Magic Leap Releases Video Showing VR Gameplay Using Physical Objects

Tech company Magic Leap has revealed footage of how its VR games may look, and the answer is everything VR fans could have possibly anticipated.

A brief background on Magic Leap: It’s a somewhat nebulous, definitely quirky software/hardware venture with Google as a primary funder. The company was due to make a groundbreaking presentation on its latest project at TED in mid-March, but for some reason it cancelled its appearances. Why? Perhaps it felt the presentation format wasn’t the best way to show off its VR work. Maybe the company still wants to stay as secretive as possible. Perhaps Google’s grounding of Google Glass to the tarmac of halted projects has made Magic Leap’s event too impractical.

Whatever the reason, the company quickly bounced back by releasing a video online showing what the VR experience could be like – well, at least a heavily augmented reality experience, since it technically takes place in the Leap offices. It is, in a word, cool: The video starts by showing how you could conceivably pop open a VR version of your apps from your desktop and cycle through them. The VR user eventually selects a steampunk-esque virtual reality game to play, and here’s where things get really interesting.

The game itself is pretty simple: Steampunk robots drop from holes in the ceiling and crash through the walls, as they are wont to do. But the weapons the game uses are based on physical guns in the Magic Leap office, sort of like a very advanced amiibo concept. The player picks up two guns and begins firing them, each showing different lasery effects.

It’s an excellent example of what a VR headset (the Microsoft HoloLens particularly comes to mind) could offer for entertainment. The graphics probably owe a lot to a partnership with Weta Workshop – yes, that Weta Workshop, the digital effects studio behind Lord of the Rings. However, we really don’t know much beyond what the video shows. How much of it is a mock-up, and how much is running software? Does Magic Leap really have gun models equipped with wireless communication and recoil to use in games? How does it map out real-world spaces?

At this point, it’s not even sure if Magic Leap plans on coming out with its own VR headset, or it is going to stick with developing VR software for other units. Either way, it’s an exciting project. The faster we can shoot mechabots with Tesla coils in the comfort of our own living rooms, the happier we will be.

Tyler Lacoma

When he isn't enjoying the beautiful Northwest outdoors, you can find Tyler on business and tech sites, writing about the latest news, analyzing trends, and generally making the Internet a more interesting place.

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