This week’s (1/30/17) Top5 VR&AR news

This week’s (1/30/17) Top5 VR&AR news

Subscribe to the VRScout Report podcast on iTunes for all the latest VR/AR news!

1.GAP ENVISIONS A FUTURE WITH AR DRESSING ROOMS

GAP, not exactly known for its cutting edge fashion or technology, is releasing an augmented reality app that lets you model potential purchases without stepping foot outside your home. A 3D model, that you customize with your measurements, is positioned in front of you and you can see how your virtual mannequin looks in different outfits. It’s a bummer that it will only be available for big partner Google’s Tango-enabled smartphones, which right now only consists of Lenovo’s Phab2 Pro. However, in-app purchases are reportedly implemented--  so it’ll be interesting to see what that user interface and buying process looks like.

Related Stocks:
The Gap, Inc. ($GPS)
Alphabet, Inc. ($GOOG)
Lenovo Group Limited ($LNVGY)

 

2. ZENIMAX WINS OCULUS LAWSUIT, COMES OUT SWINGING

Facebook will have to cough up $500M after losing their legal battle with ZeniMax. Oculus founder Palmer Luckey was found guilty of violating a non-disclosure agreement with ZeniMax while developing the early prototype of the Oculus Rift--  and Luckey will have to personally pony up a cool $50M in the suit. Although ZeniMax is only collecting less than 13% of the $4B it was seeking, the company is threatening to file an injunction to put a stop to sales of the Rift. ZeniMax isn’t stopping there, announcing an acquisition of Escalation Studios, a VR-experienced game development company-- and is staying tight-lipped about the cost.

Related Stocks:
Facebook, Inc. ($FB)

 

3.THE SUPER CREEPY VR PORN HEAD CAMERA

It’s ironic that the camera developed specifically for the adult VR film industry is one of the eeriest things I’ve ever seen. VR Bangers, an adult VR content studio, has developed what is essentially a mannequin head with eyes made of 4K cameras and binaural microphones as ears. Custom-built by the studio’s R&D team, it is supposed to prompt a “warmer and more intimate emotional attachment between the performer and the recording device if the device itself is able to be kissed, caressed, and whispered to.” As a perhaps-unforeseen seasonal bonus, it’ll probably fit right in with your Halloween decor!

 

4.NYU VIRTUAL REALITY DANCE PROGRAM

Virtual reality is not new to NYU’s Tisch School for the Arts, and numerous student projects have already been created utilizing 360 photo and video. However, dance and VR is a new combination to the school--  and a live virtual reality dance performance is the focal point of an upcoming show, merging technology and immersive theater elements. Utilizing motion capture technology and live music, the multidisciplinary approach to the performance is one of the first of its kind at universities.

 

5.MONEY, MOVES AND FUNDING

Over the course of 2016, venture capitalists and corporate investors threw $2.3B into the virtual and augmented reality industry, which was an impressive 300% growth from the $700M+ funds that were invested in 2015.

 

Virtual reality studio Against Gravity has received $5M in seed funding to “continue to build the future of social VR” with their popular platform Rec Room. Based in Seattle, the studio claims that 100K+ users have used the platform in the second half of 2016. Investors include the Venture Reality Fund, Vulca, Sequoia, First Round, Anorak, and others.

 

Melbourne, Australia-based archaeological startup  Lithodomos VR has raised $679K to help progress its focus on accurately creating reconstructions of ancient sites and artifacts in virtual reality. Aiming at the tourism, entertainment, and education industries, the company has already released 3D recreated sites from places like Rome, Athens, Paris, and Jerusalem. Led by a PhD student, the company’s seed round is raised from undisclosed angels.

 

Pasadena, CA-based Virtualitics has raised $3M to further development on its VR data visualization software. Intended to help provide insight into complicated data sets, the company’s software was reportedly based on 10+ years of research at Caltech and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory--  they have talent on their team from both of those entities, in addition to a former Deutsche Bank managing director. The company’s seed round was funded by unnamed angel investors.

