GameStop, “Hold My Beer,” says Augmented Reality Companies

Introduction and Disclaimers

I want to be clear that I am not a stock analyst or expert, and nothing in this article is meant to constitute stock advice. I currently hold stock in Microvision (laser scanning microdisplays) and eMagin (OLED microdisplays), which are discussed in this article (more on that later). I hold positions in these stocks, not because I necessarily believe in the technology behind these products, but rather because I thought people would be buying these stocks. I do not have any positions in Vuzix or Kopin, and I have never shorted a stock.

I saw both my positions in Microvision and Emagin jump since December 10th, 2020, and that led me to check out other (mostly) “pure-play” AR stocks, namely Kopin (LCOS and OLED microdisplays) and Vuzix (AR headsets).

I then decided to compare these four AR stocks against the much talked about GameStop (GME) for fun. Guess what? In the last year, two of the AR stocks have beat GameStop as of today. Yes, it helps that GameStop has retreated from its astronomical highs, but it is still up over 15x in the last year. Furthermore, while GameStop appears to be on the way down, the AR stocks are still heading upwards.

AR Stocks vs. The Nasdaq Composite

First, let’s look at the four AR stocks versus the Nasdaq Composite since December 10th, 2020. The Nasdaq was up a very strong 14% over a little less than two months. But Kopin was up 341% (3.41x), Microvision 321%, while Vuzix was up “only” 202%, and eMagin 151%.

Then let’s look at the last year for the four AR companies versus the Nasdaq. Once again, Nasdaq had a good year growing 24% (the Nasdaq has averaged about 3% per year for the last 10 years0, but Kopin is up 1,807% (>18x), Microvision 1,786%, Vuzix 605%, and eMagin 497%.

Something else to note in the chart below is how the four AR companies tend to go up and down simultaneously, suggesting significant market space momentum is at play.

Digging a little deeper. Microvision’s 52 week low was $0.15 back in March 2020, and it is up an astounding 77x from that point in less than 1 year. Back on May 5th, 2020, I wrote about what seemed like Microvision’s meteoric climb to $1.10/share in Microvision Worth More Dead Than Alive – Stock Jumps 147% in a Day, and it is now up over 10X from that point.

Comparing AR Stocks to GameStop Stock

The rise in the AR Stocks got me wondering, how did they compare to the now-famous/infamous GameStop stock? It turns out that as of today, both Kopin and Microvision have a greater 1-year percentage gain than GameStop. Ok, it does help that GameStop has been falling, but it is still up over 15x in one year. Then again, if you look at the charts, the AR stocks still seem to be going up, while GameStop seems to be on the way down.

For reference, I have included a chart comparison of the AR stocks since December 10th, 2020, to Gamestop. In this period, GameStop barely edges out Kopin and Microvision.

Why I Bought Microvision and eMagin

Anyone that regularly reads this blog knows I have not liked Microvision’s laser beam scanning technology. In fact, the day I bought Microvision’s stock, I wrote on Feb. 22, 2019, in Hololens 2 is Likely Using Laser Beam Scanning Display: Bad Combined with Worse:

I bought some (a very small percentage of my holdings) Microvision stock based on the rumors. I expect the stock to go up in spite of my analysis below and I will likely sell after I think it peaks. I saw this behavior when I was the first to report that Himax was in Google Glass, the stock when crazy even though any rational person should have known that it would have a trivial business effect on Himax.

Similarly in 2016 in Magic Leap – The Display Technology Used in their Videos I wrote:

The last time I played this game of “what’s inside” I was the first to identify that a Himax LCOS panel was inside Google Glass which resulted in their market cap going up almost $100M in a couple of hours.  I had zero shares of Hixmax when this happened, my technical conclusion now as it was then was based on what I saw.

Unlike my call on Himax in Google Glass I have no idea which company make the device Magic Leap appears to using nor if Magic Leap will change technologies for their production device.  I have zero inside information and am basing this entirely on the information I have given above (you have been warned).   Not only is the information public, but it is based on videos that are many months old.

The technology that Magic Leap used in their demos was, almost certainly, OLEDs and not the field sequential LCOS used in the Magic Leap One product. Thus, the Magic Leap “through the optics” videos were, at best, deceptive. Interestingly, Magic Leap later sued NReal, which was making a headset with MicroLED Microdisplays.

