Years of Magic Leap’s hype-building seems for many to be turning from excitement to disappointment, as the company continues to evangelize its AR headset with little attempt to demonstrate what it’s actually like to use it. During the company’s latest livestream where it was teased that viewers would get to “meet Magic Leap One,” mundane details like power buttons and LEDs were talked about as the hosts dodged or ignored the audience’s most pressing questions.

Since the beginning, Magic Leap has been a masterful tease. Between more than $2 billion in venture funding, evocative descriptions of “magical” technology, behind-closed-doors demos, and celebrity endorsements, Magic Leap has captured the curiosity of many, promising no less than to change the world as we know it. But, at least for many of the company’s closest followers, the hype high seems to be turning into a disappointment hangover.

The company’s ‘Magic Leap Live’ livestream today had promised that viewers would finally get to “meet Magic Leap One,” the company’s first headset. But after offering up mostly mundane details—such as which buttons did what and how the compute unit fits in a pocket—and stopping well short of any demonstration of the headset’s capabilities, the audience was visibly annoyed, especially as the hosts dodged the most asked questions.

Captured by Road to VR, image courtesy Magic Leap

The livestream chat was packed to the brim during the Q&A session with viewers who wanted to know the field of view of the headset, to the point that other questions were difficult to even pick out among the chat stream. The hosts proceeded to not just dodge the FOV question, as they did with some others, but they instead ignored it completely, to the dismay of viewers. Other widely asked questions, like launch date, price, and weight, went unanswered as well.

Captured by Road to VR, image courtesy Magic Leap

One perplexing moment in the stream was revealing about how little information the company is willing to divulge at this point—host Alan Noon framed a rather innocent sounding question as some sort of trap:

“Can you give us the specs of the device, you know, processor, so on and so forth,” the viewer asked. “You’re not gonna get me with those trick questions! Additional specs will be released in the future,” Noon replied (timestamp).

Disappointment from viewers was clear from the chat—remember, this is a stream where Magic Leap is ostensibly talking to potential developers about building for their headset… which almost no one can buy or use yet, and which the company has repeatedly made no effort to demonstrate. And that’s where it seems much of the frustration lies—Magic Leap continues to invite people to come learn more about what it’s doing, only to dangle the headset in front of them without attempting to explain what it’s like to use. Like a friend who just got the hottest new game console, and invites you over to listen to them talk about it how much fun it is while you get to stare at it on their lap.

A sampling of post-stream responses from enthusiasts over at the Magic Leap subreddit elucidates current attitudes toward the company’s continued teasing:


Spent 39 minutes learning how to expand a headband and clip something in my pocket before they said “no hardware demo”. Really pathetic, ML.


Not a single spec detail during the whole livestream. That was bold to do another marketing video rather than a developer video. They must be really delayed in terms of software if they’re this hesitant about showing the device details.

Was hoping for details on eye tracking specifications for developers. Still can’t get hard numbers to even see if the device is viable for my project.


Especially as a developer you feel completely left out. Nothing they said was of real value to developers. The information they gave was already available on the website/creator portal or common sense. What developers care about is when it’ll be available and what the specs are so you know if it fits your use-case.


Legit kept referencing amazing demo’s that they won’t show us. This is what $750 million gets you. lol

– – — – –

Captured by Road to VR, image courtesy Magic Leap

Aside from the big unanswered questions, what did they actually say about the device? You can watch the clip where they talk specifically about the headset here, and here’s the high level:

  • The Magic Leap One isn’t designed for outdoor use.
  • The headset has a LED indicator on the front to let people know if you are recording video or snapping photos.
  • There’s on-board audio thanks to speakers built into the headband, as well as a 3.5mm jack on the compute unit.
  • Eye-tracking was mentioned once again, as well as talk of a calibration process during headset setup.
  • The little box hanging off the right side of the headset was described as an “antenna” for tracking the controller (potentially indicated magnetic controller tracking).
  • The controller has LEDs on the trackpad which can be used to indicate to the user different contextual input areas. There’s also haptics in the controller.
  • Brow and nose pads are interchangeable for the right fit, and the headset will come with different sizes (in addition to there being a small and large version of the headset itself).
  • Magic Leap is working with a partner to eventually offer a prescription lens add-on for those with glasses; the headset itself isn’t designed to accommodate glasses.
  • The compute unit is designed to clip onto a pocket, with part of it exposed for cooling purposes; a belt will be included for times when the user may not have a pocket available.
  • The device has WiFi and Bluetooth
  • ‘Magic Leap World’ is the company’s app store platform
  • The headset will support voice commands.
  • The company is working on a stand for the device.
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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Ragbone

    Can multiple people wear one at the same time or do they have to wear one each?

