Saudi Arabia has recently injected more than half a billion dollars into augmented reality company Magic Leap, which it hopes will rival Apple’s Vision Pro mixed reality headset.

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund gained majority share of the US-based Magic Leap in January 2023, widening its stake in the AR hardware creator with a deal tallying $450 million.

The wealth fund, which is controlled by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, invests in projects considered to be strategically significant to diversifying its national economy.

Magic Leap 2 | Photo by Road to VR

Now The Telegraph reports the country’s investment arm has injected another $590 million (£463 million) into Magic Leap. The fresh funding round brings the company’s overall outside investment to more than $4.5 billion.

Founded in 2010 by Rony Abovitz, the Plantation, Florida-based company first launched its first AR headset, Magic Leap 1 (previously styled ‘One’), with consumer ambitions. Seen as an early misstep by the company, the device was left to straddle the prosumer segment with limited success. To boot, in mid-2020 Abovitz stepped down as CEO, bringing in Microsoft’s Executive VP of Business Development Peggy Johnson to fill the role.

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Shortly after the company released its follow-up headset, Magic Leap 2, which was squarely targeted at enterprise partners at $3,500—the same price as Apple’s soon-to-launch Vision Pro mixed reality headset.

Vision Pro is a mixed reality headset that, unlike the see-through waveguide-based Magic Leap 2, uses virtual reality displays and passthrough cameras to deliver augmented reality apps.

Will Magic Leap 2 be able to compete with Apple? It’s certainly worth watching. Whatever the case, if Magic Leap hopes to release a third device, it likely needed the cash, as the company has reportedly been unprofitable since the launch of Magic Leap 1 in 2018.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 4,000 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • Charles U. Farley

    Saudi Arabia now owns Magic Leap. Guess I won’t ever be buying one of those, nor will I recommend them for my company’s use.

    • Nevets

      Fair enough!

    • Ed Tantamount

      Why? Don’t tell me you somehow think Saudi Arabia is a more ethical and morally reprehensible country than any other one out there doing business and advancing their culture? Rather bigoted if so, and hypocritical.

      • Charles U. Farley

        Yeah, most countries allow women to have basic human rights and don’t execute journalists. But hey, maybe that’s just me.

  • MackRogers

    There is a reason waveguides never gained traction.

    Expect them to simply make a vision pro clone(same as Samsung) to drift off of Apple and then realize their software is awful and the real problem.

  • xyzs

    Even more money to fund this scam ???

    Well, it’s 450M that won’t fund terrorism and the hamas at least.

    • MackRogers

      its money that is laundered, all saudi money is laundered to this stupid programs and right back out into pockets.

  • Ardra Diva

    the only other thing that can make as much money without ever releasing a product is Star Citizen

    • Malkmus

      How are people like you still making statements this ignorant? They released two headsets, the second of which is well regarded for its unique ability to display the color black on a waveguide and the largest FOV in a waveguide.

      • Ardra Diva

        Absolutely nothing you mentioned there = fun or engagement or a reason to buy. “oh, it can uniquely display the color black on a waveguide” – said nobody

        • Malkmus

          What does having fun with it have to do with you not knowing they’ve released products? Seriously, are you just trolling?

  • Ad

    Can’t imagine a more repulsive owner or a more horrific group of people to design the future of tech. Hope the whole company crashes and burns.

    • Ed Tantamount

      Perhaps you should look at your own country’s history. Not quite as rosy as you think. Business is business. Time marches on. Get over it.

      • Ad

        Very funny, but no.

  • Charles U. Farley

    Quit acting like you know what you’re talking about.