Known as a brilliant comedian and capable writer/director, but not quite for his tech insight, Ricky Gervais has high praise for what he has ostensibly seen at Magic Leap. Gervais’ statements come as the company seems to be courting celebrities.

The still-secretive Magic Leap continues a culture of teasing. Having raised nearly $1.4 billion and still not announced exactly what they’re building, the only glimpses into what’s actually going on inside the company come from occasional hyperbolic tweets from those who have peered at the company’s secretive work, and occasionally through cryptic words from the CEO himself.

The latest round of teasing comes from Ricky Gervais, a British comedian and celebrity who appears to have seen Magic Leap’s work and come away quite impressed.

The tweets were retweeted by Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz, and replied to by the company’s main Twitter account.

Gervais isn’t the first famous person to get his eyes on the company’s secretive tech. Business Insider previously reported that Beyoncé was shown a “personalized ‘mermaid’ Magic Leap demo’ which she reportedly didn’t dig.

CNET recently spoke with NBA player Andre Iguodala of the Golden State Warriors who claims to have seen Magic Leap’s tech too. Iguodala said that one of the experiences he saw involved reaching his hand out and having a small augmented reality character appear there which had digital-assistant-like functionality which he compared to Siri.

Steven Spielberg is also rumored to have seen what Magic Leap is working on (though the source of even those rumors is not clear).

SEE ALSO
This is What Star Wars Looks Like Running on Magic Leap

Presumably the company is making an effort to court celebrities for two reasons: 1) continue to build hype, 2) aim to form content partnerships. That’s the logical take anyway. Business Insider however reported back in February that the company’s celebrity outreach “was more of a reflection of [Magic Leap CEO’s] desire to connect with celebrities than anything directly related to the company’s business,” according to former employees.

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  • tmikaeld

    In my oppinion, the biggest cash-grab of all time.

    Once CastAR deliver a usable product this year, no one will care about Magic Leap once it maybe launches.

  • NooYawker

    HoloLens and many others will be released before Magic Leap and no one will care. The fact that the only media they released about their product used CGI speaks volumes. Not to mention the leaked photo of a prototype had a computer strapped to someone’s back.

  • Cory

    These comments either consist of paid individuals promoting other products, or babies who will buy the thing once they see it, and then complain about something they didn’t know existed before like the world owes them something.

    You don’t like what the company is doing? Well go to the bank, borrow a ton of money, orchestrate Dev teams, writers, artists, technicians, physicists, opticians, biologists, janitors and office staff. Find and develop a building and house it with high end tech to try to make a product that’s never been made before. Learn and apply cutting edge EVERYTHING from EVERY discipline previously mentioned and when you’ve successfully done the impossible and brought a new tech into life on time….come back here and repost.

    No really, I’ll wait. You bunch of pretentious, entitlement, non-contributing zeros. God you losers are everywhere. I’m a developer and its you people that make me wonder why I bother. The smart people doing really difficult intellectual work for the dumbest people who use MY hard work and education so they can sit in their mothers basement after their 4 hour part time shift at a coffee shop trash talking something they know nothing about. You don’t like it? Contribute!

    • ChakaForPresident

      ….nailed it!

      • Christian Gunston

        Yep. 2nd that

    • J.C.

      Honestly, I don’t really understand what Magic Leap *IS*. Is it a competitor to Hololens? If so, how is it so different that it’s not being considered as “largely the same thing”? I’d love to know. I want to know if it’s tech that I’d even BE excited about. But I’m not going to get excited about something just because someone tells me I should be excited about it.

      “I have a thing in this box, it’s world-changingly amazing! You should be super excited about it!”
      “What is it?”
      “It’s amazing!”
      “When can I see it?”
      “Who knows! But you need to be excited about it! A celebrity said so!”

      • Malkmus

        As a Hololens owner I’m very excited for Magic Leap because it aims to deliver on many of that device’s shortcomings. A smaller glasses-style headset connected to a belt worn processor is very appealing, as is the bigger FOV, and most importantly content-which Magic Leap appear to have been working on just as hard as the hardware. But honestly, no one should be excited about this unless they are a hardcore AR/VR enthusiast who understands what it will do. For the curious, I recommend trying a Hololens if you can. Having life-size NPC’s wander your living room and interacting with you and your surroundings is pretty damn amazing.

