The virtual reality wars are heating up


Magic Leap Whale

Magic Leap

A scene from one of the Magic Leap demoes.

Magic Leap, the company behind an as-yet unannounced virtual reality headset that has raised $592 million (£390 million), has poached a key HTC executive behind the Vive headset. 

According to LinkedIn, Jeff Gattis, the executive director of marketing for Vive, left HTC in October and started at Magic Leap earlier this month. His job title is "Head of Product Marketing." 

His title would suggest that Magic Leap may be close to launching a product, according to 9to5Google

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The move from HTC, an established company, to Magic Leap, which does not yet have a product available, shows that the virtual reality wars are heating up, with competition coming from insurgent startups rather than the industry stalwarts.

Gattis has suggested that Magic Leap's offerings are superior to those of HTC. "I think [Magic Leap] is different [from HTC, Google, Facebook, etc.] and has the potential for some of the use cases being broader," he said


HTC is just one player in the market for virtual reality, however. Facebook spent $2 billion (£1.3 billion) on Oculus, another up-and-coming VR startup that raised $90 million (£60 million), to enter the VR industry. Some of Facebook's other acquisitions include are WhatsApp and Instagram, both of which are now core parts of Facebook's offerings which would suggest the company is serious about VR.  

Google is offering its Cardboard headset, which pairs with an Android phone to offer a VR experience, for less money than competitors. Samsung is also offering a similar product

Magic Leap has come under fire for not revealing the hardware that powers its VR experience. The company posted a one minute video to its YouTube channel to demo the view that users get but did not reveal the hardware. 

Magic Leap currently has no release date for its headset. Google and Samsung both have products on the market while HTC's Vive headset is set to launch in late 2015. Facebook's Oculus has been rolling out the Rift to developers over the past year. 


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