AR/VR Weekly: Back into the metaverse

I’ve found myself getting back into virtual reality recently after my wife, Stephanie, asked me if she could play the launch game Audioshield. She remembered having a good time punching the notes from some of her favorite songs out of the air, but Stephanie stopped playing after getting pregnant. Our baby is six months old, and she goes to sleep between 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., which leaves us time at night to boot up Audioshield and a few other games. And here’s what I’ve noticed about VR after returning to it regularly for the first time in a couple of months: It’s still best with other people. I like taking turns with Stephanie as we select songs for one another, but I also love getting online and playing with other people in something like Gorn. Developer Free Lives and publisher Devolver Digital released Gorn earlier this month as part Read the full article…

PC Gaming Weekly: PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds could still get much bigger

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is the biggest PC game in the world right now. Of course, that’s not exactly true because more people are still playing Dota 2 or League of Legends, but this is the closest any game has come in a while to getting into the conversation with those perennial champs. Last weekend, PUBG — as fans tend to call it — beat Grand Theft Auto V’s all-time high for concurrent players on Steam with 382,779 people all online at the same time. That’s a massive number that is enough to make it the No. 4 most simultaneous players in the history of Steam. It’s also only behind Fallout 4 in terms of non-Valve releases. With that level of success, however, you can maybe start waiting for the other shoe to drop. For an unfinished Early Access game like PUBG, that other shoe could come in the form of angry Read the full article…

SIGGRAPH 2017 will showcase the latest in AR and VR

Over the last several years the long-running SIGGRAPH computer graphics conference served as an important marker of immersive computing’s march toward mainstream. Just a few years ago I found the Oculus meeting room hidden in a corner of the show floor where they were showing the HD prototype of the Rift featuring improved resolution. As increasingly impressive developer kits and then consumer units arrived, VR spread out from that corner to overtake so many of the other floor presentations from both researchers and established commercial giants. Now in its third year, the VR Village serves as a central area for researchers and content creators to present their work. Two years ago it was where Ken Perlin and his team from NYU showed Holojam — a project which recorded slices of space-time as people painted together in VR. Last year, the Synesthesia suit provided a hint at what full-body haptic feedback could feel like. This Read the full article…

Stranger Things’ VR experience on HTC Vive impresses at SDCC

Stranger Things was one of last year’s best new shows on Netflix or otherwise. It captured a unique sense of nostalgia for the 80s as well as channeling a unique and fresh take on sci-fi, thriller, and suspense genres, all with an ensemble cast of standout child actors. At San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) this week we got the chance to stop by the Netflix interactive loft at the Hilton Gaslamp and see elaborate displays for Marvel’s Defenders, the upcoming Netflix-only film Bright, and of course Stranger Things. With Season 2 of Stranger Things poised to release this October, excitement is understandably high. In fact, the experience we saw was nominated for an Emmy this year in the Outstanding Creative Achievement In Interactive Media Within A Scripted Program category. In the video above you can see a passive 360 version of the VR experience. The quality is lower, you can’t move around or interact Read the full article…

How VR training prepares surgeons to save infants’ lives

Virtual reality promises to be great for gamers, but it has a lot of potential to change the world in other ways. Shauna Heller saw that potential, so she quit her job at Oculus VR and became a consultant to make non-VR applications happen. And one of her projects was create a VR simulation that trains doctors how to treat infants in emergencies. Heller pulled together a team of developers and technologists and matched them with surgeons at the Childrens Hospital in Los Angeles. Together, they made a VR simulation that helps doctors in training to save infants who have suffered some kind of seizure or anaphylactic shock. They worked with the consumer-grade Oculus Rift + Touch. The project began in early 2016 and went through two prototyping developments. The team delivered a working model in early 2017 and the development and medical teams will continue to monitor and enhance the Read the full article…

Pokémon Go Fest is experiencing connectivity issues

Fans who were hoping to catch ’em all at the Pokémon Go Fest today are experiencing some technical issues. The real-world event is developer Niantic Inc.’s way of throwing a 1-year birthday party for its hit mobile game Pokémon Go. Around 20,000 fans are expected to attend the festival today in Chicago, Ill.’s Grant Park (as first reported by news site Game Informer). The event, however, had a rocky start when many were unable to get on the servers for the location-based monster-catching game. Fans, many of whom still play the game every day, showed their frustration with the outage and the developer by booing Niantic CEO John Hanke when he took the stage to address the crowd. Players, we are experiencing some technical difficulties and are currently working to resolve them. — Niantic Support (@NianticHelp) July 22, 2017 The festival comes after Niantic rolled out new features, such as an updated gym battle Read the full article…