        • chuan_l

          Check out ODG for field of view —
          Tops Hololens easily , brightness as well though there are other players with even better tech who haven’t surfaced yet ! Its going to be awesome once all this bears fruit.

          • Malkmus

            ODG is 50 degrees FOV and also a long ways off from reaching consumers. Content will also be very limited as they’re not developing a software platform and devs don’t have it yet.

      • Who’s fault is it that you don’t know that magic leap is AR? I’ve never tried it or seem the hardware but i have managed to figure out that it’s AR with the possibility of being groundbreaking.. Perhaps.

        You resent that it’s being hyped? Perhaps therapy might help?

        Thank fecky i left behind my teenage angst and impatience back in my late 30s.

        • J.C.

          You also left your reading comprehension back there. They’re hyping something that they haven’t shown anything other than faked promos for. I’m not going to get excited about something that likely isn’t any different from Hololens.

          • Something that like likely isn’t? Sounds like a guess to me. So why are you guessing it’s nothing special? Because you like to complain. I prefer a logical approach… There is a 50 percent chance either way. I don’t get excited nor do i get all whiney and assume it’s a gimmick.

            You don’t even know why you’re hostile and whiney about it except that it’s a long established peer-driven habit. It’s an automated non-cognitive response.

            Leap motion may be pish or it may not. I make no assumptions either way. That kind of logic may or may not be alien to you.

    • NooYawker

      We contribute by buying the products and that’s why you bother. You must work for magic leap a big talking PR company that has shit to show for anything. And talk about paid individuals, this article is about celebrities being paid to further the hype for magic leap. Feel free to stop developing and go work in another industry.

      • Cory

        No. I’m just a real guy who’s a father working for himself. I don’t think someone working for a PR company for anyone would have chosen my words. Like I said, you don’t like how it’s coming along, then go do it yourself, because the second you do, you’ll realize how difficult it is. No-one ‘owes’ you anything. It will be ready when it’s ready. You all sound like a child waiting for a cookie from their mother and getting whiny about it when they’re still in the oven and you don’t even know how to make them yourself.

        And hardware is useless without software, so ‘going to another industry’ takes the wind out of all hardware manufacturers sales. Nothing worse than a consumer with an entitlement mentality. Magic Leap will come out with something amazing and none of you will be happy. Everyone complaining about a world being created around you that you’re doing nothing to help create. Unreal.

        Something you should all probably watch:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8LaT5Iiwo4

        • NooYawker

          What is magic leap doing? Do you know something no one else on the planet does? Everyone is expressing how annoying this company is with announcements of this amazing world changing device for years with literally nothing but a fake video to show for it. MS already has a developer edition of hololens out there and they haven’t done 1/10th of the bullshit marketing magic leap has done.
          All we’re saying is magic leap put up or shut up it’s annoying.

        • beestee

          “Nothing worse than a consumer with an entitlement mentality.”

          As opposed to what? Sheep that will blindly follow a company because said company hired a celebrity to say it is the thing to do?

        • Bssically as you can see… We exist in a world filled with bitter little angry zombies who can’t be positive about anything. If they have to wait for something they rant and whine like spoiled entitled chavs (which is what they are). This is why every time there’s mention of star citizen they crawl out of their pits and start their bitter ranting about how shit the game is and how it will never be finished. Some of these muppets are so vacuous they buy vr heedsets and then rant about not having any games to play.

    • hyperskyper

      You sound just like Magic Leap! I hope you have fun being disappointed with them if they ever even release a product.

    • Cl

      I’m indifferent on the whole thing and I’m sure you’re just venting, but that is the job you chose and customers complain no matter what job you do. Game dev, fast food, retail, car detail and even that coffee shop you mention, there will be customers who bitch.

    • pSynrg

      Until anything – it’s just the worst kind of vapourware; indeed, vapourless!

      $1.4b? It seems celebrity endorsements and courting ‘the media’ don’t come cheap.

      Palmer Lucky managed what you described on a veritable shoestring, sans vapour!

      Climb out of your backside you sanctimonious prick.

      • What are you whining about you miserable little mong.