 

Austin, TX-based virtual reality ad platform SubVRsive Inc. has received an undisclosed amount of investment from WPP. SubVRsive has clients like Lionsgate Entertainment, Showtime Networks Inc., and the American Heart Association. WPP is a London-based advertising, marketing, and communications giant that is rapidly expanding-- making more than two dozen acquisitions last year. This investment in SubVRsive continues to expand WPP’s empire, which operates in more than 100 countries.
 

 

THE PUPPY BOWL IN VR

 

FIRST AR GAME BUILT ON BLOCKCHAIN CROWDFUNDS $500K IN FIRST 3 DAYS

 

NINTENDO SWITCH WILL GET VR WHEN USERS CAN “PLAY FOR HOURS”

 

COMPARE THE FIRST YEAR OF VR HEADSET SALES TO THE FIRST YEAR OF IPHONE SALES

 

MORE APPLE AUGMENTED REALITY PATENTS

 

SINK WITH THE TITANIC IN VR

 

COLLABORATE WITH FELLOW VIRTUAL ARTISTS IN MASTERPIECE VR

 

BLAST OFF TO MARS THEN DROP 90 FEET IRL: NASA’S RIDE AT THE SUPER BOWL

 

NEW PSYCHONAUTS GAME IS HEADING TO PLAYSTATION VR

This week’s (1/30/17) Top5 VR&AR news

This week’s (1/30/17) Top5 VR&AR news

1.VIRTUAL REALITY GETS ITS FIRST OSCAR NOD

Part of the Google Spotlight Story series, Pearl received an Academy Award nomination in the animated short category. A heartwarming narrative about a young woman’s life growing up on the road with her musician father, Pearl can not only be viewed in 360 on your phone or desktop but is also able to be experienced via the HTC Vive - where you can actually move around the car (which is where the story takes place) or get a little crazy and stick your head out of the sunroof… y’know, live a little.
 

Related Stocks:
Alphabet, Inc. ($GOOG)
HTC Corporation ($2498.TW)

 

 

2.CAN VIRTUAL REALITY GET US OVER OUR FEAR OF DEATH?

When used to induce an out-of-body experience, researchers in Spain found that virtual reality can lessen the participants’ fear of death. In the first part of the experiment, which was a first-person perspective, the researchers used haptics to simulate the physical sensation of virtual balls falling on the real-life body to increase the level of immersion. After a few minutes of training the participants to feel real ownership over their virtual bodies, their vantage point changed to third person - which caused them to feel as though they were leaving their bodies. Using questionnaires that featured some questions regarding fear of death, researchers say that volunteers who underwent the out-of-body portion of the experience reported significantly lower fear of dying than those who did not experience that portion of the experiment. Sounds like a convenient sidestep to a near-death experience!

 

 

3.OCULUS WANTS TO KNOW HOW OLD YOU ARE

Oculus has decided to assign age ratings for virtual reality content, joining Google Daydream and Microsoft Hololens in looking to an established process. Effective immediately for all new titles (every title is required to join in by March 1st), the Oculus Store is using the International Age Rating Coalition. The IARC was introduced in 2013 and uses questionnaires to determine content for mobile apps and digital games. Still no measurement for maturity, however…

Related Stocks:
Facebook, Inc. ($FB)
Alphabet, Inc. ($GOOG)
Microsoft Corporation ($MSFT)

 

 

4.LIL’ WAYNE GETS THE VR TREATMENT

The first episode in the Hulu and Live Nation virtual reality partnership features none other than Weezy F. Baby. Skateboarding, the LA river, and hip hop are all sewn together in a 360 video with voiceover from Lil’ Wayne. What’s next for Hulu in the music-themed VR content? Major Lazer!