GamesBeat weekly roundup: Nintendo’s awful chat app, and Destiny 2’s OK beta

Hello, and welcome to another GamesBeat weekly roundup! This time, Atari revealed its new system, the PlayStation 4 won June, and we mourned the slow death of the Vita. Enjoy, and have a great weekend! Pieces of flair and opinion The DeanBeat: Roblox’s kid developers make enough ‘robucks’ to pay for college The story behind the haunting What Remains of Edith Finch Overwatch League announcement brings hype and skepticism alike Esports entrepreneurs will take the stage at GamesBeat 2017 Nintendo’s Switch Online app is a complete joke I’ll miss the PlayStation Vita — if only for the RPGs Splatoon 2 hates friends who don’t use Nintendo’s app Why don’t more developers release games like Mario Maker? GamesBeat Decides Comparing Battle Royale-likes: PUBG vs. H1Z1 vs. the rest Arcades never disappeared — they evolved Above: Atari shows off the first image of its console. Image Credit: Atari News League of Legends Read the full article…

Echo Arena: Hands-on gameplay of zero-gravity multiplayer in VR

Ready At Dawn Studios spent 20 months working on its science fiction single-player virtual reality game Lone Echo and its accompanying multiplayer companion mode Echo Arena. Both are debuting today exclusively on the Oculus Rift + Touch VR platform, and they’re going to take the quality of VR entertainment up a notch. I played Echo Arena again in a hands-on preview this week in San Francisco, and its one of the most entertaining experiences I’ve had yet in VR. (You can check out my session in the video). This is the kind of application that VR needs if it is to meet expectations of becoming a $25 billion industry by 2020. In Lone Echo, you play a robot who assists human astronauts on a deep space mission. Echo Arena is a five-versus-five multiplayer game where you move through zero gravity and try to fling a disc into the opponent’s goal. It makes use Read the full article…

Presence Capital has made 33 VR and AR investments in less than 2 years

EXCLUSIVE: Presence Capital — one of the earliest venture capital firms to focus on virtual reality and augmented reality startups — is today announcing that it has made 33 investments. That’s a lot of investments for a fund that was announced in December 2015. Presence Capital has invested in Baobab Studios, Bigscreen, Harmonix, Nomadic, Meta, Resolution Games, Scope AR, Strivr, TheWaveVR, and Visbit. While Facebook bought Oculus in 2014, Presence Capital contends that its was the first VC fund to focus on VR/AR. Six of its investments are in game companies. “A little under two years ago, Paul Bragiel, Phil Chen, and I started Presence Capital so we could be at the forefront of the platform shift to VR and AR, while helping entrepreneurs who are just as passionate as us about this space,” said Amitt Mahajan, managing partner at Presence Capital, in a statement. “This milestone is a huge reward Read the full article…

Enormous and immersive 8K dome screen is a great alternative to VR

If you love the idea of virtual reality, but hate having to wear a headset, this is going to appeal to you. Japan’s public broadcaster NHK has come up with an ultra high-definition immersive experience, featuring a rounded 8K projection dome screen that wraps around a moving seat. SEE ALSO: This tiny Japanese space agency drone is giving us a glimpse of life in space Riders strap into a chairs that move in sync with the footage, making it feel as though you’re moving with the camera.  Image: AFP/Getty Images The attraction was first shown at SXSW this year, featuring a five-minute long flyby of Tokyo, taking you through popular spots in the city, like Shibuya, Asakusa and above the Tokyo Sky Tree in different periods. Read more… More about Vr, Tokyo, Rides, Projector, and 8k Tv Technorati Tags: immersive, mixed reality, mr, virtual reality, vr Read the full article…

The augmented reality landscape shows 60% growth in startups focused on enterprise

The Venture Reality Fund released its augmented reality landscape for the second quarter, and the research shows that 150 companies are focused on a wide range of AR technologies. The Venture Reality Fund, which has raised $50 million to invest in AR and virtual reality startups, said it saw a 60 percent increase in the number of companies that are focused on AR in the enterprise, compared to the first quarter. “Over the past quarter, the AR industry witnessed several notable moves by major players, including Facebook and Apple, which immediately led to a robust increase in developer activity, as well as extensive coverage in the market,” said Tipatat Chennavasin, cofounder and general partner at The Venture Reality Fund, in a statement. “These strides are reflective of rising interest in AR, driven primarily by device infrastructure and software development tools.” The VR Fund evaluated more than 2,000 companies for the landscape, and those Read the full article…

Marvel Powers United VR: Hands-on with the superhero VR app on the Oculus Rift

Disney showed a glimpse of Marvel’s first virtual reality game over the weekend, showing three of a dozen superheroes who will be available in the game. And now we’ve been able to get our hands on the game, Marvel Powers United VR, on the Oculus Rift. This is the kind of brand and experience that VR needs in order to meet expectations that it will be a $25 billion market by 2020. In the game, we were able to play hands-on with four characters: the Incredible Hulk, Captain Marvel, Rocket Raccoon, and Deadpool (which Oculus is revealing ahead of its demos at the San Diego Comic-Con event this week). As soon as I went into the Rift, I got to see the world from another perspective. I was Rocket Raccoon from the Guardians of the Galaxy, and I was small. I had to look up at the giant Hulk, who Read the full article…

