Report: Magic Leap Faked Its Amazing AR Demo Video

Magic Leap

The augmented reality company Magic Leap has teased some mind-blowing AR technology, including a promotional video of a really fun-looking game that has been viewed more than 3.4 million times. But, as is often the case, if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. A new report claims that the video — which was passed off as an authentic demo — was actually created by a special effects company.

The Information reports that the Florida-based startup is drastically overselling what it can do and being intentionally misleading. Former employees told The Information’s Reed Albergotti that Magic Leap “pushed the boundaries of marketing.”

One video in question, which was titled “Just another day in the office,” came out in March of 2015, and people were floored by the display. In the short, a person presumably wearing Magic Leap technology seamlessly shoots robots that interact with the reality around him. It looks pretty sweet, and Magic Leaps used it to build buzz and recruit employees. The YouTube description reads “This is a game we’re playing around the office right now.”

The problem is that the game didn’t actually exist. Two former employees told Albergotti that the “aspirational conceptual” video had been produced by Weta Workshop, a New Zealand-based special effects company best known for its work on the Lord of the Rings films.

Magic Leap says that it’s started work on actually making the game in the video since then, which seems like something they probably should’ve done beforehand.

The report also reveals that a lot of the technology that Magic Leap has shown off to the press and public is not going to make it to the commercial market. Some of the prototypes involve technology that’s effective, but so large and cumbersome that it seems impossible that it’ll ever be scaled down to the point where it can fit in some glasses. The first prototype, for instance, was the size of a refrigerator and was nicknamed “the beast.”

Magic Leap has created some pretty incredible technology, but if this report is to be believed, it’s not all that similar to the technology that the company — which is valued at $4.5 billion — has been promising.