    • Osaka Dude

      I sympathize with ‘Cory’. This is an exciting industry to be a part of I’m sure (I’m not a developer by any means) but like all inventions, it takes time to figure out what works and what doesn’t, and what can be possible. All people do is complain about VR and AR because the tech hasn’t produced a bloody ‘holodeck’ in it’s first few years. Come on people, the iPhone (or the telephone or TV for that matter) was created in a day. If you don’t like the current progress (demos or hype or whatnot), I agree with Corey, put your money where your mouth is and do it yourself. Sometimes I wonder why companies even allow people to ‘review’ or post about their products. Just brings out the negative trolls with virtual megaphones…

      • NooYawker

        No one here is complaining about VR or AR, most of us are here because we are excited about it. The complaints are directed squarely at Magic Leap and their bullshit marketing campaign that seems to be focused on getting more investors than building an actual product. They’ve been announcing that they’re going to change the world for years and the only thing they have put forward is a cgi created “demo” video. Meanwhile actual companies are putting out actual products.

        • craylon

          but isnt that something that is actually kind of beneficial?

          if based on such nonsense some billionaire wants to burn money by investing in something that might or might not be vapor ware, I am cool with that.
          worst case scenario is he looses all his money but allowed the devs to eat and learn. best case scenario some genious dev develops something that makes the billionair even rich but translates into a product we love.

        • Osaka Dude

          Well if that is your focus, I guess I can’t
          argue with that. Let’s hope maybe they do have something beneficial (or
          mind-blowing as they frequently say) to contribute to the progress of AR and/or
          VR. Thanks for your measured response to my somewhat emotional response.
          Regards.

    • Lucidfeuer

      Oh YOU who’s a poor hard working developper, tell me exactly what did you contribue as “intellectual work” to the dev scene? People with your pretentious kind of attitude usually didn’t do SHIT, I’m ready to bet you’re a nobody executant who didn’t ever invent or iterated SHIT.

      Your comment is reminiscent of Trump’s “beh Make america great again, because magic”. Also you’re a spoiled brat who’s probably never built ANYTHING ambitious or relevant because otherwise you would know that more and more, “borrowing a ton of money” and hiring people is incredibly hard, not complex, hard because unless you are a spoiled son of a rich family and friends circle or an elite business school BS incubating circuit to develop your niche market study shit start-up, nobody is investing anymore.

      The worst being that you don’t realise that MagicLeap might not even be a real company but a money-laundering scheme with billions of (detaxed, of course that’s the point) investment diverted from the actual start-up, research and creation circuits you dare speak so dearly in the name of.

    • Progress in the development is made with sharing information. Not like this super secret project which looks like a scam with every new information more and more. Even if it would work, their expectations would not be met because of their advertising and that can be dangerous for the whole industry. Too much hype for nothing too much new.

    • Agree. Well said. Trash talking trolls with zero ability to create. Bitch about anything they see that isn’t embraced by their peers because really this isn’t about whether something is good. It’s about following peer direction to look “hard” or go give the impression that they are somehow more informed because they disagree or ridicule.

    • kontis

      Tim Sweeney is one of the most honest and humblest millionaires in the industry. He said a similar thing about Magic Leap. He wasn’t paid anything.

      I hate their PR methods, but they obviously have something very impressive.

      • Texazzpete

        I wish you’d come up with a better example. Recent comments from Sweeney concerning Microsoft and Windows has left many with the impression that the guy has at least a few loose screws.

        I wouldn’t trust anything he says right now

    • Jack H

      That’s what I’m doing :D

  • Burito

    Oh god, not this company again… We are already fed up with their lies and false promises. They already admitted that they couldn’t get their tech to work. What else are they trying sell?

  • tmikaeld

    We’ll see soon enough.

  • tmikaeld

    The thing is that it’s funded by Playground Global, the creator of Android. Also, the new version won’t need a reflective surface and it’s also got a self-contained unit running it, just like the Hololens. It’s also lighter than the hololens and a ton cheaper.

  • VR Geek

    Hype? With who. Who is this even reaching? Until people try this tech and are wowed, no one will care. Just like VR. You got to try before you get the hype. Not sure what is up with Magic Leap but feels all kinds of wrong to me.

  • Ian Shook

    Magic Leap is becoming the Trump of products. I’m glad Ricky liked it, but my mom was impressed with the Gear VR so that isn’t saying much.
    Let Bill Nye, or Elon Musk, or Adam Savage, or somebody who’s opinion I care about try this. (no offense, Ricky!).

    • David Herrington

      While I agree that those may be better choices for Celebrity Testers… Why not just let regular people try it who aren’t paid. Then post those results.

