Saudi Arabia has recently injected more than half a billion dollars into augmented reality company Magic Leap, which it hopes will rival Apple’s Vision Pro mixed reality headset.
Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund gained majority share of the US-based Magic Leap in January 2023, widening its stake in the AR hardware creator with a deal tallying $450 million.
The wealth fund, which is controlled by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, invests in projects considered to be strategically significant to diversifying its national economy.
Now The Telegraph reports the country’s investment arm has injected another $590 million (£463 million) into Magic Leap. The fresh funding round brings the company’s overall outside investment to more than $4.5 billion.
Founded in 2010 by Rony Abovitz, the Plantation, Florida-based company first launched its first AR headset, Magic Leap 1 (previously styled ‘One’), with consumer ambitions. Seen as an early misstep by the company, the device was left to straddle the prosumer segment with limited success. To boot, in mid-2020 Abovitz stepped down as CEO, bringing in Microsoft’s Executive VP of Business Development Peggy Johnson to fill the role.
Shortly after the company released its follow-up headset, Magic Leap 2, which was squarely targeted at enterprise partners at $3,500—the same price as Apple’s soon-to-launch Vision Pro mixed reality headset.
Vision Pro is a mixed reality headset that, unlike the see-through waveguide-based Magic Leap 2, uses virtual reality displays and passthrough cameras to deliver augmented reality apps.
Will Magic Leap 2 be able to compete with Apple? It’s certainly worth watching. Whatever the case, if Magic Leap hopes to release a third device, it likely needed the cash, as the company has reportedly been unprofitable since the launch of Magic Leap 1 in 2018.
This article was originally published on roadtovr