Conclusion – There is Nothing Rational About the Stock Market or AR

Generally, when it comes to stocks, I am “old school.” I want to believe in the product(s) and the ability to make revenue. Similarly, I want to believe in the underlying technology in startups and how they will address real customer needs.

Unfortunately, too much big money in the AR market has flowed to hucksters while the good startups go begging. As I wrote in May 2020, Magic Leap Starts to Auger-In with ~3.7X the Money as Theranos – I Tried to Warn Everyone.

A lot of people in the industry think that the valuation of AR companies became heavily depressed after the Magic Leap fiasco. Similarly, today AR company values seem to be up with all the rumors about Apple getting into AR (Apple rumors are a topic for another day – hint, hint).

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Karl Guttag
Articles: 178


  1. Dear Karl

    Sorry, Microvision is not primarily about AR anymore. AR is a niche market. It focuses now on automotive Lidar. There, it is clearly the best company because they can use the existing projector technology to archive at Lidar ten times of the resolution of the competitors while having a small and cheap unit. With all the existing MEMS technology – I think you know it – they can release market ready models much earlier than competitors. It also outperforms by factors all competitors as Lumonar, Velodyne, Innovuz, Waymo, etc. Stock is still very cheap. It is still down from $20 ten years ago. All Lidar companies have a much higher market capitalization than Microvision. In addition, it has the smart glasses business and lots of patents. I think, they would be in one of the upcoming mass market smart glasses. Microvision has the correct base technology. All relevant Lidar competitors like Innoviz and Frauenhofer use MEMS for Lidar and smart glasses. And, I think, by all your critics, you can acknowledge that Microvision is the leader for MEMS in these area.

    So, there is not much AR money in Microvision. It is Lidar and smart glasses money. Both are markets that are ready now to generate huge profits soon at Microvision.

    Best regards.

    • Dear Karl,

      Your first mistake was even putting Microvision and Gamestop in the same conversation.

      Microvision is the key to the next generation of computing and they will be acquired by a tech giant, for a minimum price of $7 billion.

      Our technology is inside the Microsoft Hololens 2 (pretty big deal)

      The US military is using a Ruggedized version of the Hololens 2 in their IVAS program (pretty big deal)

      We have best in class Lidar coming out in April, im addition to our consumer Lidar. (Pretty big deal)

      We have light sensing interactive display technology(real life Ironman/Tony Stark tech)

      I suggest you take a deeper dive into Microvision technology and their 450+ patents.

  2. Karl;

    Care to share your thoughts on EMAN the company and its displays?

    • I don’t have a lot to share. I have known about eMagin for about 20 years. They have never been that successful in the commercial/consumer sector but seem to have done at least OK in the military sector. Sony currently dominates OLED-Microdisplay, mainly due to camera viewfinders, but Sony discourages using their Micro-OLEDs in military-related products which helps make a market for eMagin. I don’t know if I have ever seen their displays, but I assume they are good.

  3. So Karl, what is the main reason for you to buy some some shares in eMagin? I didn’t get the rationale. Speculation? Realisation that Micro Oled is the wave of the future? The dPd? The 4k micro oled? Do you know more about Apple Visor? Other reasons? Thx for elaborating some more. BR.

    • I tried to state my reaons clearly in the 2016 Magic Leap article ( Quoting that article:

      I’m NOT saying that eMagine is in Magic Leap. I’m NOT saying that Micro-OLED is necessarily better than any other technology. All I am saying is that I think that someone’s Micro-OLED technology is being using the Magic Leap prototype and that Magic Leap is such hotly followed company that it might (or might not) affect the stock price of companies making Micro-OLEDs..

      Thus I bought eMagin stock because of the herd mentality that I had seen before. Magic Leap was being grossly overhyped, and it looked to me like the videos were using OLEDs, and if so, they would have to be OLED-Microdisplays to fit in a headset. I also advised because I was sensing that Magic Leap was dishonest, that the “through the Magic Leap Optics” might be misleading and it was as the final product, the Magic Leap One used totally different displays and optics than were shown in the 2016 video.

