Going into 2023, Elega Corporation will begin doing some new things again, as we've kind of been in a steady holding pattern of producing new courses and releasing updates to our first game, Kalling Kingdom. We still intend to maintain much of this holding pattern going into next year but we have made an effort throughout 2022 to get involved in some new things. If you read our previous update, you likely saw that we've begun an ongoing investment in renewable energy, and we announced that we do have a proprietary 2D game engine, which I refer to as Project Aperture, currently in development. In this update, I'll lay out some of the more interesting things we have going on as we move in to 2023 and some long-term research that we're currently looking into.
We just finished an unprecedented number of hours worked for completing 3 new Pluralsight courses and we're continuing to work on more new courses through the end of the year and going into 2023. The new courses we created were Introduction to the Salesforce Administrator Certification, Salesforce Administration: Configuration and Setup, and Salesforce Administration: Sales and Marketing Apps. If you're interested, you can see the full list of courses in the Products page. The next new course should be coming out before the end of the year and then we'll later have news on what should hopefully be some programming focused content coming next year.
Kalling Kingdom Updates
More new updates to Kalling Kingdom are still coming and throughout 2022 it was difficult to find much time after the first quarter to work on the game. That said, we've definitely not given up on the game at all, and still have much to do in line with our originally stated goals: a graphical overhaul, ongoing UI updates, save-game fuinctionality, and even new game systems. In addition, I'm working on providing a version of the game that would run on the web, within a browser. I don't have clear certainty that we'll be able to do this by the end of next year but it is very much something I'm trying to get functional. The reason is that we've provided ways to play on Windows and Linux: the web would provide accessibility to a large number of other devices, including mobile phones, tablets, and AR/VR headsets. I expect to provide an update on this closer to the third quarter (Q3) of 2023.
Elega Corp Store
It is in the long-term plan to build a native Elega Corporation digital storefront here at the website that would sell limited merchandise, digital downloads, and other physical products. While I don't have anything concrete or even anything started on this yet, it is something that you'll likely hear more about as we go into next year. This is just a part of becoming more 'independent' in a pure sense of the word, and in regard to software storefronts: will allow us to keep more of the revenue from products we sell to customers directly.
It is clear that while our new game engine is starting off as a 2D engine, this is an opportunity to start building a proprietary technology that we can invest in for the long-term. 3D rendering is certainly possible for us to build in-house, and it's something we'll likely put some work into at some point. That said, it's important not to be overly ambitious out of the gate, and there are a number of experiences, both with and without games as projects, that will be valuable in 2D. One of the revelations that I've had the past number of months, as I'll describe in more detail below in the section on research, is that the web is an area we'll be focusing a bit more on going forward in order to reach the largest number of potential customers.
Otherwise, Project Aperture will support a 2D tile map world editor, and provide support for sound, controller and keyboard input, and focus on data-driven designs to avoid having to do recompilation of the entire engine. Important to note that we currently have no intention to monetize this custom engine, it will be used to create other software from us as the creators. We do have ideas we're exploring for new games in the future.
Website Infrastructure and WebXR VR Experience
We wrote some time ago about the static site generation tool that is written in the Rust programming language used to create this website and provide updates to it. We're continuing to build out this tool with some new updates, including adding a 'contact us' form to the website, and some degree of accessibility features like other color schemes and recorded audio playback for every blog post. In light of the ongoing expansion of mixed reality headsets, we've begun work on designing an immersive virtual reality (VR) experience for visitors to the website, who will have the option to explore the site's content using VR headsets such as the Meta Quest 2 and Meta Quest Pro.
In line with the audio playback that will be available on the regular website: visitors to the VR experience will be able to listen to blog posts instead of reading them, for example, and explore a space that will likely be a combination of a physical building with outdoor scenery. Just like the regular website is today: we plan to start simple with the VR experience and then steadily add features. Since this is the very first VR experience Elega has produced: we'll be focusing on all the basic essentials, including high performance, a beautiful environment, and ease of use within the VR interface.
Lessons From Ongoing Research: The Right and Wrong of the Metaverse
Headlines everywhere seem to be following the apparent demise of the still somewhat newly branded Meta, the evolution of Facebook into a company focused on creating mixed reality products and social experiences. Their stock price has fallen in a major way this year, along with the rest of the bearish American stock market, and a lot of the cultural zeitgeist seems to be full of anxiety, tension, impatience, or just flat out naysaying against the oncoming construction of the metaverse.
