Tag Archives: Oculus

XR for Media Newsfeed – October 19, 2019

Stories this week include more on Avengers: Damage Control at The VOID, the shutdown of Google’s Daydream VR platform, the Mona Lisa in VR, BBC ending its two-year VR experiment, and much more below:

Collider: First Impressions: We’ve Played the ‘Avengers: Damage Control’ VR

Wired: Avengers: Damage Control Pushes VR to New Heights 

Variety: Google Ships Pixel 4 Without Daydream VR Support, Stops Selling Daydream Viewer

Engadget: Google’s Daydream VR experiment is over

Engadget: The (Day)dream is over: Phone-based VR is well and truly dead

UploadVR: The Death Of Daydream Isn’t The Death Of The Dream, VR’s Just Growing Up

New York Times: Meeting the ‘Mona Lisa’ for an Intimate (Virtual) Rendezvous

UploadVR: BBC’s VR Work Will Continue As VR Hub Stops Commissioning + Production

Engadget: BBC winds down its in-house VR production team

Forbes: Can Virtual Reality Capture The Experience Of Being In A Museum?

Variety: AmazeVR Strikes Immersive Content Distribution Deal With Atlas V, Felix & Paul Studios (EXCLUSIVE)

Fortune: Meet the Executive Leading Facebook’s Big Augmented and Virtual Reality Push

a.list: Virtual Reality Marketing In The Time Of Oculus Quest

Motley Fool: AR and VR Are Cool Tech Ideas, but They Are Not Hot Investments

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Roy Kachur is a Media Technologist, IT Architect, and VR Evangelist. He has worked in the information technology field since the 1990’s, and in the media industry since 2014. He believes that VR will play a significant role in the future of media.

YouTube VR App Now Available for Oculus Go Virtual Reality Headset

Previously announced at the Oculus Connect developer conference in September, today the YouTube VR app is officially available for the Oculus Go standalone virtual reality headset.

With today’s launch on Oculus Go, YouTube is now available on all major VR headsets, including Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR.

Although the Oculus Go already supports other apps for 360-degree video content, YouTube has been conspicuously absent since the headset was launched in May of this year. Already one of the most popular apps for sharing VR video content, YouTube will be a welcome addition to the Oculus Go platform.

 

Oculus Co-Founder Quits the Company. What Does This Mean for VR?

Let’s talk about this.

Brendan Iribe, Oculus co-founder and former CEO, has announced that he is leaving Oculus (a division of Facebook) after six years.

TechCrunch reports that his departure is a result of Facebook’s cancellation of the “Rift 2” VR headset, which Iribe’s team had been working on.  This was denied by Facebook, who told Variety that they are continuing plans for a future Rift headset.

With their recent announcement of Oculus Quest (a new standalone, wireless VR headset) has Facebook effectively killed off “tethered” VR devices? With the launch of Oculus Go earlier this year, and now the Quest (planned for next year), the company appears to have re-focused on standalone mobile headsets.

Facebook aims to make VR more accessible and affordable, but killing PC-based VR would severely limit their ability to deliver high-quality content that’s only possible with a powerful PC and graphics processor.

Here is Iribe’s Facebook post announcing his departure.

See below for more on this story from various sources:

 

Oculus to Invest in Location Based Virtual Reality

According to Variety, Facebook’s VR subsidiary Oculus is looking to invest in location-based VR. They expect that partnerships with out-of-home virtual reality providers will help to sell VR headsets for home users.

Since acquiring Oculus in the spring of 2014, Facebook has focused mainly on development of VR hardware such as the Oculus Rift, Oculus Go, and Oculus Quest. With this new approach, the company is officially embracing the out-of-home VR market. This is consistent with an overall trend in the VR marketplace, as home usage has still not reached mainstream adoption levels.

Oculus has for some time worked with a few marquee partners in location-based entertainment. Most notably, Disney-backed VR startup the Void has been using modified Oculus headsets for its VR experience centers. Oculus further validated that partnership by inviting the Void to last week’s Oculus Connect conference, where the startup showed off its latest “Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire” experience to attendees.