      I have never said that OLEDs are the wave of the future. Please don’t put words in my mouth. OLEDs are most interesting for VR and Passthrough AR (VR with cameras), but Micro-OLEDmay have applications in optical AR with the right optics, particularly with the new and evolving brighter Micro-OLED from Sony, Kopin, and eMagin among others.

      I’m not sure there is a 4K Micro-OLED. There are 4K OLED flat panels, but these are much larger. There are a lot of conflicting rumors about Apple, From the Visor with passthrough AR, Prosser’s leak of a small and lower resolution optical AR, and the rumors of Apple using a Sony 1080p OLED-Microdisplay. It looks to me like there are a lot of Apple trial balloons and/or spy misdirection going on.

      • Thanks Karl. Not putting any words in your mouth. It was just a question.

      • I apologize, I was going through quickly answering people and you are correct, it was a question.

      • eMagin is developing what is described in the patent title as a “large area OLED microdisplay” –

        The present invention provides unique designs and methods for achieving such large, seamless, tiled panels for full color, high-resolution large area displays. In particular, these large area displays measure approximately 1 to 3 inches per side and are ideal for, amongst other things, high-resolution displays in demand for virtual reality device (e.g. headsets).

        I have compiled their comments regarding 4K x 4K (to be used per eye) development from Conference Calls back to 4Q 2018 –

        A black & white 4K x 4K was demoed at SID 2019 while a full color version is expected to be demoed this year . Scroll down on timeline –

  4. Karl can you comment on the several people who have left Emagin for Apple?

    My opinion is based on the linkedin profiles, I believe there is direct strategic cooperation , what are the odds of cooperation vs. apple stealing staff

  5. Bro Microvisions technology is inside the Microsoft Hololens 2, dont know if you understand that or not but the Hololens 2 is a pretty big deal.

    The Hololens 2 is such a big deal that the US military is now using a Ruggedized version of the Hololens 2 in their IVAS program. Thats right our US soldiers will be wearing augmented reality headsets.

    Microvision also has best in class Lidar that they are releasing in April. Lidar is a pretty big deal as it gives self driving cars eyes, and currently Luminar is trading at $33 and it only has 1 Lidar product.

    Not only that but Microvision has light sensing interactive display technology (real life Ironman/Tony Stark technology)

    Since Microvision sets the stage for the next generation of computing, it is going to get acquired by a tech giant, and Microsoft has the most to lose.

    Minimum buyout price will be at least $7 Billion that will put the share price at $40+

    If you are going to take the time to make an article on these companies, at least do the proper research.

    Your first mistake was even putting these companies in the same conversation of GameStop. Especially Microvision.

    • Yeah “bro,” you might try searching this blog for “Hololens 2.”

      Hololens 2 military use beyond training is a joke IMO. They are finding industrial applications that may get to the few 100K/year. But then you have to figure out how much of each headset would go to Microvision. It is probably less than $10/eye or $20 per headset as Microsoft is doing all the manufacturing heave lifting. Say they sell 200KU per year to industrial, that would make Microvision’s take about $4M/year. It is going to take about 350 years to pay back a $7B investment at that rate. I’m not saying that there is not someone out there with more money than brains willing to pay $7B (which is why I put some money into MVIS), but it does not make a lot of sense.

      Lidar is a very crowded field with many companies ahead of Microvision. Microvision has been playing the “chase the next hot topic rainbow” game with investors for about 25 years.

      • Dear Karl,

        “Lidar is a very crowded field with many companies ahead of Microvision.”

        That is clearly wrong. Which company should be ahead of Microvision and why? Such a statement should be supported with facts.

        I think you should be fair. Microvision Lidar will have a resolution of 20 million points per second. Competitors like Innoviz with the upcoming InnovizOne (also MEMS) will have only 3 million points per second. The resolution of Luminar Iris is so bad that Luminar not even released it. Same for Velodyne H800. Also for Blickfeld and all other Lidar developers.

        Luminar Iris will be available in H2 2022 while Microvision Lidar in Q3 3022, so one year before.A Microvision Lidar prototype should be shown in April.

        Luminar Lidar is a mechanical system: “moving optics” so that car roofs must be very bulky. No customer will buy such an ugly car. Microvision Lidar will fit into the inner mirror of a car.