Related Stocks:
The Walt Disney Company ($DIS)
Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. ($FOX)
Comcast Corporation ($CMCSA)

 

5.INVESTMENT AND FUNDING WRAPUP

Los Angeles, CA-based Two Bit Circus is known for their public installations that combine virtual reality and custom-built haptic machines as well as their traveling STEAM Carnival interactive show. Two Bit Circus just closed a $15M round of funding, which will be used to build location-based experiential entertainment and include the latest in “multi-person virtual reality and mixed reality, social play experiences, group games, molecular gastronomy, mixology, and of course, liberal use of lasers, fire, and robots” according to their website. If you live in LA, get excited: the first location will be 30,000+ square feet and is slated to open in 2018 in downtown. The Series B investment round was led by JAZZ Venture Partners, with help from Techstars Ventures, Foundry Group, and Intel Capital (all participants in their $6.5M Series A in October of 2015), as well as Dentsu Ventures, Georgian Pine, and others.

 

 

Sunnyvale, CA-based company DigiLens has raised $22M in funding to propel development of their reportedly “eyeglass-thin” heads up displays for use in augmented reality with a significant increase in field-of-view. Founded in 2003, the company plans to use the funding to bring AR displays and sensors for enterprise, consumer, and transportation solutions to market. With already $5M in two debt financing rounds in 2013 and 2014 from Trinity Capital, this Series B venture capital round includes Sony, Panasonic, FoxConn, Dolby Family Ventures, Bold Capital, Nautilus Venture Partners, and more.

 

 

Launched in 2016 by ex-DreamWorks executives, Santa Monica, CA-based virtual reality theme park company Spaces brought on an additional $6.5M in funding--  in addition to their $3M seed raise in May of 2016. This additional investment no doubt boosts the $30M joint venture with Chinese company Songcheng, one of the world’s biggest theme park operators, that Spaces announced in June of 2016. In addition to Songcheng, investors include Comcast Ventures, Boost VC, GREE, the Venture Reality Fund, and others.

 

 

In tandem with their release of Windows 10, Microsoft has acquired Swedish-based company Simplygon - a “premier developer of automatic 3D data-optimization solutions,” according to the Microsoft blog. This will help boost the 3D capture, creation, and sharing capabilities of not only the Hololens, but aims to “empower a new wave of creativity with the Windows 10 Creators Update” and beyond. Simplygon will add to the tech giant’s “3D for Everyone” strategy, and it is interesting to note that the company, developed by privately-held Donya Labs AB, also has products pointed in the interactive visualization and e-commerce spaces. The acquisition amount was not disclosed by Microsoft.

Related Stocks:
Sony Corporation ($SNE)
Panasonic Corporation ($PCRFY)
Foxconn Technology Co., Ltd. ($2354.TW)
Microsoft Corporation ($MSFT)

 

 

...and more

 

 

WAITING ON THE ZENIMAX VS. FACEBOOK/OCULUS VERDICT...

 

 

NBC ORDERS A NEW SERIES ABOUT VIRTUAL REALITY

 

 

NASA ANNOUNCES A VR MARS RIDE

 

 

FACEBOOK PUTS HUGO BARRA IN CHARGE OF VR/OCULUS DIVISION

 

 

INTERACTIVE FABRIC USES AUGMENTED REALITY FOR CHILDREN’S STORIES

 

 

6 LEGAL LESSONS RE: VR/AR

 

 

HTC VIVE’S VR OF DESIGN JOINS GOOGLE’S DAYDREAM VR TEAM

 

 

GOOGLE JUST OPENED UP DEVELOPMENT ON GOOGLE DAYDREAM VR

 

 

MICROSOFT HOLOLENS HELPING THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

VRScout Report: The Sundance 2017 Edition

VRScout Report: The Sundance 2017 Edition

Subscribe to the VRScout Report podcast on iTunes for all the latest VR/AR news!

