News

  • Step Inside the International Space Station Like Never Before With Cinematic VR Series ‘ISS Experience’ It'll be filmed over the next year.
  • Google I/O 2019 Developer Conference Set For May
    Google I/O 2019 Developer Conference Set For May

    We’re coming up to developer conference season once again, and Google’s now dated I/O’s 2019 return.

    The event will take place at the Shoreline Amphitheatre on May 7th – 9th. CEO Sundar Pichai confirmed the news via a tweet late last week. That just leaves us to speculate what will be announced at the show.

    Glad the transmission was received:) See you at Shoreline Amphitheatre May 7-9 for this year’s I/O! #io19 pic.twitter.com/CXWpQR4Eza

    — Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) January 25, 2019

    I/O will no doubt be a curious event for VR and AR. Google didn’t even mention the former at last year’s show despite launching its Lenovo Mirage Solo Daydream headset around it. AR continues to be an area of interest for the company as it grows its ARCore platform, though. Expect to see plenty of AR workshops and panels at the very least.

    As for VR, it is possible we get some Daydream updates. We’re mostly interested to see if the six degrees of freedom (6DOF) controllers being sent out to developers get turned into an official product. We’re also wondering if there might be any new Daydream hardware or apps to talk about. Otherwise, you can expect the usual Android updates and more from the show.

    I/O won’t be the only major developer conference in May. Facebook’s F8 event gets underway on April 30th and wraps up on May 1st. We’re expecting a fair bit more on the VR side from that one, including launch information for Oculus Quest.

    UploadVR will, of course, be covering the show in full. Check back for the latest updates.

    Tagged with: ARCore, Daydream, google, Google I/O

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  • PSVR Exclusive Shooter Starblood Arena Goes Offline In July
    PSVR Exclusive Shooter Starblood Arena Goes Offline In July

    Sad news for WhiteMoon Dreams’ PSVR exclusive shooter, Starblood Arena; it’s shutting down soon.

    A note on the game’s official PlayStation page confirms the news. Sony is taking multiplayer offline on 25th July 2019. Starblood launched in early 2017 so its reign has been short-lived. The game is pretty much an online-only title, so it’ll effectively cease to exist. We’ve reached out to WhiteMoon for comment on the news.

    This is sad, if perhaps unsurprising news. Starblood was a six degree of freedom (6DOF) shooter. You jumped into the cockpit of a customized death machine and battled it out with others in arena-style matches. We quite enjoyed it for its box-ticking fun but, even in our review, we found difficulty getting into matches.

    “Starblood Arena isn’t a profound expression of the power of VR, but it’s hard not to appreciate a rock solid shooter that will provide hours of multiplayer battles for those willing to put the time in,” we said in our review. “Ultimately it’s a little too niche to become the definitive multiplayer PSVR game, and the struggles to get into matches aren’t going to please people that threw down $39.99 to play it.”

    The game was one of the first PSVR titles to be made free for PS Plus members last January, but it doesn’t seem to have helped much.

    Starblood Arena isn’t the first PSVR online casualty. Shortly after the headset’s launch in 2016 Sony shut down its Cambridge Studio, which made RIGS: Mechanized Combat League. The game is still playable but future DLC was scrapped and it’s been left to much the same fate. Such are the risks of multiplayer development in the fledgling VR market, no?

    Tagged with: 6dof, PSVR exclusive, shooter, Starblood Arena

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  • Eating Real Food In VR With Marshmallow Laser Feast’s ‘Sweet Dreams’

    The experimental location-based VR studio serves up a delicious tale of desire at Sundance. With location-based VR more prevalent than ever, developers have quickly begun searching for fresh new ideas to help set their own experiences apart from a growing pool of competitors. Major releases, such as Ghostbusters: Dimensions and Arizona Sunshine: LBE Edition, have

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  • SuperData: VR Grew 30% In 2018 Thanks To PSVR, Oculus Quest Will Be 2019’s Hit
    SuperData: VR Grew 30% In 2018 Thanks To PSVR, Oculus Quest Will Be 2019’s Hit

    After floundering in 2017, virtual reality hardware actually outperformed optimistic sales expectations last year, SuperData Research said today, with annual VR revenues reaching $3.6 billion — higher than the Nielsen-owned firm’s late 2018 forecast of $3.3 billion. That’s a 30 percent year-over-year increase in revenues, particularly noteworthy given holiday price drops for some of the leading VR devices.

