with unreliable results in its current stage.

3. Diving into Meta AI:

We’re intrigued by Meta's ambition to harness Large Language Models (LLMs) through AI Chatbots for more targeted consumer engagement. It’s unclear whether these chatbots solely rely on LLMs or utilize decision-tree structures at this time. Regardless of the underlying tech, our consensus is that while these bots offer constrained utility initially, Meta alluded that the goal is to have users create their own AI characters in a sandbox.

These types of experiments show potential paths forward for the company as the data capture business model continues to slow from regulation and public pressure. At this point the obvious strategic benefit is enveloping users into a more complete Meta ecosystem, driving users into more elaborate asset and app marketplaces while opening up the possibility for custom AI characteristics and gamification.

4. Unity's Controversial Move:

A significant portion of our discussions revolved around the alterations to Unity's business model, which has visibly shaken the developer community. John Riccitiello has since been removed from Unity but the damage is done and industry trust in the company has never been lower. This news has resulted in migration towards alternatives like Unreal Engine and Godot, and we believe now is an opportune moment for devs to experiment, and even pivot into web alternatives such as Ethereal Engine.  

With the strengthening emergence of the spatial web, along with wider adoption of headsets, we forecast a future where premium content might transcend the need for native game engines with most use cases. This opens the door for devs to rethink business models and distribution channels.

5. The Promised Future of WebGPU:

Our dialogues with Meta representatives and other stakeholders fervently backing the WebXR and WebGPU standards were particularly exciting. The sense of optimism for this technology was infectious. All agreed, WebGPU is inching closer to becoming universally accepted with capabilities that are fast approaching, if not mirroring, what native game engines can achieve. There's an implicit acknowledgment that while the maturation of these engines to deliver AAA content quality will necessitate time, that day is coming soon – and possibly earlier than many anticipate.

Future-proofing your business with the Open-source Web

Meta Connect was a whirlwind of revelations and insights. The future of immersive tech looks bright, and we're eager to witness its evolution. 

In an ever-evolving industry, Ethereal Engine empowers businesses with the ubiquity of the open-source web ecosystem, seamlessly integrating with any web API, for streamlined and extensive reach without the hefty fees or unpredictability. Break free of the constraints of walled gardens like app stores or major game engines; instead, offer your immersive experiences seamlessly to a broad audience, irrespective of their device. 

Future-proofing your business doesn't have to be complex. With Ethereal Engine, leverage the undeniable power of the open-source web to stay ahead of the curve and remain competitive. 

Ready to transform your digital journey?

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