We chat all things Sundance with Zeynep Abes (@zeynepabes) and Jesse Damiani (@JesseDamiani) of VRScout - from how the New Frontier program has grown to prominently feature virtual reality (and augmented reality!) projects over the last couple of years, the increase of social interaction-themed VR content at the festival, and we dive deeper on some specific standouts at the festival such as Life of UsMindshowChocolateThe Journey to the Center of the MachineASTEROIDS!Dear AngelicaZero Days VRMiyubi, and more

This week’s (1/23/17) Top5 VR&AR news

This week’s (1/23/17) Top5 VR&AR news

Subscribe to the VRScout Report podcast on iTunes for all the latest VR/AR news!

1.OCULUS ON TRIAL

The ZeniMax vs. Facebook lawsuit has been grinding through the system for years - although unlike many tech-related IP cases, this one actually made it to trial. ZeniMax is alleging that former employee (and legendary creator of Doom) John Carmack, now CTO of Oculus, used their technology to help Palmer Luckey build the prototype of the Oculus Rift - while he worked at ZeniMax and Luckey was a student at US. The case hinges upon the fundamental question of what makes code new and whether or not Luckey violated an NDA. Although Facebook is not responsible for the burden of proof, if ZeniMax wins their case then it is possible that they would go for an injunction - could this stop sales of the Rift? Some say maybe.

Related Stocks:
Facebook, Inc. ($FB)

 

2.HTC VIVE: BUILDING THE ECOSYSTEM WITH TECH AND PURPOSE

Calling it the “VR for Impact” program, HTC Vive is earmarking a cool $10M towards content and innovation that supports the sustainable development goals of the United Nations: experiences that improve awareness, education, and lead to action for causes. The first winning projects will be announced in April: fittingly, on Earth Day.

...oh, and the tech:

  • The Vive Tracker is a hockey puck-like sensor that enables developers to turn anything into an interactive device (well, almost anything - a certification system is in place to approve accessories). It is a hugely valuable addition to the industry because it opens up a world of interactive possibilities by lowering the financial barrier of entry to developers and accessory manufacturers.

  • HTC Vive and TPCast have teamed up to release their wire-cutting solution in Q2. Priced at $250, the device consists of a wireless receiver, transmitter, and battery that attach to the headset enable you to run move around freely… no more VR tail!
     

    Related Stocks:
    HTC Corporation ($2498.TW)

 

3.IMAX VR ARCADES LAND IN LA

The first iteration of the new IMAX VR centers has arrived. Based in Los Angeles, the venue feels more like a movie theatre combined with a high-end spa than an arcade. The menu highlights an assortment of tastes, from the relaxing Jon Favreau and Wevr’s Gnomes and Goblins to the adrenaline-pumping John Wicke: An Eye for an Eye. For $10 you can try one of the featured experiences, or for $25 you can try them all.

Related Stocks:
IMAX Corporation ($IMAX)

 

4.SMELL YOUR VR PORN

Although this product may be a solution in search of a problem, it is just too funny for me not to tell you about. The OhRama (see what they did there?) snaps on over your regular VR headset, and it is meant to add an extra layer of realism to your virtual fantasies. Basically, you snap up to three scent cartridges into the OhRama scent mask, and control the smell via Bluetooth and a mobile app. Brought to you by CamSoda (uh, thanks?), there are 30 featured scents like body odor and panties. We have no word official word yet on how long it takes the smell (aka “evidence”) to disappear.

 

5.AUGMENTED REALITY HELPING IMPROVE SPINAL SURGERIES

Philips, one of the largest tech companies in the world, is getting even more high tech with their medical division. Spinal surgeries, once an open procedure requiring large incisions, have started to use less-invasive techniques in the past few years--  relying on advanced imaging technology to guide tiny surgical tools with smaller incisions. Now, thanks to augmented reality, these procedures are becoming even less invasive. Surgeons can now make a “high-resolution 3D image of the patient’s spine, plan the optimal device path, and subsequently place pedicle screws using the system’s fully-automatic augmented reality navigation… and all of this can be done without any radiation exposure to the surgeon and with minimal dose to the patient.”

Related Stocks:
Koninklijke Philips N.V. ($PHG)

 

...and more...