        The minimum price of all competitor Lidar units is $500 or more while Microvision can sell it for around $50.

        Microvision will have for the foreseeable future the only high resolution Lidar for level 4+5 self-driving cars that is cheap enough to be built in into mass market cars.

        I expect that the Lidar devision of Microvision will be bought in the second quarter 2021 by Tesla by a share exchange deal for approximately $5 billion or $40 per share.

        Most competitor will build their Lidar units on MEMS. Also Bosch. But Bosch never reached the Microvision resolution of MEMS projectors. And all of them, including Innoviz, Bosch,STM are years behind Microvision and simply too late in the market. Until then Microvision will have some new versions of its LiDAR.

        So, if you still think there is at least one competitor with a better Lidar please give the name and the specifications. I do not know any.

        I expect a Microvision share price of $40 soon.

        Best regards.

  6. Dear Karl,

    I agree that all other companies mentioned by you might be overvalued. But not Microvision. I know you do not like the company. But the reason, why Microvision did not sold so many projectors was simply not mainly the tech (except the Lumen value). It was that there was no use case for them. There was never a “killer app” or use case scenario that needed a standalone pico projector or inside a smartphone. So, there was no market demand. Same with AR like Hololens 2. This is useful in the industry and at the military but will be never a mass market as smartphones. But a simple and light weight version as smart glasses would be very useful for many people and replace partly a smartphone or at minimum its usage. Might it be when cooking to see what to add next, for navigation or as a simple notifier device.

    Micorivision management had identified the previously mentioned problem with a missing mass market use case and searched applications where the technology is useful, is better than the competition and where are real mass market use cases and huge demand. This is clearly automotive LiDAR. Cars do not have currently LiDAR because all modules on the market have only a low resolution so they do not really help to make a car safer. If the car sees a tree and when then the car dodged a tree but crashes after that into a stone because it was too small to be seen by the LiDAR that does not really help. In addition, at prices of many thousands per LiDAR unit these are simply much to expensive for a sensor. Lidar is nothing more than a sensor like a camera. These must not cost more than $50-$100 per unit. A car needs usually some of them (front, back, redundancy). Otherwise these are simply too expensive even for a Mercedes. Also, current models have to be mounted on the top of the car because they are rotating for a 360° view. But who wants to buy a car that looks like a police car? Other models like the in 2022 coming “iris” from Luminar are so bulky that the car roofs has to be bulky, too. Again: Who will buy a car that looks like this ( suggestion by Luminar? Can you imagine a Mercedes with such an ugly roof as Luminar suggests? Never. In addition this will destroy any drag coefficient…

    So, there is a huge market for LiDAR but it cannot be addressed with current devices from current LiDAR companies. This is proofed by no sales at them for series cars. Luminar sold only 100 development units in 2022 and is worth $10billion at the stock market…

    Micovision noticed that already years ago but had in previous years no development resources because of the other more urgent projects (Hololens 2, interactive display) and too less money to add developers.

    But Microvision is working on LIDAR since 2011. They have already the consumer LiDAR and the interactive projector. Both base technologies for the upcoming automotive LiDAR unit for that the development started almost one year ago. So, they did not start at zero. They are only finishing the LiDAR technology. So, there will be no doubt that they will finish it because it is already almost finished, Microvision announced in autumn 2020 that the developers achieved important milestones and said at the end of 2020 that they are on track to release the prototype in April this year..

    Business outlook. Only profits counts. Even with an extremely conservative calculation with only $5 profit per LiDAR unit the current company value is too low.

    Microvision will likely have soon (in Q3 2021) the best-in-class LiDAR system (confirmed by CEO) that is good for “billions” of revenues (according CEO in ASM 2020).

    – production: 90 million cars per year
    – 10% of them with Microvision LiDAR
    – 8 LiDAR modules per car (360° view + redundancy)
    – only $5 profit per module

    -> 9 million cars/year * 8 modules/car * $5 profit/module = $360 million profit/year.

    Assumption is only 10% market share (could be much higher) and only $5 profit per module. This is extremely conservative.

    If we assume also a conservative PER of only 10 than the market capitalization should be only of LiDAR business at $3-$4 billion, so $20-$25 per share.