That experience could also be a blueprint for how Oculus is going to approach location-based entertainment: Instead of just offering scaled-down versions of those experiences for users at home, the company may rely on companion pieces to tie in-home and out-of-home VR together.

This is an exciting development for VR overall, as a combination of in-home and out-of-home experiences can only provide more options for customers.

Variety‘s article can be found here.

 

Facebook announces new Oculus Quest Standalone VR Headset

Yesterday at Oculus Connect in San Jose, Facebook unveiled a new standalone virtual reality headset, the Oculus Quest. Calling it their first “all-in-one VR gaming system,” the Quest will not require a connected PC. It will include two Touch controllers (similar to the Oculus Rift), as well as provide six degrees of freedom (the ability to look and move in any direction in a virtual environment).

Priced at $399, the Quest will be available in Spring 2019 (no specific date announced yet). It will have the same resolution as Oculus Go: 1,600 x 1,440 pixels per eye, and include 64GB of onboard storage. It will use “inside-out” positional tracking via the use of four external cameras on the headset itself.

According to Facebook, the Quest completes their first generation of headsets:

With the introduction of Oculus Quest, we’ve completed our first generation of best-in-class VR headsets. Oculus Go remains the easiest and most affordable way to get into VR, while Oculus Rift leverages the power of your PC to push the limits of what’s possible. Thanks to Oculus Quest, we’re now able to combine the best of both worlds and welcome even more people into the VR community.

The new headset was previously known as “Santa Cruz” in earlier demos. More information is available at the Oculus website.

 

 

Virtual Reality: Dead or Alive?

For the past few weeks, various articles have been published claiming that virtual reality is dead, dying, or on life support. At the same time, other reports indicate that VR is alive and well, doing much better than ever before.

Well, which is it? 

No matter how you look at it, virtual reality needs more time to achieve mainstream adoption. Although VR seems to have emerged from the “trough of disillusionment,” it remains a niche technology mainly for enthusiasts. I believe there are several reasons for this:

  1. Cost
  2. Ease of use
  3. Customer awareness

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am a huge proponent of VR. In fact, I believe VR will play an important role in the future of media. Even today, much progress has been made to create quality programming in VR. Producers of news, sports, film, and TV programming continue to deliver compelling content for all VR platforms.

But why isn’t everyone on board yet? Why hasn’t VR replaced our smartphones, or at least achieved market penetration on a comparable level?

The “evidence”

Let’s dive into some of the recent articles proclaiming VR’s demise. This all started on July 19th, with an article in Digital TrendsVR is in a tailspin, and the sales numbers prove it. Referencing VR device sales data at Amazon, the article shows a decline in sales of four major VR headsets (PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, Samsung Gear VR, and Oculus Go.) According to the article, “Those sale ranks figures make it clear all the major VR headsets are in a tailspin, with no signs they’ll pull out of it.”

On the opposite side, we have an article at Futurism claiming that VR has reached a “tipping point.” The article remains hopeful that VR’s increased popularity is just around the corner. We are also starting to see more implementations of location-based VR, including VR at airports. An article in Connected Thinking claims that consumer VR revenue is headed to $9 Billion.

HTC responded to the Digital Trends article with their own defense: Think VR is dying? It’s just getting started. They claim that VR tech continues to improve, businesses are investing in it (especially location-based entertainment and training), and they are ramping up on production of more headsets.

The “reality”

The best way to look at the state of VR is to understand and accept that these things take time. Enthusiasts are excited and impatient for mainstream adoption, while detractors are quick to point fingers and disregard the steady progress that VR has already achieved, and continues to achieve.

There is also an unnecessary rivalry between complementary technologies, VR and AR (augmented reality). For the past few years, those in the AR camp have claimed that their tech has outpaced VR and is already the “winner.” Meanwhile, information has leaked about Magic Leap’s “rather small” field of view, causing major disappointment among AR fans.

Virtual reality is here to stay. Like any new technology, we need to be patient while the many talented engineers, developers, and artists continue to devote their energy and passion to creating something truly magical.

 

Roy Kachur is a Media Technologist, IT Architect, and VR Evangelist. He has worked in the information technology field since the 1990’s, and in the media industry since 2014. He believes that VR will play a significant role in the future of media.