 

AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE IS NOW TESTING THE MICROSOFT HOLOLENS

 

MICROSOFT: WINDOWS 10 HOLOGRAPHIC

 

GOOGLE DAYDREAM ON SALE / DISAPPOINTING SALES?

 

HUAWEI MADE A HEADSET FOR GOOGLE DAYDREAM

 

QUALCOMM: NEW PROCESSOR, SNAPDRAGON 835

 

GLOBAL VR GAMING MARKET TO JUMP 84%

 

FOXNEXT: THE NEW GAMING DIVISION FROM THE FOX INNOVATION LAB

 

LAWNMOWER MAN COMES TRUE IN VIRTUAL REALITY

 

SHOPPING IN VR… COMING SOON, SAYS A JOB POSTING FROM AMAZON

 

BBC PARTNERING WITH OCULUS TO BRING ‘PLANET EARTH’ TO VR

 

PSVR NOW SUPPORTS YOUTUBE 360 VIDEOS

 

VR FUNDING AND INNOVATION LOOK STRONG FOR 2017

AT&T Shows Future of VR/AR at Developer Summit

AT&T Shows Future of VR/AR at Developer Summit

AT&T has come a long way since Alexander Graham Bell.

Over a century after the invention of the telephone in 1879, the telecom giant has constantly pushed the evolution of communication and media forward. The 2014 acquisition of DIRECTV was a recent big move, and the company is currently in process of purchasing Time Warner (which would bring AT&T’s telecommunication holdings under the same umbrella as the Warner Bros. studio, Turner Broadcasting System, and HBO).

With the deep history of innovation and modern focus on entertainment, it is no shocker that AT&T is taking aim at the most immersive medium: virtual and augmented reality technology.

AT&T sponsored us to attend the Developer Summit in Las Vegas, and as it turned out – the force was strong in VR/AR initiatives.

One of the most recognizable faces in the industry, Nonny de la Pena is nicknamed the “Godmother of Virtual Reality.” An award-winning creator and CEO of Emblematic Group, de la Pena is a pioneer in immersive journalism – one of her most famous projects is Project Syria, which was made for the World Economic Forum.

As part of the AT&T Futurecast series, de la Pena spoke about immersive journalism and why virtual reality is the only medium for her to tell the stories she wants.

It seemed like there was some mention of mixed reality technology in almost all the track sessions, which spanned topics from connected home to enterprise to entertainment to ioT – and of course, trends spotting.

Steve Lukas of Qualcomm Ventures urges developers to realize that with VR/AR, “the world is your interface”

Steve Lukas of Qualcomm Ventures urges developers to realize that with VR/AR, “the world is your interface”

One of the exciting VR/AR tools introduced at the show was the Video Resource Optimizer, which helps developers stream content more efficiently to devices – which could eventually help more devices be wireless (cutting the cord cannot come quickly enough!).

The expo hall was packed with VR/AR demos, all finalists in the AT&T VR/AR Challenge – and the Summit attendees got to cast their votes for the winner.

The Challenge: In September, AT&T announced the nationwide developer contest. The mission? To create non-gaming virtual and augmented reality solutions in 5 categories: Film/Content, Education, Sports, and Healthcare.

Two months later, 5 developer teams were still in the race. With $20,000 for the Grand Prize winner, excitement ran high.

Ed Schmit, Executive Director of AT&T, said “We were impressed. We were very happy with not only the number of submissions, but the number of very good quality submissions – and how much the technology has advanced over the last year or so. Having tracked [the VR/AR industry] for a couple of years now, I’m amazed at how rapidly the tools are advancing.”

The developer finalists came from all over the nation, and created VR/AR experiences ranging from data visualization, interactive narrative, education, improving accuracy of fulfillment services, and a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the National Parks.

The Grand Prize winner was an augmented reality application standout. Using the Microsoft Hololens, WaypointRx is an AR application that allows a layperson to fill a prescription that otherwise could only have been filled by a highly trained pharmacist.