    According to SuperData’s Q4 2018 XR market report, Sony’s PlayStation VRbecame the market leader during the holiday quarter, selling 700,000 units — the largest number of headsets sold across any category. By contrast, the standalone Oculus Go sold 555,000 units, with the PC-tethered Oculus Rift and HTC Vive selling 160,000 and 130,000 headsets, respectively.

    SuperData attributes the strong sales in part to appealing prices. Between Black Friday discounts and the release of games such as Beat Saber, the PSVR ended 2018 on its strongest note yet. For $199, the easy-to-use Oculus Go appealed to first-time VR headset buyers, though the firm says consumers “craved higher-end experiences in console, PC, and standalone headsets.”

    For 2019, SuperData predicts that Oculus’ next-generation standalone headset, Quest, will be a hit and forecasts sales of 1.3 million units, thanks to “high consumer interest.” While Quest will have to hurdle a somewhat challenging $399 price point and waves of recent bad publicity for Oculus parent company Facebook, SuperData believes that hardware tethering has impeded consumer VR adoption, and Quest’s better-than-Go performance will make it more compelling to consumers.

    Unsurprisingly, games are the biggest revenue generator for the extended reality category, earning 68 percent of XR software revenue. Niantic’s Pokémon Go alone generated 66 percent of the $2 billion in XR games revenue, demonstrating the cash-generating power of both mobile and AR technologies under the right circumstances. Location-based VR experiences helped grow XR revenues, as well.

    The future is bright for the entire XR category, SuperData suggests. When all of 2018’s hardware, software, and experience revenues are considered together, XR generated $6.6 billion in 2018, and the numbers are projected to grow steadily each year for the next four years. By 2022, the firm expects $34.1 billion in XR revenues — a 442 percent increase over 2018 — thanks in large part to growing sales of VR and AR hardware, with smaller but still substantial sales of software.

    This post by Jeremy Horwitz originally appeared on Venturebeat. 

    Tagged with: superdata

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  • Oculus Debuts Two VR Experiences at Sundance, One is an Oculus Quest Title The Under Presents and Traveling While Black were both presented at the festival.
  • The VR Job Hub: Fabrick Games, DeepQ, Fable New year, new job.
  • Scientists Use Yawning To Study Social Presence In VR

    New research by UBC highlights the similarities and differences in the way people interact in VR versus the real world. Contagious yawning is a well-documented phenomenon in which people – and even some non-human animals – yawn reflexively when they detect a nearby yawn. Another aspect of this is that when people are in company,

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  • Helping Fight Deforestation and Climate Change HTC Vive Releases ‘Tree’ on Viveport The VR project was showcased at the recent World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in Davos.
  • Blippar To Continue As A New AR Company After Selling IP Assets To Investment Fund
    Blippar To Continue As A New AR Company After Selling IP Assets To Investment Fund

    London-based augmented reality (AR) “unicorn” Blippar has found a buyer for its intellectual property (IP) assets, nearly one month after the company revealed it had started insolvency procedures.

    An investment fund called Candy Ventures, which is an existing Blippar investor based in London, has revealed that it bought numerous assets relating to Blippar, including its name and the platform’s underlying technologies, in addition to the assets of Layar — an AR startup Blippar bought in 2014.

    This will form the basis of a new company, also called Blippar, which will focus on developing an AR creation and publishing platform aimed at everyone, regardless of whether they have technical know-how. This will be operated as a software-as-service (SaaS) business, and appears to be based on the Blippbuilder platform launched for third-party developers back in 2016.

    The goal of the new business will be to “unify and standardize AR formats,” according to a statement issued by the companies.

    “We will bring together all of the invaluable R&D, technology capabilities, and key learnings gained from the past eight years and invest this in what we believe to be our most powerful asset and most sustainable revenue stream,” added cofounder and CEO Ambarish Mitra.

    By way of a quick recap, Blippar was founded in 2011 in the early days of Android and iOS. Its first product was aimed at advertisers, who could “augment” real-world objects (such as candy wrappers) with funky animations and videos when users pointed their phone at them. The platform expanded extensively through the years, evolving into virtual reality, computer vision and machine learning, facial recognition, and location-based AR.

    Although Blippar let many of its staff go due to insolvency, the new Blippar incarnation will in fact retain many of the original Blippar engineers — and Mitra will continue to lead the company as CEO.

    Money

    In 2015, Mitra claimed in an interview with the Financial Times that it had spurned an offer from an unnamed company to buy it out for $1.5 billion, which appears to be the basis of Blippar’s much-discussed “unicorn” status. However, at its series D funding round in 2016 it had a post-money valuation of “over” $500 million, which suggests it never really became a unicorn.

