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What motivates developers to develop for Magic Leap One?

Tim Isenman (@TimIsenman) raised an interesting question, asking what incentive developers think they have right now, other than developing for the platform for pure experimentation as the Magic Leap one headset is not intended for the consumer market, and obviously, the consumer market right now doesn’t exist. The headset is very expensive, and if there are quite a few people non-developers who bought it, this obviously isn’t a motivation factor for devs.

I can’t speak for the developers themselves, just for myself, and of course, each developer will have its own reasons why he or she has decided to buy the Magic Leap One and start developing for it.

Watching the Magic Leap community, indeed, what most people do is learning the platform and start experimenting with it, trying to figure out some good use cases for it and see whether their business can benefit from it.

Although the Magic Leap One is meant for developers, it doesn’t mean that developers won’t think about develops business apps that businesses can use right here right now with it. As long as the platform can answer some market needs, they might as well buy the app and a few of those headsets and use it in their business. I mean, it is a viable option, whether it will happen or not.

Of course, when we are talking about the Magic Leap One, I’m sure many developers will want to have a large market that they sell their apps to. Just look at what happens in the Android and iOS market, many developers choose to target those platforms because of its extended reach. Most developers will prefer to develop for a platform that has a lot of consumers using its hardware. I am not talking about specialized apps that are designed for small minority groups of special personal or business needs but developing casual apps for the mass market.

For example, if you are a developer, would you develop a casual game for a platform that has 100 users or one that has 10,000 users? Well, I guess that you probably will go with the later, right?

So what motivated Magic Leap developers to develop for a platform with a headset that isn’t for the consumer?

  • Having an experience with the platform once the consumer headset is released?
  • Gain a lead over competitors and be able to deliver a product shortly after the consumer headset is launched.
  • Ability to prepare a port, MR version or integrated functionality with the app of their current live project when it the consumer headset arrives? So it isn’t just for the sake of experimentation, but being forward thinker and using the technology to provide users with a better experience of your already released or planned release of a non-MR app
  • The ability to build a name for yourself in the industry, whether as an individual developer or as a company. Join communities and take an active part in it, learning from others and be ready for that moment when the consumer headset is released and there is a demand for MR developers in the industry.
  • Build strong relationships with other developers to might form a Mixed Reality developer company that can focus on Mixed Reality app development. this is a great time to start, instead of starting from zero only when the consumer headset is announced or released.
  • Explore all the creative possibilities that the platform enables. This is a new medium that allow so many great creative ideas to come true. As a web developer, I see myself also as an artist, a person who likes to creat new things, this what makes me enjoy waking up in the morning and make my ideas come true using the platform I develop with.
  • Experimenting with the headset prior to the consumer gives you time to make you gain the experience needed to develop that unique creative thinking needed to be able to develop attractive MR apps. We are no longer developing for a rectangular bounded display, the world around us is our canvas. One of the things that developers will realize when they pick up the system is how different it is from anything they tried so far. It takes time to set your mind into completely understanding that spatial platform’s capabilities and what can be achieved with it. Only by experimentation, you are able to make that switch and start thinking of creative ideas that are a perfect match for this platform rather than the standard screen-based ones.

So yes, right now, most of it mostly for pure experimentation, but the reasons I’ve stated above are ones that can motivate many developers to dip into this technology in its early stage rather than waiting for the moment a consumer headset is ready.

Furthermore, many developers truly believe in the future of this technology, and they have the true understanding that in order for that technology to be successful, it needs them to make some app that can truly show the platform’s capability. The ability to uses the platform to explore all its creative boundaries, which is a great journey by itself. As a web developer, what motivates me it the ability to create new things by myself with the hope I also can earn from my passion later on.

Some want to be able to build apps that might be released with the consumer headset when it is released. The can build a great app or game and talk with Magic Leap so their app will be bundled with the headset. This will give that company an option to capitalize on their long efforts and build a name for itself in an industry that it so much believe in its future.

There are also some who want to create the “next big thing” for spatial computing. Those people won’t wait for the last minute and let other pick up that fruit. They want to be there first and make sure those amazing ideas that will be released eventually one way or the other, they will have part of their creation. Many people are thinking about the next “YouTube” for mixed reality, and they want to experience with the platform to get to the point where they are able to imagine that next big thing. The best way to do it is if you experiment with the technology first hand.

It’s important to understand that these are some reasons why developers might be motivated to develop for the platform, unrelated to whether their reasons might help push the technology forward or make it successful, just reasons.

Regarding expectations for earning money from the work or being motivated by financial gain in order to continue putting effort into what they do. If I was a developer for the Magic Leap One, I would be motivated to put efforts early on in order to pick up the fruits later on the road. So I won’t be motivated by quick financial gain, but being able to capitalize on my efforts once the consumer headset arrives.

There might be ways to monetize on current efforts by aiming to business and enterprise markets or developing an app that people can have a great benefit right here right now and it will be worthwhile for them to buy the app and invest in a headset for this. If it’s for improving productivity, making art, etc. However, I don’t think this is an incentive that many developers will focus on. So as for right now, it seems the the focus is on learning and experimenting with the technology. After all, without doing so, I will you be able to fully explore its capabilities and know where to put your effots on.

There are probably plenty of other reasons. You can share yours in the tweet I’ve posted on Twitter and share your motivations.