Qualcomm, the company known for its mobile Snapdragon processors for smartphones and XR headsets, announced a new Metaverse Fund. The chipmaker says the new fund will be a launchpad for XR developers and companies working to build the metaverse.

At GDC 2022 today, Qualcomm launched its Snapdragon Metaverse Fund for companies building “unique, immersive XR experiences, as well as associated core augmented reality (AR)and related artificial intelligence (AI)technologies,” the company says.

Capital is said arrive through a combination of venture investments by Qualcomm Ventures in “leading XR companies” and a separate grant program for XR developers working in gaming, health and wellness, media, entertainment, education, and enterprise.

“We deliver the groundbreaking platform technology and experiences that will enable both the consumer and the enterprise to build and engage in the metaverse and allow the physical and digital worlds to be connected. Qualcomm is the ticket to the metaverse,” said Qualcomm President and CEO Cristiano Amon. “Through the Snapdragon Metaverse Fund, we look forward to empowering developers and companies of all sizes as they push boundaries of what’s possible as we enter into this new generation of spatial computing.”

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Over the years Qualcomm has been increasingly involved in creating reference designs for emerging product categories, many of which in the past centered around VR headsets, which involved its purpose-built Snapdragon XR processors. Those have found their way into VR headsets such as Meta Quest 2, HTC Vive Focus 3, and Pico Neo 3.

Currently the company seems to be focusing on smartphone-tethered AR as the next area of consumer interest. As you’d imagine, the chipmaker is positioning itself deeper into both XR hardware and software creation to better integrate its next generation of Snapdragon processors into the emerging product category.

This follows news that Qualcomm has partnered with Japanese gaming powerhouse Square Enix to create AR content using its Snapdragon Spaces XR developer platform, and TikTok parent company ByteDance to create XR hardware and software.

Developers looking for funding can signup here for Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Fund newsletter.

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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 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • xyzs

    100 million here, 10 billion there, 400 million there…

    2022, the most popular VR headset is still a couple crapy fresnel lenses in front of a mono- LCD screen, just like the phone-made VR gadgets from 10 years ago… the second most popular one is 3 yo hardware with Fresnel lenses in front of 2 medium resolution LCD screens…

    So… great. Another big figure that just means nothing.

    • Kim from Texas

      Two good developments: cheaper, and PC not required. However, definitely more innovation in the AR hardware.

      • blahblahblahblah

        Google Cardboard was free – just needed an Android phone. Oculus Quest is nothing more than an phone screen and some fresnel lenses (and some other stuff – see iFixit teardown video). And they still have no competition, the Pico is basically a shitty version of the Quest. All other new headsets are still tethered but why? Nobody wants a stupid cable and expensive Lidar base stations! Why hasn’t anyone made a better Quest yet?

        • Arturs Gerskovics

          I dont mind base stations

      • sfmike

        Only because the investment money has shifted to AR development after the VR investments didn’t turn into the get rich scheme these investor gurus told them would happen. They will soon be disappointed when AR doesn’t triple their investments in 4 quarters. These people have more money than brains or patients.

    • namekuseijin

      ok, flatlander

      • ianlaplace

        flatlander refers to someone who lives in a flat area – not to be confused for flat earther which refers to an individual who believes the earth is flat. i

        • namekuseijin

          they also play flat out boring old flat retro games

    • asdf

      hahaha this guy is so narrow minded. There have been soooo many tech advancements in VR in this short amount of time already. Not to mention of the software advancements we have made to allow these things.

      Grow up ass hat, otherwise go touch grass

    • Butterbean

      Google Cardboard didn’t have 6DOF, hand tracking, touch controllers, or wireless PCVR. The fact that you’re even comparing phone “VR” to a modern VR system is laughable. The experience is night and day different.

  • sfmike

    And don’t forget that these investments are all hinged on the golden goose egg of the investment gurus pushing the idea that AR is going to make back all their investment money in spades just they way they told the same investors that VR would quickly make a huge return their investments in a couple quarters. They have already given up on VR and the next step is the investment community of get rich quick seekers giving up on AR once they don’t see a quick turnaround of this money.

    • XRC

      Is it 2013/14 again?

  • Cragheart

    Quest 2’s rendered FOV is 104° horizontal and 98° vertical. The SoC is a modified Snapdragon 865 which is much weaker than a GTX 1050 Ti or Ryzen 1600.

    It’s just impossible to build a true Metaverse with base specs like that. Metaverse is when people connect using brain links, not controllers and headsets.

    Either technology starts moving much, much quicker or we are not seeing Metaverse anytime soon. In recent years, I’ve seen technology slow down instead of do the required opposite.