    Microvision will be also first to market (one year before Luminar Iris). That will help to get contracts because the car companies can make now contacts for many years for an existing technology. They will not do it now with Luminar (besides that the Luminar Iris LiDAR is too big, too expensive and too bad) because it simply does not exist. Luminar has only development contracts. Yes, with Daimler. But only with Daimer trucks, not with Daimler cars… Guess why? As I mentioned before: No Mercedes customer would accept an ugly car roof that is needed to put the Luminar LiDAR into. Besides that it is too bad in resolution. Luminar has no solid-state technology as Microvision has. Luminar has only a mechanical system with the “moving optics” approach…

    But Microvision could also get 20 % market share of automotive LiDAR systems or get $10 profit per module.

    And Microvision has also the smart glasses and AR business and so on. Velodyne and Luminar have no additional business.

    So, Microvision found now a real existing use case with a mass market.

    I have Microvision shares for ten years, never sold and will hold it until the buyout or the release of the automotive LIDAR.

    I expect that the Microvision share continues to rise at least to the company valuation of the competitors like Velodyne. Why should the company with the best and first to market technology less worth than competitors? This would be around $25 per share. I do not see a valuation like Luminar = $75 per Microvision share). Not, because Luminar has better products or a better business outlook. I simply think that over $10 billion market capitalization is simply too much for any LiDAR company this year. But $40 per share for Microvision could be possible for LiDAR technology.

    I do not know what the smart glasses division at Microvision could be worth. But because smart glasses could be a much higher volume market than LiDAR, the above calculation could also apply there. Not with eight modules per glasses. But with more smart glasses than LiDAR systems to be sold. Like smartphones sells in hundreds of million units per year. So in that market $5 profit per projector should be possible, too and 50 million units per years also = 250 million profit per year, PER 10 -> $2.5 billion market capitalization for the AR/smart glasses division).

    So, you can add $10-$? per share.

    Microvision is still huge undervalued.

    Best regards.

    • Chris:

      You continuously write disproven garbage. What’s worse is that you’ve been told that your comments are false, yet you persist. Be happy that you pumpers have gotten MVIS to ridiculous prices and stop lying.

      The MVIS lidar is supposedly slightly bigger than a VHS tape; the Luminar Iris is described as the size of a VHS tape. You already know this. You continue to argue that a windshield placement is somehow preferable to a purpose-sculpted roof placement without any factual basis. Maybe you like the old generic GPS units that sat on the dashboard or stuck to the windshield too. I think most people prefer the integrated GPS specific to each car.

      For once in your miserable online existence, provide verifiable proof from a reliable source of anything you write. Reddit and YouTube are not reliable sources. You complain that other companies don’t provide specifications–many actually provide lots of information–but all you ever share are specifications from an animation. Even at that, how can you keep writing that MVIS is better?

      AEye, for one, has a maximum range of 1000m. Luminar, 500m. Aeva, 300m. How is MVIS better? Oh right, you claim 200m is best and range over 200m isn’t needed. Well, there are plenty others at 200m. How is MicroVision’s 30° horizontal field of view at 200m superior to others’ 100°+ field of view? Yeah, I know…more than 30° isn’t needed at speed. You find a childish way to dismiss every specification.

      Getting to the big specification: 20 million pts/sec…I’m still waiting for proof and how you calculate it. Again, a screenshot from a YouTube video isn’t sufficient. The fact is you people twist yourselves into pretzels trying to come up with a logical explanation when the two simplest explanations are 1. MVIS is counting three returns per pulse or 2. MVIS is touting the data rate for an area of interest. Either way is deceptive. If they are operating in three return mode, their single return data rate is 7 million pts/sec which is impressive but not superior to a handful of top lidars. This explanation makes more sense considering the previous mid-range auto lidar had a data rate of 5.5 million pts/sec.

      I haven’t touched on HoloLens 2. You are on a blog of an expert, trying to convince him of your silliness. I have long maintained that Microsoft may not be the April 2017 customer. As seen in the recent independent tear down, there is an even probability that the April 2017 customer is STMicroelectronics. As was commented earlier, MVIS gets a small amount per unit and it’s prepaid for two to five years. I’ve only seen one case where the HL2 was used for anything besides classroom training. It will never be–and wasn’t intended–a mass market product. The fact remains that MVIS was paid in full for their development work. It’s Microsoft’s product. MVIS is a small parts supplier. And MVIS can be replaced as quickly as Himax was.

