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Tech companies (and at least one billionaire) spent most of last week backtracking from statements. Meta, who, having clearly shown full-bodied avatars (yes, full-bodied, with legs!) in its metaverse offering Horizon Worlds went totally back on that demonstration to clarify that CEO Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan's virtual counterparts were, in fact, created using motion capture.
Full-bodied avatars are coming to Meta's virtual reality universe but you have to wait until next year before you can see them. This was one of the announcements from Meta's much anticipated but ultimately underwhelming Connect event which also saw the release of Meta Quest Pro — a whopping ~$1,500 virtual reality headset that Meta clarified was not the Quest 3 but instead a less bulky and more advanced version of hardware needed to tune into Zuckerberg's vision of The Matrix.
The headset is the social media giant's first big product since Zuckerberg bet his all on the metaverse by rebranding Facebook into Meta, but the new direction hasn't won him investor confidence. In fact, investors' lukewarm response has impacted Zuckerberg's personal net worth and led to calls for him to step down and move aside.
Facebook is either ahead of the curve or the next in a long line of failures attempting to create virtual worlds that people can step into, and all this chatter about the company and its future helped it remain comfortably at the top of HackerNoon's Tech Company Rankings for yet another week. 👑
Nvidia presses rewind on 4080 variant ⏪
Nvidia has a problem, and that problem is Nvidia itself.
Having launched a pretty badass Founders Edition 4090, the company realized that it couldn't just release two versions of the next graphic card. Officially, having GPUs with the 4080 designation — the 4080 12 GB and 4080 16 GB — would be confusing for consumers, Nvidia said, but observers say that the lower (and cheaper!) 4080 variant was simply a rebranded 4070 (which hasn't been announced yet).
With the lower 4080 variant 'unlaunched', consumers are left with no choice but to cough up a premium to get their hands on the remaining version of the graphic card. Nvidia's response to the high graphic prices has basically been to 'shove it'.
There was also a minor controversy involving Corsair and a tech YouTube channel that benchmarked the 4090. A Corsair staffer called portions of YouTuber Gamers Nexus' reviews "total bullshit" though Corsair later issued an apology for its employee's conduct.
Nvidia was trending #69 on HackerNoon's Tech Company Rankings.
Musk '💲mell💲' an opportunity
Elon Musk has figured out a way to turn his followers into paying customers, and it involves selling items that capitalize on his popularity and social media reach. Case in point: 'Burnt Hair', a newly announced fragrance that captures the "essence of repugnant desire" and sells for $100 a bottle.
Already, the 'perfume' has helped raise $1 million for the world's richest man who only recently reversed course again and agreed to buy Twitter. Throughout the entire 'will he, won't he' Twitter saga, Tesla — which was cofounded by Musk — has seen its stock price rise and fall, kind of like its cofounder's erratic behavior.
Musk was also in the news for reversing course on a Starlink-related announcement. The billionaire appeared to be wanting to discontinue Starlink in Ukraine unless the Pentagon paid his company SpaceX for the service, but then apparently had a change of heart and decided to continue providing it. Starlink is SpaceX's satellite internet service and has been crucial in keeping Ukraine’s military online during the war against Russia.
Twitter was trending #60 this week, while Tesla was trending #91 on HackerNoon's Tech Company Rankings.
And that’s a wrap! Thanks for reading Tech Company News Brief Issue #20! See y’all next week. PEACE ☮️
— Sheharyar Khan, Editor, Business Tech @ HackerNoon