While there are many aspects to what have been put forward in the metaverse space I simply do not believe in, there are a number of realities that should be acknowledged as Meta continues to push this as their company's sole direction. For one, Meta still has a massive number of active users across its platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and others. Facebook alone now has over 2 billion users with a practically imcomprehensible level of cashflow moving into Meta's bank accounts. While the younger generations do not tend to view these platforms favorably and are spending more of their time on TikTok and YouTube: it is clear that these kinds of numbers cannot be ignored when considering the financial realities of Meta as an overall company.
In 2017, Mark Zuckerberg stated a goal to get 1 billion people into VR headsets, and this likely means selling hundreds of millions of VR/AR glasses that do not yet exist. In conservative, realistic terms: it is estimated that over 34 million VR headsets will be sold by the end of 2024. After experiencing this technology myself earlier in 2022 on a Quest 2: I believe that there is something very real going on. In order for Zuckerberg's vision to become a reality, a number of problems must be solved with VR technology.
Virtual reality motion sickness must be 90%-100% solved, and this is tricky given that there is still a lot of uncertainty around it, and ongoing research to know whether solving this in totality is possible. In present day: a lot of people still feel sick when they use VR headsets because of the disconnect between what their eyes see and their brain inteprets across the rest of their senses. Form factor is another major challenge: tiny projectors, silicon, battery, and other critical components must fit into a pair of glasses small enough to be usable for everyday wear and social acceptance. The software also has a long way to go: with the Quest 2 I spend a lot of time waiting on things to load, I find a lot of my work is either difficult or impossible to do within the headset, and there are still protocols or formats you can't work with (or work with very well, at least) in these devices.
But even with all those negative points and present day realities, there is a fact that is very real here that many are either not understanding, or choosing to ignore. It is possible using these devices to have any number of screens that the compute capability of the headset can support. This means that, even with slightly lower resolution in future models, a single headset could become a young person's living room TV, their mobile phone, their work laptop, and their gaming console all in one device. This has happened previously with the mobile phone and laptop: not many people are choosing to buy dedicated music players anymore, and a lot of people only pay for cable TV because they have to: they'd prefer just to stream everything over the web.
In line with many previous transformations, I'm predicting that many people will cease paying for new TVs and computer monitors because it will be more straightforward to simply purchase a VR headset. Many I explain this to like to argue with me: they point to the present day technology as an example. But I'm not talking about the present day technology: this is where we're going with future models. The ongoing evolution of the technology already points in this direction. We're seeing incremental improvements all the time that indicate this, including the Meta Quest Pro headset. While the price tag of the headset is around $1500 dollars: many are neglecting to see that with a number of incremental improvements, this puts Meta within the striking distance of having a device that is similar in pricing to a mobile phone or laptop, and has virtual experiences available on top of similar functionality to existing devices to boot.
In popular media, too many are still hung up on the notion of the more outlandish claims regarding the metaverse, and Zuckerberg's own personal obsessions with social experiences. It's not really the case that people will want to spend tons of their time in alternate virtual lands... with virtual real estate, artificial scarcity, and cryptocurrency. These aspects will likely fail for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that most normal people, even normal people in the future, just won't want to spend their time that way. I think it's also quite possible that even corporate meetings with avatars will fail, unless we enter another global pandemic really fast and that provides the next-best option for virtual office interaction.
Instead, think about the practicality that is on its way: you'll carry multiple monitors or a large screen TV with you on the go. You'll have a computer that not only fits in your pocket, but can transport you to other places. From a privacy perspective: no one can be peering over your shoulder, they'd have to be between the headset and your own eyes. Once a headset exists that is small enough to exist as a pair of glasses, works well enough to have all the features of a mobile phone, and has a battery life that can last all day: that will likely be the tipping point where more people will have glasses than they have mobile phones.
Elega Corporation's role in this oncoming transformation is to be well positioned. We plan to begin constructing VR experiences, or at least provide VR options, for whatever applications we produce. This is why, even though we're not going to make some separate version of Kalling Kingdom as a VR edition: it will still be important to have versatility in how you choose to play. We want those in these headsets to still be able to play 2D games and have those valuable experiences if they choose these headsets increasingly as their primary compute devices.
We are staying the course for our existing initiatives and products, and we're preparing for the future with diversified investments into other areas, including being well positioned for future software that we create. Our overall point regarding research into mixed reality and the metaverse is: the metaverse isn't about social experiences, cryptocurrency, or living in virtual space for us. Instead, it's about the practical benefits of using mixed reality technologies as a part of the things we already do in the world, while providing additional options for ways to interact with the systems, games, and applications we want to use.
I'm excited to finish out 2022 and begin 2023. We have some exciting things coming that will only be possible because of the years of effort we've put into our existing products. I think, more than ever, Elega is building on an increasingly solid foundation now. I can't wait to finish new things and show them to you. Thanks for reading.