The only problem with creating something entirely new is figuring out where to start. "If the platform is to succeed, we need a very different kind of application," Devine said. "And there, we've no idea of the controls because it's everything. It's my hands, it's my head pose, it's my gaze, it's my smartphone, it's things I write down on a piece of paper, it's controllers... it's everything. It's everything that we use in the real world today. And that's really hard."
Devine is adamant that "mixed reality is going to change the world" -- which he says with all the enthusiasm you'd expect from someone with the title Chief Game Wizard at the world's most secretive and hyped startup. He knows, though, that people won't be buying whatever hardware the company is cooking up, but experiences. "It's most of what we do."
Describing the company's experience prototyping process, Devine says Magic Leap is still learning what mixed reality means. But there are a few key musts internal pitches are built around: The idea must be indispensable and something you'd return to every day. It also has to be something only mixed reality can deliver and sell people on the entire concept. And most importantly, "can Magic Leap learn from it?"
Devine compares what Magic Leap is doing to the evolution of the TV. Everyone has one, it has become the vehicle for other creative formats like games consoles, and various technologies have evolved around it to make perfect use of the display. But as a platform, it took decades to get there, and Magic Leap must make a similar journey.
Despite the startup not knowing exactly what mixed reality is or where it needs to go, Devine does believe in the existence of a 'killer app' he calls "everyday adventure." There's a tech demo/concept Magic Leap likes to revisit called "Ghost Girl." This specter, known as Alice -- Magic Leapers are never far from an Alice in Wonderland reference -- lives in your house, and together you discover, over the course of endless meetings, more about her story.
"Alice is a companion that spends time with you. She interacts, she has conversations with you, she talks to you, she hangs out with you. All these things are simmering in the world, they are not very far away... Alice can be as real a ghost as you want a ghost to be."
"The key thing is everyday adventure," Devine continues. "Things you might actually want to do with Alice every single day."
"And it can be Star Wars, it can be Harry Potter, it can be Finding Dory... and I can be a lawyer, I can be a plumber, I can work at Starbucks. I will have everyday adventure added to my life, by an app store of realities." This is likely a long way off though, remember -- the seed of what mixed reality could be. "Iteration in a new medium is a must. It will take us time to get there, to that conversation, to Alice being real. But I see it. I see it in my wanderings. It's coming. It's there. We will have that."
"Everyday adventure, I believe, will define a generation."