      • Doctor Bambi

        If the point is marketing, celebrities can drive a lot of clicks and social media attention. So if that’s your strategy, you should probably call up some prominent tech celebrities to come give it a try since their reputations would be somewhat on the line if the product was unremarkable.

        I’d be more impressed if, say, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman from Mythbusters were asked to come try it out.

    • ra51

      +1 for Bill Nye

    • Cl

      “Magic Leap is becoming the Trump of products.” So even with all the haters, magic leap will come out on top and surprise everyone? Awesome

    • Bob

      Someone with a lot of fame, popular and loved by people, who vehemently hates technology should give Magic Leap a go. If the outcome is positive then we got something boys.

    • chuan_l

      Elon Musk ? He’s just a marketing guy —
      Tesla engineering was complete ( Straubel & Eberhard ) when he joined , the only thing he added was the hubcap design. There’s a lot of ignorance and a willingness to believe in the “Ironman” mythos here.

      • WyrdestGeek

        That explains a lot.

  • GrangerFX

    From the outside, the only thing that is clear about Magic Leap is that they can attract large amounts of investment capital. I don’t think that people who invest in technology have any clearer picture of the future than those of us that work in the industry or are simply interested as consumers. If Magic Leap has perfected anything, it is their song and dance show for potential investors. I am sure it all sounds fantastic but can they actually do it and before other companies or before the industry goes in a different direction and leave their plans high and dry?

  • More vaporware. MagicHype should be their name.

  • Praveen Yalamanchi

    Everyone on this message thread is speaking the truth on some level, obvious mistakes have been made both in tech and PR, but we should be rooting for them and celebrating that they are still grinding away regardless.

    It’s such a small industry at this point that a high profile collapse of Magic Leap could collapse every product line including Hololens and Oculus (Microsoft quickly loses interest in products re: Kinect, Oculus has already fired Palmer and demoted the CEO). The same thing happened during the last VR reneassaince of the early 1990’s.

    “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

  • Lucidfeuer

    I know MagicLeap started as a tech money-laundering investment scheme like Bloombox ie. overadvertised vaporware with no single trace, not of any proof but of any statement or concept that made pragmatic and realistic sense.

    AR Glasses, from Google Glass to HoloLens are already non-products given that the actual science behind which is what tells you about the reality of a product, ie. various lightfield and microlens arrays technologies, are nowhere near ready.

    Imagine if ANY company, be it Apple, Samsung, Tesla or Oculus made over-apologistic announcements for 3 years without ever showing the trace of a credible technological or design concept being explained, would you believe them?

    But now that MagicLeap has been cornered on their claim, I know they have no choice and are actually developing an AR Glasses product except when we see it’s the exact same thing as a HoloLens because that’s all technology allows for now, what will happen to all the claims? Well at least it’s not Bloombox, that vaporware green-washing tech that nobody saw the light of except a few companies that oddly never declared having made energy economies from that but were able to cut a LOT of taxes just on that basis.

    I’d rather them focusing on the feasible now: using see-through Google Tango cameras adjusted to the human sight, smartphone screen and lenses with a series of efficient AR software infrastructure; just that would be enough to change the stalling game of Virtual Headsets, Smartphones and Apps.

  • Myrddin Emrys

    I’m persistently underwhelmed by all information released by Magic Leap. They have all the communication hallmarks of a Perpetual Motion invention.

    Magic Leap: “It will change the world!”
    Paid Promoter: “It’s amazing!”
    Tech-ignorant Celebrity: “Wow, it’s so cool!”

    Until Ben himself puts the thing on and reports his findings, it’s all smoke and mirrors. They won’t let Ben put it on because they know he’d see through the fakery. If they invite some actual industry veterans to look at their product and describe it to the world I’ll allow that they might have something more than unfulfilled promises. Until then, I’m dismissing any PR spin they spit out as lies.

    • John Horn

      Hear hear! Thorough skepticism is paramount when faced with such outrageous hyperbole as this marketing scheme employs.

      I would say comparing the creation of “yet another” MR/AR device with the likes of Alexander Graham Bell, is bonafide hyperbole.

      Now, it *might* not be “yet another” – but with the insistence on not telling us what makes it special – that only tingles my spidey-senses further. They are hoping a viral campaign based on vague hype and celebrity names will continue the gravy train of investment.

      Two possibilities strike me for why they hide the details from the public/potential customers:
      1) It’s a genuinely revolutionary product, not just another Hololens. But something is terribly wrong with their prototype, and they need to buy time (and get more investors) to rectify this achilles heel of the product. Hence the lack of confidence in their product.