      Please don’t reply with your canned and debunked comments. Have a good day.

  7. A question for Mr Guttag for when (as he hinted) he writes about the latest Apple rumours – a 4K per eye VR headset:
    How does an VR headset with screens and cameras of sufficient resolution and dynamic range compare to an AR headset – with respect to portraying the external world to the wearer (without nausea etc)?
    Or, asked another way, can useful AR functionality be achieved by using a sufficiently sophisticated (resolution, low latency etc) VR headset with cameras? Could Apple be sidestepping the technical challenges of car that your articles highlight?
    Kind regards

    • The short answer is that there are a lot of serious problems with doing “passthrough AR” (VR with cameras). They may be acceptable for game or training use, but I think would be totally unacceptable in a walk around in the real world product.

      The Information reported that Apple was going to have an 8K per eye headset which I think is unlikely. Dual 4K, which many companies are calling “8K” is more likely. Even then, I don’t really see what the point is of a reportedly $3,000 VR headset. It would be unusual for Apple to dabble with more of a developer’s version. It’s possible they just want to put their toe in to see if it makes any sense.

      I recently was recorded giving a talk on various issues of optical AR and passthrough AR starting at: I also discuss some of my thoughts about Apple at this point: As I say in the video, “most things that are hard with optical AR are easy with passthrough AR and vice versa.” You don’t so much “solve” as change out the serious problems.

      My whole presentation starts here: It was a “20-minute” presentation that took about 1 hour to present.

  8. Any upcoming articles on the partnership between Vuzix and Jade Bird Display? Vuzix seems to be getting alot of attention lately with their upcoming glasses and I would love to know your thoughts on the company and their future plans.

    • I’ve been working on the issues of MicroLEDs with diffractive waveguides for about a year. It is a complicated subject with many issues. I expect to get the series going soon.

      Fundamentally, it seems to be very inefficient to couple MicroLED light into a diffractive waveguide (what Vuzix uses). It is not as bad as Micro-OLED, but it is still very inefficient.

      If you accept a relatively small image (less than 30-degree FOV) and sparse content (so most of the LEDs are off) then you can make it work for some applications. I talk about some of the issues in a presentation that is on YouTube ( My part of the video is about 1 hour long. I hit on the etendue issues and coupling MicroLEDs into waveguides towards the beginning and also near the end.

      • Travers may have it figured out –

        Near-eye display with self-emitting microdisplay engine

        A near-eye display for an augmented reality display system couples a self-emitting microdisplay to a transmissive waveguide through an input coupler.

      • Thanks for the patent reference. Based on what I have seen, I don’t think that patent is not what Vuzix is using. They seem to have a straight optical path into the waveguide from the display (see here) and not one folded with a mirror per the patent.

        I didn’t say it wouldn’t work, I said it would not be efficient. I have seen Jade Bird displays used with both WaveOptics and Vuzix waveguides, so it does “work.” I even saw an OLED used with a Chinese version of the Lumus waveguide that was extremely dim (I think less than 1 nit out).

        You are dealing with the issues of etendue and a somewhat Lambertian light source at each source pixel emitter. Even with microlenses on top of the emitter and structures built into the LED’s substrate, the emission from Micro-LEDs has a considerable spread. Due to the laws of etendue, you can’t couple that much of the light into the waveguide no matter what you do.

        The smaller the display and the smaller the FOV, the more efficient it will be. Additionally, and as I wrote previously, by assuming most of the pixels will be off most of the time, the power can be managed. My understanding is that Vuzix is going to be using the Jade Bird 0.13″ 640×480 display. Which is pretty small and their FOV is likely to be small as well (the Vuzix blade with similar resolution has a 19-degree FOV). They can also play with the size of the eye box (a smaller eye box is less user-friendly but more energy efficient).

        What happens is that if you go to higher resolution and bigger FOVs, then the efficiency goes down rapidly. You have to pull teeth to get anyone to tell you the efficiency. With a modest size display, with a MicroLED you might get 1/5000th of the nits out you put in.

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