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Epic Games employees say Microsoft “poisons” the AR Industry

The Epic Games antitrust lawsuit has become one of the most prolific in video game history. It has shed plenty of light on the industry, giving us documentation on exclusitivity deals to financial reports.

But in particular, there is an email chain from June 2019 that was filed as evidence in the trial. The emails feature Epic employees discussing Microsoft’s HoloLens and Mixed Reality.

The email chain starts off with employees discussing Apple’s ARKit announcement at WWDC 2019. With the employees discussing location anchoring, and location-based technology like Microsoft’s Azure spatial anchors.

If you’re wondering if the Azure spatial anchors feature sounds familiar, the technology is used in Minecraft Earth to help keep objects tethered to the same spot.

Whilst the discussions originally started out as optimistic, a few employees such as Mark Rein and Andrew Grant had different thoughts regarding Microsoft and AR.

Yeah horribly overselling AR in a way that poisons the well for the industry. They did this same shit with HoloLens.

Mark rein

On one hand there are a lot of really cool things I could imagine a world-scale AR Minecraft experience being, on the other none of them are in this trailer. Instead, it’s just Magic Leap-level overselling of AR capabilities that aren’t going to be anywhere close to what they release.

Feels like a sizzle reel for what’s going to be a very different experience.

Andrew Grant

It seems like Rein and Grant thought Microsoft were overselling the augmented reality capabilities in a smoke and mirror fashion. Which would end up with the real product being underwhelming, hurting the augmented reality industry.

Since these emails, Minecraft Earth has released and despite the game shutting down later this year – it delivered a quality augmented reality experience. With the sunset and failure being more on COVID than anything else.