      2) It’s just a glorified Hololens, with slightly better specs. But better content production thanks to ILMx and others. The marketing is to drive hype to max before launch. And employs a “vaguebooking” approach, which some people on Facebook use to great effect to seek attention. The lack of confidence in showing their own product to VR-techies, is due to a critical fault of the product. They hope to buy time to rectify it before showing it to actual VR experts.

      3) It could always be “something else” I suppose.. but I won’t need to fill in the blanks. I’ll leave it for you to ponder.

      I’ve personally not decided which of the 3 possibilities are most likely.

    • Bryan Ischo

      I will add a small data point: a person I work with is leaving the company I work at to go work for Magic Leap. This is a person whose technical abilities I respect and who is not the kind of person whom I would think would just go work somewhere because they can’t get a better job and don’t mind being part of a vaporware product company.

      However, for full disclosure, this job move also comes with a move to Florida, where Magic Leap is based, and since this person originally lived in Florida (we are in CA right now), it’s possible that a strong desire to move back to Florida has clouded his judgement.

      My personal conclusion knowing the person involved is that Magic Leap has a real product and isn’t just vaporware.

      • chuan_l

        It’s real enough in concept —
        Though they had some set backs with FSD displays , chromatic aberration at the size they wanted. Timing is going to be crucial with some other dark horses on the horizon.

  • fuyou2

    100 PERCENT FUCKING PONZI SCHEME BY MAGIC LEAP..

  • Radek

    The more of such comments the less people believe they will release anything at all :)

  • WyrdestGeek

    “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.”

    Up until now, I’ve refrained from calling Magic Leap a likely scam, or at the very least some massively over-hyped thing.

    But with words like “you are about to change the world” from some random sort-of celebrity, I think it’s time to call a spade a scam.

    Magic Leap: it’s past time to put up or shut up. It’s really looking like your ‘business model’ is to keep hyping your vaporware as long as possible to keep the VC rolling in.

    P.S. Alexander Graham Bell was a dick to Deaf people.

  • Surykaty

    Oh how interesting! Another non-tech celebrity being shown the “magic leap”. I ain’t no sherlock but this is transparent as fugg! Actually the level of me now being annoyed with Magic Leap’s marketing as a whole is getting close to the level of being annoyed with the latest Pepsi Jenner commercial.

    I’d say fatboy Abovitz is getting really desperate because he knows that whenever they get to the market there will be quite alot of other quite good AR solutions although probably not as advanced as magic leap because whatever magic leap uses for it’s fancy display tech it cannot solve the battery vs processing power issue because that’s in the hands of companies like SnapDragon, Imagination Tech, Samsung and etc so bye bye long everyday use and hello 40 min a week novelty.

    I’d wish they just shut the eff up about it until the day they start releasing the dev kits. They already got more than a billion so I don’t really see the need to use this kind of cringey and scammy hype (not using celebrities that are real tech geeks). It’s not like they’re Elon Musk who creates some cringe hype every 2 weeks to get more and more investors so he doesn’t shoot himself in the head because of the red numbers in accounting in almost all of his companies (not all).

  • arielwollinger

    vaporware

  • I spent a lot of time researching the patents & tidbits on Reddit and other sources, and I think the technology is indeed viable, but the approach to bringing it to market seems questionable. Getting all the “A” list celebrities and content creators lined up, continuing to be ultra secret, but at the same time continuing to proclaim this is a paradigm shift in the way we consume media will ring hollow when something is finally released. Also, no man is an island and without content independent creators and developers. One great demo will not push people spend a $1000+ on this. One has to hand it to Microsoft with the Hololens. Even though the hardware is underwhelming, the underpinnings to support independent developers has already started to bear fruit and will be directly applied to the Mixed Reality headsets coming out in Q3 and version two of the Hololens in 2018. Another point to consider is the display is only part of the battle and from what I could see in the demos that were actually done with the prototype, I don’t see a lot movement in the viewer, like bending down or moving its position in space. Having some experience in developing with inside/outside tracking, this needs to be the foundation that Mixed Reality rest on. Without it, no matter how great the visuals are, if they jitter, shift or bounce in the real world, the illusion is broken.

    One more thing. Maybe if Ridley Scott proclaimed this is what his next movie will be viewed in, then I might sit up and take notice.