    • throwaway

      lmao… asking the right questions here. I would also like to know the answer to this.

      Also it is biodegradable, or will it kill the ocean?

      • It will save the whales

        • Mike

          But will it save the quails?

        • Jistuce

          Can a whale wear one, or do they need an adapter?

      • Ian Shook

        It’s all bullshit so it should biodegrade okay.

  • FlipFlop

    It’s gearing up to be a massive flop.

    • Sponge Bob

      key words here: “slow burn”

      that’s what every CEO of pre-revenue startup should keep in mind

      But here we have fast cash burn (billions) so who knows if they can keep it up for another year

  • Eric Mcoo

    I had a professor whose AI system would burst into flames two steps beyond what the expensive suits saw.

    Who employed this archetypal piss artist ?

  • MW

    “has captured the curiosity of many, promising no less than to change the world as we know it. But, the hype high seems to be turning into a disappointment hangover.”

    VR industry in a pill… Hype and dreams instead of real good products.

    • V Z

      Trough of Disillusionment

      • Jan Ciger

        That’s a bit harsh – there are plenty of companies that are developing and releasing successful products in this market.

        Not everyone is behaving like these clowns. I wonder how long they can keep this up – being secretive is one thing, but then you don’t do ridiculous “demos” like this.

        This sounds more and more like desperate efforts to placate investors (the company is living off investor money, they have no income from an actual product) wanting to see results all the while their tech either isn’t there or does way less than what they were hyping (or both). It is obviously only my speculation but heck, ML is not doing anything to prove it wrong with these “demos”!

        Or they have an astoundingly inept marketing team not realizing that the developers they will need are not complete idiots that want to see fancy boxes and need 39 minutes long explanation on how to use a headband and a belt clip …

        • MW

          Their (modern vr) success is based on expectations, not on real capabilities of products. We have dream about vr, but we just don’t have technology-like in 90s. That’s why years passing by, an dreams are still dreams. It’s to little for too much today.

          • dk

            vr for capable pcs already feels like a different reality …..and the second gen is not even out …1st gen tracked monitors r basically the equivalent of the fist gen of tiny monochrome monitors

            ……u can’t get a 32inch 8k 144hz hdr g-sync right after the first generation of tiny monochrome monitors

          • Jan Ciger

            Even the 90’s hardware was OK as long as one worked with its limits and
            not against them. A lot of useful applications have been built with it.

            You need to have realistic expectations. The current hw & sw is perfectly fine for a lot of applications and is being deployed for them left and right (I am talking about professional applications, not games).

            Does that mean that everything is solved? Heck no, by far not. But if the only acceptable standard is the Holodeck from StarTrek or some other Hollywood invented/dreamed up physically impossible nonsense then, of course, nothing can ever be satisfactory.

            That’s the problem with VR (and any other technology) – when the expectations are formed by uncritical hype and not by actually understanding even basic physics or biology, the disappointment is inevitable.

            For example, I have to only laugh when I read about people pushing stuff like those various treadmills as “the solution” to the locomotion problem in VR. As if the only locomotion people wanted to do was walking/running – not to mention how many are actually physically capable of running the distances required by e.g. a typical shooter game.

            Or pushing stuff like foveated rendering being the universal panacea for the unsustainable rendering power and data rate requirements of the current and future HMDs, instead of e.g. offloading at least some of that work to the HMD itself so that such huge amounts of data don’t need to be transferred constantly (which would also elegantly solve problems with building a wireless high resolution HMD).

            So keep this in mind when speaking about “dreams”. Dreams are fine but dreams are not reality.

    • impurekind

      Not with VR. VR has had a great first year or so, and it’s only getting better and better, and pretty quickly at that. With AR, however, yes (at least so far).

    • brubble

      I recall the same bullshit rhetoric about the Segway. It launched and nobody really cared…the difference is at least it functioned as intended.

  • dk

    it has a power button and u can put it on you head .#specs lol
    the only new info was that they don’t recommend using it with glasses and they will have a way to put the lenses in there

  • Lucidfeuer

    I don’t know if intended, but the picture chosen by R2VR illustrate pretty well the ridiculousness of their pretences.

