THE #1 AV NEWS PUBLICATION. PERIOD.

Becoming UnGlued

glue collaboration

Remember Glue Collaboration? The cool head-and-torso avatars that made the metaverse seem like it was filled with legless players off a tabletop “foosball” field1?

The parent company of Glue has now filed for bankruptcy. A letter from the CEO, Jussi Havu, explains that without a definite solution in sight the Glue service may be (soon) discontinued.

table football game, abstract light

Founded in Finland in 2004, Glue’s owner (named Fake Production) is a VR and gaming studio that won multiple awards for animation. Wooed by the metaverse like most of us in 2016, founder Santtu Parikka developed the company’s first multi-user VR prototypes.

Then the 2020 pandemic arrived and launched Glue into fame. Glue focused on remote collaboration by combining immersive 3D graphics, virtual reality and cloud computing. Its bold graphics and unique vision (Glue avatars already used AI facial animation and lip-syncing technology to closely mimic people’s behaviors and features) attracted commercial partners such as HP, Microsoft, Oculus, Unity, Telia and more.

Fueled by COVID-19 conditions, Glue even developed a collaboration toolkit and offered virtual spaces where teams could present, brainstorm, co-create, annotate, take notes, and facilitate meetings.

Customers who embraced Glue, often with plenty of public enthusiasm, included large corporates such as Deutsche Telekom, Boston Consulting Group, Axel Springer, KLM, Sodexo, Salesforce and others.

“It is the naturality of the environment, the wideness of space and the Intuitive handling which makes Glue our first choice for virtual collaboration,” said Axel-Springer’s Chris Krauss, the product lead for Immersive. Axel-Springer is a large publisher in Germany that owns the famous publications BILD, WELT and others — as well as online properties such as the globally known tech website Business Insider.

Blame the attraction on “cabin fever” (the psychological symptoms a person may experience when they are confined to their home for long periods), but Glue was the darling of the pandemic years. The company straddled the holy trinity of the time: XR, metaverse and remote collaboration.

See related  HP and Google Partner to Compete with Logitech’s Project Ghost with Rebirth of 2021’s Project Starline

When the pandemic faded (or at least when the fear of the pandemic faded), collaboration became institutionalized — and even COVID’s greatest success stories like Zoom came under the hammer of back-to-office and “integrated” tools such as Microsoft Teams. Others began to wonder, “Why half an avatar?” After some years, customers expected the Glue avatars would develop further, become realistic whole people instead of a head-and-torso tribe with unconnected hands. A bit of forearm, yes, but never even an elbow. And then came the knock-out punch as AI came out swinging and metaverse dropped to the mat. It’s not that Glue didn’t have dreams for AI. Imagine combining AI with avatars …

No, it was the speed at which AI entered the ring and knocked out not just Glue but whole industries. Just one big punch broke the face of virtual reality platforms.

Then, AI was the winner.

It’s a tough break for Glue. And I doubt anyone watching Glue succeed in 2020 would have imagined this end, an end where Glue couldn’t stick, and could no longer bond together customers and financing.

The news has now been published on Glue’s website, in the “NEWS” section with the somewhat misleading title, “Important Announcement.”

Glue

In that announcement, the former CEO of now defunct Glue says the assets of the company are for sale. For additional information regarding the bankruptcy proceedings, you can email insolvenssi@borenius.com.

+++
1: Despite the leg(s) you see here, tell me my visual reference to tabletop soccer wasn’t spot on?

Top