Based out of Boston, WaypointRx is comprised of students from MIT and Harvard. Team member Umer Arshad said the company’s “goal is to use augmented reality to put the knowledge of experts into the hands of everyday people.”

There is a reason why AT&T has been around for over a century: it is a culture of constant innovation and the two-day Developer Summit highlighted the company’s dedication to supporting the developer community.

Power to the creators.

Listen to our latest podcast episode of the VRScout Report where we interview five finalists from the VR/AR Challenge at the AT&T Developer Summit.

Virtual Reality: The Best of 2016

This week’s (12/19/16) Top5 VR&AR news

This week’s (12/19/16) Top5 VR&AR news

Subscribe to the VRScout Report podcast on iTunes for all the latest VR/AR news!

Special thanks to featured guest: Jenn Duong, Director of VR at 1215 Creative, Co-founder of SHIIFT, and Women in VR / @jenndefer - http://1215creative.com/

1) WILL JIMMY FALLON’S NEW VIRTUAL REALITY SEGMENT HELP RAISE AWARENESS OF VR?

According to a market snapshot by Parks Associates, 60% of U.S. broadband households claim to know little or nothing about virtual reality… but perhaps a new virtual reality segment on the Tonight Show with Tilt Brush Pictionary will help increase awareness. The show has a great audience: almost 3.5M TV viewers, 12.6M YouTube subscribers, 11.5M Facebook fans. Fallon himself has been called the King of Social Media in the entertainment industry, and his influencer status has been a calling card of his career. He also makes content that is perfectly suited to a digital audience: short-form, high-energy snippets that are well-distributed across all social channels. No doubt we’ll see some classic “celebrities in a headset” moments that will show up in even your grandma’s Facebook feed. If anyone can do it, it’s Jimmy Fallon.

Related Stocks:
Facebook, Inc. ($FB)
Alphabet, Inc. ($GOOG)
HTC Corporation ($2498.TW)

 

2) FACEBOOK LAUNCHES LIVE 360 VIDEOS WITH NAT GEO

Partnering with National Geographic to show off the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah in full 360 degree glory, Facebook took its first steps into live spherical video. Live 360 video will become available to the API later this month, and Facebook will roll out the immersive live stream functionality to all Pages and users. Although only the replays will be available to watch in a VR headset for now, Facebook will no doubt solve that challenge eventually - as well as 4K spatialized audio and 4K resolution.

Related Stocks:
Facebook, Inc. ($FB)
Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. ($FOX)

 

3) PARTY WITH YOUR FACEBOOK FRIENDS IN VR: OCULUS ROOMS & PARTIES

If you have a Samsung Gear VR, you can now connect with your Facebook friends through Oculus Home. First promised at the Oculus Connect 3 conference, you can now start a voice call (called a Party) with up to 3 friends - and then connect with those friends in a virtual playspaces (called a Room). In a Room, you and your friends can watch videos together on a giant 2D TV screen, play guessing or matching games, or launch a multiplayer game. In the official words of the Oculus blog, this is “just the beginning of social VR.”

Related Stocks:
Facebook, Inc. ($FB)

 

4)MONETIZING VR: PREMIUM CONTENT AND TV APPS

Content creators are challenged to build monetization models in the growing virtual reality industry. Two content studios (who have their own native apps), have announced novel approaches to this market-wide challenge. On their Transport app, Los Angeles-based Wevr is launching a subscription-based model - offering a premium content tier in addition to their free content. The New York-based company Littlstar (which is backed by Disney) has released a VR-viewing app made for smart TVs, launching first for Sony’s Brava Android televisions. Available through the Google Play Store, the app allows users to navigate around the 360 degree content with their remote control. Although an inelegant stand-in for a headset, no doubt Littlstar’s VR content partners (Showtime, the Discovery Channel, Nat Geo, and ABC Television Group) will find a big audience via smart TVs - which are in 50M homes in the U.S.