    But hey one more AR Headset on the non-existent market of AR Headsets!

  • Gaspar Ferreiro

    i have met some industry personalities that have seen it and state it’s a real product and will be disruptive… so i still have…errr… hope i guess?
    But then the leepers do videos/sessions like this, and it really makes you ponder who are the brilliant minds (all sarcasm intended) behind their marketing and dev relation initiatives :(
    I mean, i released a video last month that probably looks more like what Magic leap could do (using Vive pro) than anything released yet by ML.
    But I also remember the early days of Oculus DK1, and how the community (including myself) reacted to the limited info, delays, etc… So I still have possitive hopes, and also realize that part of our reaction is not just based on what they are doing or showing, but instead a bi-product of our anticipation, excitement and hopes for this medium :)

    • NooYawker

      Did they tell you if it can do anything the hololens cannot?

      • VirtualRealityNation

        At this point. I am selling Hololens experiences and I am telling my corporate clients that Microsoft clearly holds the lead with AR and to expect that Hololens v3 coming in 2019 should be the product that takes this to the next level. I know its a bit of a gamble. But Microsoft has to know that the FOV is their biggest complaint. Even a 30% increase in FOV will make their product so much more desirable to enterprise companies.

        • chuan_l

          This times a hundred —
          ML are going into production with an older ( 50° field of view ) wave guide assembly while Hololens 2.0 will get the 70° beam splitting upgrade. Furthermore the ” steampunk ” design of the frame reduces the amount of pass through available.

          They had a chance to take AR to an interesting place. However all this ” arrogance ” will be their undoing , especially next year when they will be on the market against superior hardware. There is nothing unique with their hardware at this point.

      • Gaspar Ferreiro

        nope, but they know hololense well, so based on that context, it must do something additional or better. i assume ndas are in place

        • NooYawker

          Actually. Based on that context they’re saying what they’ve always said. Nothing. Exactly how can you assume it does anything additional or better?

          • Gaspar Ferreiro

            Well, in this industry, no one (or mostly no one) will give out any direct information if the projects are unreleased, in development or under NDA, so you read between the lines. So, if a person had tried hololense extensively, then they go and try a ml1, and they come out and say WOW!, then you know there was something there that either was better or additional to hololense (logical premises and assumptions). of course this is invalidated if the person is a paid reference… but the source in this case is a trusted, well renowned source with a tech and media bacground that would stand to loose too much to make false or misleading statements… but then again (and this is a fair observation), what is disruptive to someone could be lame and tame to the next person… I just respect the source well enought to believe his/ her point.

        • chuan_l

          Yeah the stacked waveguides —
          Would provide a qualitative difference however there’s a lot more environmental awareness ( and persistence ) that’d needed to build out the more complex applications. These don’t demo well to rock stars however !

    • benz145

      Can you link to your video? I’m interested.

  • Sponge Bob

    Fully functional 6DoF controller is the key to their success or failure

    Me thinks magnetic tracking either takes too much battery power or is unreliable at
    a distance of fully extended arm (mine are pretty long)

    How bout a real functional demo, Magic Leap ?

  • Sponge Bob

    It’s starting to remind Sixense Kickstarter … but on a much larger scale

  • Doctor Bambi

    Thank you guys for calling out this behavior, I hope ML is listening.

    These ‘developer live streams’ are essentially pointless without a much more concrete idea of what the device can actually do.

    It’s amazing to me that they found a way to unveil their product without actually unveiling the product. Is this what peak marketing looks like?

    • Sponge Bob

      It called BS marketing

      Until they show real in-action video of some software demo controlled via their supposedly 6DoF controller or fully functional hand interaction (ala Leap Motion) there is no reason to believe Magic Leap has a workable product
      Just excellent picture quality overlay of AR does not suffice – much more is needed for the product to be functional and useful

  • NooYawker

    aside from reporters who was dumb enough to watch this thing? Did anyone really expect anything more than more of the same bullshit?

    • benz145

      Your welcome for watching it and bringing you the info so that you didn’t have to ; )

      • NooYawker

        Actually you’re right. Thank you :D

    • dk

      yeah until people actually receive it in the mail and post videos about ….there is basically almost no point to follow their super vague babble statements

  • M.C. Unt

    They used the word “Magic” to name the thing. What did anyone expect? These dopes are nothing more than parlor magicians performing a years long marketing illusion. A pre-revenue long con. It’s gotta be a load of BS. And if that’s the case, what were they thinking?!?!? All that’s been proven to me is that it’s true what folks say; a magician never reveals their secrets. Their grand finale will ultimately be the amazing disappearing investors trick. IT’S MAGIC!!!!!!