    The company had raised north of $130 million from such big names as Qualcomm, and back in September Blippar raised $37 million as it sought more runway to reach profitability by focusing on B2B. However, Blippar went in search of “an additional small amount of funding” that was ultimately blocked by one of its shareholders, eventually leading to the company’s demise.

    “It was a devastating disappointment when Blippar was forced into administration at the end of last year, but today’s news is a hugely positive outcome,” Mitra continued. “We continue to believe in the future of augmented reality and see a huge opportunity to create the best platform to allow our customers to seamlessly build and publish successful AR experiences, in the same way that WordPress allowed anyone to easily create and publish a website.”

    At the time, Blippar revealed that insolvency procedures meant all employees would be let go and its services likely terminated. However, the platform

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  • ‘The Under Presents’ Is A Theatrical Oculus Quest Project From Tender Claws
    ‘The Under Presents’ Is A Theatrical Oculus Quest Project From Tender Claws

    The Los Angeles-based creators of Virtual Virtual Reality and AR software Tendar just announced an Oculus Quest project.

    From Tender Claws, “The Under Presents” is a theatrically-centered VR project funded by Oculus Studios featuring a “vaudeville stage that exists in a special dimension outside time and space.” A sneak peek of the project is being shown at the Sundance Film Festival.

    According to a blog post announcing the project, this virtual theater will feature a loop of “different live and recorded acts coming and going” and it was produced in collaboration with NYC-based theater group Piehole. “And the experience is designed to take advantage of the untethered Oculus Quest, allowing the actors to join the experience in Oculus Quest too and conduct performances from different physical locations,” according to the post.

    Tender Claws co-founder Samantha Gorman says the narrative surrounds “fate and free will and as part of that we’re interested in playing with the change of feeling of interacting with both pre-recorded and live characters. As well as other players and past recorded versions of themselves.” Fate and free will certainly sound like normal questions for Tender Claws to grapple with, but both live and pre-recorded characters makes it sound like the developers are taking their exploratory work in VR and AR game design to the next level.

    We don’t know when The Under Presents will launch just yet. The $400 Oculus Quest headset is due to launch in the coming months, but this project’s release is just listed as later this year.

    Tagged with: Oculus Studios, Tender Claws, The Under Presents

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  • Leap Motion Showcase Latest Design Updates for Project North Star It's been redesigned for reliability, and to look more inviting.
  • Animated VR Story Gloomy Eyes Adds Colin Farrell As Narrator
    Animated VR Story Gloomy Eyes Adds Colin Farrell As Narrator

    Colin Farrell will narrate the animated VR project Gloomy Eyes.

    The visually striking project is premiering in the New Frontier section of the Sundance Film Festival from directors Jorge Tereso and Fernando Maldonado, produced by Atlas V and 3dar with a collection of co-producers and supporters including Ryot, HTC Vive, CNC, ARTE, Unity, and Rhone Alpes Cinema.

    A still from Gloomy Eyes by Jorge Tereso and Fernando Maldonado, an official selection of the New Frontier Programs at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

    It’s a love story between “a zombie kid called Gloomy and a mortal girl called Nena” set in a world “where the sun got tired of the humans” and “decided to hide and never rise again.”

    Here’s the official synopsis:

    It’s 1983 on a cold night in Woodland City. Being a zombie is against the law. The undead have been around for almost a decade now, but peaceful coexistence with the “normal” people continues to fail. They hide in the forest, away from the dangerous zombie hunters. Nights are calm and quiet, but Gloomy still tries to stay out of sight. Hunters are a real threat, but this zombie is hiding from something else as well…Truth is, he doesn’t feel too comfortable around others of his kind. But really, Gloomy not completely like other zombies. He has access to things we don’t see or understand. Nature knows he’s special.

    While zombies certainly sound like a spooky subject, Gloomy Eyes appears to have a lot in common with The Nightmare Before Christmas. Like last year’s Spheres, which debuted at Sundance, Gloomy Eyes might be the kind of project to get picked up at Sundance for release on VR headsets late in the year.

     

    Tagged with: Colin Farrell, Gloomy Eyes, sundance film festival

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  • EMBODY Brings Cooperative VR Well-Being To Sundance

    Transform a surreal digital environment with your own body while enhancing your well-being in this social VR experience. With a vast majority of VR titles focused on evoking powerful emotional responses from users – whether it be excitement, anger, or even disgust – with thrilling, action-packed immersive content, it’s easy to forget that virtual reality

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  • Fate/Grand Order VR feat. Mash Kyrielight to get a Western PlayStation VR Release The launch will take place next month.