The Magic Leap 1 augmented reality headset hasn’t exactly been the world-changing success its developers intended. Today’s announcement blamed the outbreaks for decreasing access to investment capital, forcing the internal changes. The company also had a ton of mixed messaging that the first headset was a developer product and not meant for consumers but then started to sell them in AT&T stores and push consumer apps and use cases further confusing the market. Magic Leap was late to enterprise and way too early to consumer. Many of us have been talking about the fate of Magic Leap since the company came out of stealth and as things got worse, the general consensus was that Magic Leap was extremely important to the industry and that it would be a bad thing to see them fail.
The Magic Leap 1 augmented reality headset hasn’t exactly been the world-changing success its developers intended. Despite funding from major tech companies such as Google and the support of top U.S. wireless carrier AT&T, Magic Leap has struggled to win broad adoption from consumers or developers, in large part because of its $2,300 to $3,000 pricing.
While Magic Leap attempts to blame the conditions of the current economy and COVID19, anyone who knows what’s been going on with the company will say that this may have impacted financing and possibly some other factors, but the fundamental problem was that it was too late to pivot to enterprise and over-committed to consumer.
Key insights: When B-Reel technology director Eric Heaton first came across the Magic Leap headset at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas a few years ago, it seemed to be a “super intriguing” fix for many of the limitations of augmented reality at the time. A fault of [Microsoft] HoloLens, for example, was that the device would randomly overheat, and so to dedicate a brand campaign that utilizes a technology like that, there are some high-risk variables involved.
Magic Leap — the augmented reality developer that generated overwhelming hype when it entered the startup scene in 2014, raising $2.6 billion from investors including Warner Bros. and Legendary — on Wednesday announced layoffs and a strategy to focus on enterprise clients, rather than consumers.