44. Will Google, Meta, Amazon, or Apple release an AR headset in 2023?
resolved Jan 1

An AR (Augmented Reality) headset is defined as a wearable where the user can see through it (unlike a VR headset) to the outside world, and it adds new visual information on top of what the viewer sees. It’s not sufficient to have glasses that have functionality like taking pictures, or that modify the visual field with filters. The new visual information must be in some way based on what the user is doing or seeing. Microsoft Hololens would qualify, but is already extant. Must be released by one of Meta, Google, Apple, Amazon specifically, and must be available for purchase by the public in some capacity.

This is question #44 in the Astral Codex Ten 2023 Prediction Contest. The contest rules and full list of questions are available here. Market will resolve according to Scott Alexander’s judgment, as given through future posts on Astral Codex Ten.

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predicted NO

I’ve owned a Quest 3 since October, have had a Quest 2 for two years, and have tried HoloLens and several other AR headsets. The passthrough quality on the Quest 3 is good enough for Mixed Reality experiences like the First Encounters demo where your attention is on the virtual objects and the real world is in the background, but it is a very poor experience when the situation is reversed and you try to look at something in the real world. Don’t even think about trying to read something, or to wash dishes or vacuum while you watch VR TV because you won’t be able to see any dirt. And there’s pretty bad distortion artifacts sometimes, I think because the cameras aren’t positioned where your eyes are, they have to create a 3D model of the world around you in real time and then render a view of that for each eye. And I usually never get motion sickness in VR, even in games with joystick movement, but if I walk around for a few minutes in Quest 3 passthrough I get pretty nauseous.

So it’s totally impractical to use these like “smart glasses” that overlay information onto the world as you go about your daily life, which was the major selling point of Augmented Reality. While the passthrough resolution is much better than Quest 2, it’s still not good enough to enable any significant new use cases.

predicted YES
bought Ṁ100 of YES

@Abraxas Should resolve yes. To quote Scott:

Any headset which allows AR capabilities counts, including if that happens through projecting the outside world onto an internal screen through cameras.

predicted YES

@Shump It's just preorder

bought Ṁ153 of YES

@ElmerFudd looks like orders are live now 🎉

predicted NO

@Abraxas so it’s possible to get one of these delivered?

predicted YES


At least here it seems to be

predicted YES

@BTE yup. Website gives delivery dates in November.


@BTE any reason for the switch to no?

predicted YES

@Abraxas It is just an alternative way to sell some of my shares without “selling”. I am experimenting with different ways to manipulate league profits. Turns out you can profit hugely in leagues betting against your own long term position in a market.

predicted YES

@BTE ahh interesting

predicted NO

"Microsoft Hololens would qualify, but is already extant" <-- the word and spirit of this market was pretty clearly not inclusive of passthrough VR headsets. If it were, then they would have at least mentioned Quest 2, which has (greyscale) pass-through and is far more popular than Hololens (Quest 2 = tens of millions sold, Hololens = a few hundred thousand) - if only as a way to specify that e.g. "greyscale passthrough doesn't count".

The market description doesn't include a passthrough VR product that's a couple of orders of magnitude more popular and well-known than the one mentioned. It specifically calls out a rare (basically-unknown-in-comparison) product that conforms to the widely-used definition of "AR device".

This market should resolve N/A due to the July ACX 'clarifications' non-trivially changing the resolution criteria.

@BTE @jack

predicted NO

The bullshit resolution criterion giveth, and the bullshit resolution criterion taketh away.

predicted YES

@firstuserhere check out the revised resolution criteria below.

bought Ṁ100 of YES

I'm amazed I just discovered this, but Scott Alexander has addressed this and other ACX clarification questions back in July! Check out this comment for all the clarifications.

Regarding this headset question, Scott wrote:

I will defer to Dan Schwartz from Metaculus, who wrote this question, but if he doesn't weigh in, then my interpretation is that any headset which allows AR capabilities counts, including if that happens through projecting the outside world onto an internal screen through cameras.

And Dan Schwartz responded:

Agree with Scott, we should interpret "user can see through it" to refer to the capability, not the literal transparency of the material. Mixed Reality (MR) devices that do this with cameras would count.

bought Ṁ100 of YES

@kenakofer This just completely changed the ballgame here.

bought Ṁ500 of YES

@kenakofer This means Apples new device qualifies and resolves this YES.

bought Ṁ650 of YES

@kenakofer This needs to be added to description.

sold Ṁ215 of YES

@kenakofer It looks like @chrisjbillington knew about this obscure public clarification, and at least one user on Metaculus knew (citizen). No judgement, but I'm curious if there are other traders who knew but kept it to themselves?

@kenakofer Ha, would have bid this one up and then let people know if I'd been aware of this market - I was just interested in the inflation and SpaceX clarifications.

What's going on now? This market is only at 85%, is there some uncertainty remaining?

Or is it that even though it is something that has definitely happened, the risk-free rate for a few months on Manifold is currently ~15% owing to superconductor opportunity cost?

@chrisjbillington it hasn't actually happened yet, and the definitional resolution hasn't propagated yet

predicted YES

@cloudprism How has it now happened? Because Apple’s device hasn’t shipped yet? Wouldn’t the new Oculus also qualify which has?

predicted NO

@BTE Link? The earlier comments talked about two products, one from Apple and one from Meta, neither of which was released yet.

@BTE The question states 2023. The Quest Pro was released in 2022. The Quest 3 is said to be expected later this year. The AVP is said to be expected in early 2024.

bought Ṁ100 of YES

@cloudprism Can you “purchase” them though? Cause it doesn’t say shipped it says able to be purchased.

@BTE It says released AND purchasable. Technically they have already begun shipping dev kits to public applicants but those headsets are only on loan. I would assume it to mean "publicly released and purchasable without restriction", as in I can buy one and use it this calendar year.

predicted YES

@kenakofer This makes me extremely happy

bought Ṁ61 of NO

@kenakofer Why does this change anything? Apple's headset isn't releasing this year, Meta's headsets don't have AR capabilities (don't overlay visual information), Amazon and Google don't make headsets -- this should be at 85% NO

Edit: Upon further investigation Meta's headsets do support overlaying visual information, though this doesn't seem to be a very well-known feature. Calling them AR seems wrong to me but they do fit the criteria. Guess I'm not investing after all

@MoritzBrodel Apple's headset is available to the public already if you apply through their developer program for a loaned devkit. Meta's headsets in fact do have AR capabilities that overlay visual information, including the headset slated to release later this year. Amazon is heavily invested in gaming and adjacent technology, and has ventured into hardware before (Kindle, etc.) Google was the first bigtech to release an AR device, is similarly invested in gaming-related technologies, and would stand to benefit greatly from AR, especially considering both their consumer geolocation software prowess as well as being founded on a content discovery engine for the web, which is very likely to be an important component of the AR future.

sold Ṁ61 of NO

@cloudprism Being able to apply for a devkit clearly does not make the device released. See my edit for Meta. As for Amazon and Google, it seems doubtful either would enter the space (again) within such a short timeframe.