Why don’t more developers release games like Mario Maker? GamesBeat Decides

Super Mario Maker came out in 2015 and proved that designing games is a ton of fun. Now, in 2017, gamers are still waiting for a followup to that game from Nintendo or something similar from any other publisher or developer. Instead, fans have started filling in the gaps with their own games that enable you to make your own Mega Man levels and Super Mario 64 courses. So why the hell are we relying on fans, and where are the official Mario Maker clones? We tackle that subject on this week’s episode of the GamesBeat Decides podcast. Hosts Stephanie Chan, Jeffrey Grubb, and Mike Minotti also get together to talk about the news and games they are playing. The team talks about what it means to have Toy Story in Kingdom Hearts III as well as how first-person-only servers will affect PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Games discussed this week include: Splatoon 2 Trails Read the full article…

NBA’s Sacramento Kings and Nike launch augmented reality app

The Sacramento Kings NBA basketball team has launched an augmented reality app in partnership with Nike. The fan app is the beginning of an eight-year global marketing and merchandise agreement between Nike and the National Basketball Association (NBA). The app lets fans personalize Sacramento Kings uniforms and virtually photograph themselves with star players. It’s another example of a company using a cool technology to give younger fans a better experience with an established brand. With the Kings + Golden 1 Center app, the team’s new uniform comes to life through an AR platform built by Zappar, which has struck similar deals with brands like Coca-Cola. Fans will be able to interact with Kings veteran Garrett Temple, who wears the new uniforms for the first time and talks about the team’s on-court look. Fans can customize their own jersey, virtually “frame” and “hang” the new look on their wall, and photograph themselves with Read the full article…

Mira’s Prism headset uses your iPhone to deliver affordable augmented reality

Because few people are ready to part with $3,000 to try Microsoft’s HoloLens version of augmented reality, we’ve been waiting for a cheaper solution — and now it’s here, in the form of the Prism. Developed by Los Angeles-based Mira, the device is to the HoloLens what the Samsung Gear VR is to the Oculus Rift. It’s much, much cheaper, and more lightweight and portable, but don’t expect the same kind of AR experience you’d get with the HoloLens.  SEE ALSO: ‘Star Wars: Jedi Challenges’ lets you train your light saber skills in augmented reality And like the Gear VR, all you need to make it work is a smartphone — in this case the iPhone. I had a chance to test it out last week and it was impressive, although I had a hard time coming up with reasons I’d actually use it at this point. In addition to Read the full article…

Mira unveils lightweight augmented reality glasses for $100

Most augmented reality glasses aren’t practical. So Mira designed AR mobile glasses that were created from the outset to be lightweight, minimalist, and low-cost. Today, the company is unveiling its Prism glasses, which you can preorder for $100. The Los Angeles company has raised $1.5 million in funding from Sequoia Capital, Troy Capital Partners, S-Cubed Capital, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, musician and tech investor Will.i.am, and Jaunt VR founder Jens Christensen. Prism glasses are inexpensive in part because they’re mostly plastic and weigh well under a pound. You put an iPhone into a slot and the glasses project the stereoscopic images on the screen of the iPhone onto the glasses, giving the wearer a digital overlay on top of the real world. “We are increasingly fascinated with digital reality and AR, and blending both the real and virtual worlds,” said Ben Taft, cofounder and CEO of Mira, in an interview with Read the full article…

Virtual laboratory: Fast, flexible and exact

During the forming process, sheet metal materials are often stressed to their limits. Computer simulations are used to test how far it is possible to go in production. However, the simulation is only ever as exact as the data on which it is based. Scientists have now developed a virtual test laboratory that allows them to examine different load states for metal materials and determine precise mechanical data. Technorati Tags: immersive, mixed reality, mr, virtual reality, vr Read the full article…

Unlocking the power of VR storytelling — whatever business you’re in (VB Live)

VB LIVE: VR creates infinite possibilities, but it’s still a brave new world where best practices are only just being discovered. Join our latest interactive VB Live event to learn how to use VR to give customers a whole new way to see, touch, interact and engage. Register now for free! “SeaWorld is different from other theme parks,” says Crystal O’Hea, senior director of the SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment innovation group. “My team’s mission is to really think about new, compelling ways for our guests to connect with our animal stories and ‘wild wonders of the west.’” Her team, called Expedition X, looks for new technology, trends, creative partnerships for future development, and their eye has been on virtual reality for a couple of years now, exploring not just what’s possible, but what’s effective. “We went into three of our parks and filmed about 36 different animals to really start Read the full article…

Leap Motion raises $50 million for key component of VR’s growth: hand-tracking tech

Leap Motion has raised $50 million for its virtual reality hand-tracking technology. J.P. Morgan Asset Management led the round. It’s a big vote of confidence in the next generation of VR, as Leap Motion makes sensors that can detect your hand and finger motions in the real world and then translates them into the virtual world. VR is expected to be a $25 billion market by 2021, according to tech adviser Digi-Capital. San Francisco-based Leap Motion said the money will accelerate the company’s global expansion and enable it to invest in VR and augmented reality motion tracking. Leap Motion expects to expand in Asia, where VR is a hot market. Leap Motion is opening an office in Shanghai, and it is also expanding into new commercial and enterprise applications including education, health care, and industrial training simulation. As part of the funding round, Lawrence Unrein, global head of J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s Private Equity Read the full article…