    • dk

      yeah imagine if other companies did this …..MAGICAL OCULUS is now bought by MAGIC FACEBOOK

  • Foreign Devil

    Must delay releasing specs until CEO and management have had a chance to safely offshore their money.

  • AndyP

    ‘Gaining pecuniary advantage by deception’ is supposed to be illegal, in the UK at least.

  • dk

    lol books … imagine that someone is like well these clay tablets r so primitive they will never be produced on mass scale and be as exquisite as language and as immersive as a person telling a story with their own voice

    ……or imagine if u show to someone from 100 years pc vr system it will be like pure magic to them

    and u will never have a perfect virtual reality unless your nervous system is directly hooked up to a pc …..and what we have today works pretty great …..and we can see exactly how the tech will evolve after this 1st gen

  • crim3

    That’s a misconception derived from the unfortunate term (that word, “Reality”, in “Virtual Reality”.) VR is an kind of human-computer interface that stands out from the rest for being more natural by removing abstraction layers and having the potential to be very immersive. The goal of this technology isn’t what you describe.

    • MW

      Sorry , but I disagree. This is a real curse of vr,and the reason why it never works. You can call it misconception, but this is exactly what people expect from vr. And your opinion doesn’t change that fact. If vr cannot create real-reality, than it is pointless, and it will loose with traditional ways to escape from reality- like books,or 2d images.

      • crim3

        The first time I knew about VR was through a TV documentary in 1988 showing some crazy engineers with bulky headsets and *extremely* basic 3D graphics consisting of a few triangles. I got it: the fundamental idea was blocking real reality sensory data and replace it with sensory data coming out of a computer, whatever that was. I found it a fascinating concept.
        I understand that for people whose first contact with the concept of VR was some crazy fantasy in a movie or book, expectations are aswell a fantasy.
        If this is the reality of consumer’s expectations and can’t be changed at this point, well, then let it be that way. But that won’t change what VR really is and feels, that you are interfacing with a computer, an interface with specific use cases. No technology can make a person think 100% that is embedded in an alternate reality instead of interfacing a computer, at least not in this millenia.

        • MW

          In 1988 EVERYTHING was fascinating:) – including super mario. Now, It is impossible to convince consumer, to decrease image quality, and change his 4k 32′ monitor, to pixelated HMD.VR is much more than fill your vision, by strapping smartphone to your face – and that’s basically (from consumer, not engineer point of view) is a modern VR. And that’s why today VR is ‘meh…’ And that’s my point:)

          • crim3

            So well put that… I have to agree.

          • MW

            You don’t know (as I owner of Rift and waiting for Pimax) how I want to lose this argument…:)

          • Gato Satanista

            Different folks, different strokes. I genuinally enjoy the actual state of VR. Sure, we have pixels and we have cables but i was playing The Forest in my monitor last night and no, for me, I cant stand a first person game on my monitor anymore. Playing The Forest in VR is a complete new game and experience. A better one, for me at least. I understand your frustration but its your frustration.

    • MW

      P.S. If I’m wrong, than why all commercials shows VR HMDs like portal to matrix, when in reality, modern vr looks like bunch of pixels viewed through the pipe:)? For now, we only have dreams, ano no real possibilities to achieve that dream.

      • crim3

        Yes, those commercials… also unfortunate :)
        Anyway, technology will get better and get closer to that ideal. At some point it will cross the threshold of “good enough” and it will be ready for the general public.

  • Richard Bettridge

    There has been way to much press coverage for way to long with this company. Why dont you cover me and my amazing AR head set, the magic bleep. It’s like revolutionary but I can’t show it to you or talk about anything about it. But, trust me, we are doing the impossible here people. It’s going to change the world.

  • The Rain in Spain’s Therapist

    “Does this car have breaks?”

    “Hey, you’re not going to sucker me into your gotcha questions!”

  • WyrdestGeek

    The big difference between this and No Man’s Sky is that after they release this and it bombs they will not be able to fix it after the fact because all the failing parts will be made out of hardware.

    (The above is merely my opinionated speculation. If, somehow, Magic Leap manages to put out a praiseworthy product, I will be happy for them.)

  • Glad that I had not the time to watch that :D

  • Jona Adams

    This looks like something for an early adopter with deep pockets.