Right around nine months ago, augmented reality (AR) company Magic Leap released a one and a half minute video clip titled, "Just Another Day in the Office at Magic Leap." The company wanted to showcase what was possible with a mixed reality headset it's been working on, and admittedly the video was a pretty awesome demonstration except for one little thing—it was fake.
We had our doubts it was real, noting at the time that "the demo looks a little too good be the real deal," and we were right, unfortunately. This is one of those cases where we would have been delighted to be wrong. The video, in case you missed it the first time around, features a player who has his work environment transformed into a game level. Virtual weapons appears on a real desk sitting nearby, and after selecting one, enemy robots start falling through the ceiling.
The idea of using your own environment as a game setting is intriguing. Early on in the demo, the player shoots one of the walls in the office leaving behind a scorched mark that looks authentic, but thankfully (hopefully?) isn't if he were to take off the headset. This could very well be the future of gaming, but it's not here yet.
It was all smoke and mirrors. Two former employees fessed up that the "aspirational conceptual" video being passed off as the real McCoy was actual produced by Weta Workshow, a special effects firm from New Zealand. It's the same special effects company that brought the Lord of the Rings movies to life with CGI. In Magic Leap's defense, Weta Workshop's logo appears in the first video, but according to the two aforementioned employees, Magic Leap most likely "oversold what it can do" and intentionally mislead people. Weta Workshop created the entire video, and not just some of the visual effects, as many though was the case.
Magic Leap claims to have begun work on making the game since the video was released, but it should have been upfront about the whole thing from the beginning. Also, it's reported that much of the technology Magic Leap has shown off to the media won't make it to market, as it will be too expensive to implement into mass produced products.
On the bright side, we can definitely see AR and VR taking us in this direction. We just may have to wait a little longer than previously thought.