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Les Mills is jumping into the metaverse with VR boxing – The Verge

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The tech-savvy gym is among the first to launch its own fitness game
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Popular fitness club Les Mills is punching and kicking its way into the metaverse with a new VR game, BODYCOMBAT VR. The $29.99 game is an extension of an existing workout series that combines shadowboxing with martial arts and is available on the Meta Quest platform.
The game was developed by VR studio Odder Labs and is led by Les Mills BODYCOMBAT directors Rachael Newsham and Dan Cohen. According to Les Mills’ press release, the game incorporates classic boxing moves like jabs, hooks, and uppercuts, as well as squats and slips to dodge walls. Other moves include grabbing targets to slam into a user’s knee. Levels are set against “intergalactic deserts and neo-city skylines” and set to curated playlists. Players earn points for both technique and effort. There are 25 training sessions spanning multiple difficulties, and Newsham and Cohen are there throughout to provide coaching tips.
If this sounds familiar, it’s probably because popular VR fitness app Supernatural did this not too long ago. In October, Supernatural added boxing to its workout repertoire, and the mechanics look awfully similar to the ones shown in the BODYCOMBAT VR trailer. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Les Mills and Supernatural each have their own devoted fanbases, and not everyone wants to pay for multiple subscriptions. According to the official Meta Quest Help Twitter, BODYCOMBAT VR is a one-time purchase, with the option for additional subscriptions later down the line.
Les Mills is among one of the more tech-savvy fitness brands out there. It’s got Les Mills Plus (formerly Les Mills OnDemand), a subscription streaming service that’s compatible with a wide variety of platforms, including Apple TV, Roku, and Xbox. The service launched back in 2015, well before the pandemic lockdowns sent many brick-and-mortar gym franchises scrambling to create online content to cater to the burgeoning at-home fitness craze.
Les Mills is showing some of that same forward thinking by embracing the metaverse, as many believe VR is the next frontier for fitness tech. During the Facebook-to-Meta rebranding, CEO Mark Zuckerberg emphasized fitness as one area where the metaverse had an opportunity to grow. The fact that Meta then scooped up Supernatural developer Within soon after while also offering an “Active Pack” of fitness-focused accessories for the Quest 2 is further proof of Zuckerberg’s bullishness on VR fitness.
But while Les Mills may be among the first big-name fitness brands to venture into VR, it’s not the only one to explore gaming. Before things started to roll downhill, Peloton also announced last year it was working on an in-app cycling video game called Lanebreak.
Again, fitness gaming is not a new phenomenon. Wii Fit, Dance Dance Revolution, Beat Saber, Just Dance, and Nintendo Ring Fit Adventure are just some titles that folks have used to burn calories over the years. There are also several other VR fitness games available on the Meta Quest platform. However, many of these are games that happen to offer a fitness benefit. What we’re starting to see now is fitness brands creating workouts that happen to be games.
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Meta's losses show the metaverse's costly risk – Insider Intelligence

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Facebook parent Meta launches startup accelerator with India’s IT ministry in metaverse push – TechCrunch

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Meta Platforms is looking at India’s burgeoning startup ecosystem as it bolsters its bet on the metaverse. The social juggernaut has partnered with the Indian IT Ministry’s startup hub to launch an accelerator in the country to broaden innovation in emerging technologies, including augmented reality and virtual reality, officials said Tuesday.
MeitY Startup Hub and Meta’s effort, called XR Startup Program, will work with 40 early-stage startups and help them in research and development and developing workable products and services. Each startup will also receive a grant of over $25,000, the American giant said.
The program, supported by Meta’s $50 million XR Programs and Research Fund, will initially hand pick 80 startups to attend a bootcamp. It will also help startups with finding customers, inking relationships and raising funds, Meta said.
Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Electronics & Information Technology and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, said the program is especially aimed at helping encourage technology innovation in smaller cities and towns.
The XR Startup Program is the latest of Meta’s growing participation in the South Asian market’s upskilling efforts. The firm, whose Facebook and WhatsApp services identify India as their largest market by users, partnered with Central Board of Secondary Education, a government body that oversees education in private and public schools in the country, to launch a certified curriculum on digital safety and online well-being, and augmented reality for students and educators in the country.
The program — to be implemented by four Indian institutions, including IIT Delhi — will also host a “grand challenge” for innovation in categories including education, healthcare, entertainment, agritech, climate action, sustainability and tourism, the American giant said.
“India will play a pivotal role in defining future technologies. Decisions and investments made here in India now shape global discussions on how technology can deliver more economic opportunity and better outcomes for people. It is critical that we help to create an ecosystem that will enable India’s tech startups and innovators to build the foundations of the metaverse,” said Joel Kaplan, VP of Global Policy at Meta, in a statement.
Meta’s interest with working with startups in India is also not newly found. The company has backed three startups in the country, including social commerce platform Meesho and online education group Unacademy.
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“India’s rapid tech adoption combined with a vast pool of tech talent puts the country in a vantage position for shaping the future of the internet,” said Ajit Mohan, VP and MD of Facebook India, in a statement.
“For this future to be equitable, it will require active participation from all stakeholders, including developers, businesses, creators, policymakers, and entrepreneurs. We are excited to collaborate with MeitY Startup Hub and hope that the XR Startup Program will act as a catalyst to unlock the use of immersive technology across sectors like education, healthcare, agritech and tourism, not only in India but across the globe.”

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WHAT IS QUILVIUS (QVUI)? LET'S EXPLORE THIS UPCOMING METAVERSE CRYPTO PROJECT – Asianet Newsable

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WHAT IS QUILVIUS (QVUI)? LET’S EXPLORE THIS UPCOMING METAVERSE CRYPTO PROJECT  Asianet Newsable
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