Related Stocks:
Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. ($FOX)
The Walt Disney Company ($DIS)

 

5) INVESTMENT & FUNDING WRAPUP

Boom - $3.5M in seed funding to make e-sports replays more immersive. Using the 3D data from video games, live streamers can verbally command Boom to show a glorious multi-angle replay of their last move. Although currently only available on Twitch and YouTube Gaming, Boom is laying the foundation for the next features: a 3D virtual reality streaming platform available on headsets in real time.

Loom.ai - $1.35M in seed funding for its platform that creates 3D avatars from 2D images, which can then be plugged into a variety of animation tools and VR applications. Loom.ai’s investment comes from Danhua Capital, Y Combinator, Presence Capital, Anorak Ventures, and others. The founding director of Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, Jeremy Bailenson, is an advisor to Loom.ai as well as co-founder of STRIVR...

STRIVR -  $5M in a Series A Round, to widen the focus of its VR training platform. Co-founded at Stanford by Jeremy Bailenson and Stanford kicker Derek Belch, STRIVR has concentrated on improving athletic performance - and has 25 pro and college sports teams as clients. Now the company is broadening its scope to “experiential learning,” for enterprise training for areas like operations, sales, customer service, HR, and safety. Investment was led by Signia Venture Partners with participation from BMW i Ventures and AdvancIt Capital.

Survios - $50M in two rounds in 2016. Los Angeles-based Survios’s Raw Data game was the first VR game to top the global Steam Charts and made a $1M in one month, and the company wants to be the leading publisher and content creator in virtual reality. The lead investor was Lux Capital with participation from Shasta Ventures, Danhua Capital, Shanda Holdings, Felicis Ventures, Dentsu Ventures, and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (which has a lot of intellectual property - will we be able to become James Bond or Rocky in future VR games from Survios)?

Related Stocks:
Amazon.com, Inc. ($AMZN)
Alphabet, Inc. ($GOOG)
MGM Resorts International ($MGM)

 

...and more...

 

CYCLISTS & TRIATHLETES SPORT AUGMENTED REALITY GLASSES

 

FOX’S INNOVATION LAB TEAMS UP WITH FELIX & PAUL

 

ADD-ON DEVICE AIMS TO MAKE HTC VIVE WIRELESS

 

OCULUS CEO STEPS DOWN, WILL LEAD PC DIVISION

 

PATENT SUGGESTS NINTENDO’S NEXT DEVICE MIGHT USE VR HEADSET

 

PREDICTIONS FOR THE NEXT 2 YEARS OF VR

 

STUBHUB LETS YOU VIEW YOUR SEATS IN VR BEFORE BUYING

 

LIVE STREAMING 4K 360 CAMERA ORAH NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER

 

SMART SUIT CAPTURES YOUR MOVEMENTS FOR USE IN VIRTUAL WORLDS

 

PIXVANA RELEASES VR EDITING SOFTWARE ONE YEAR AFTER RAISING $6M SEED

 

WORD PRESS BLOGS NOW HOST 360 VIDEO CONTENT

 

THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE’S AUGMENTED REALITY APP

This week’s (12/12/16) Top5 VR&AR news

This week’s (12/12/16) Top5 VR&AR news

Subscribe to the VRScout Report podcast on iTunes for all the latest VR/AR news!

Special thanks to featured guest Jesse Damiani of VRScout

1) OCULUS TOUCH CONTROLLERS ARE HERE AND THE CREATORS TOOLS ARE RAD

When the first consumer version of the Oculus Rift was launched in the spring, it was disappointingly bundled with a Microsoft Xbox controller - and we’ve eagerly been awaiting the native Touch Controllers. Now, the day is here, and the wait was… worth it? The Touch controllers feel like little magical half-doughnuts and are smooth and intuitive. The tracking system leaves something to be desired, with two sensors that track only 180 degrees of motion (as opposed to the laser-powered Lighthouse tracking system from the HTC Vive, which tracks in full 360 degrees). Although the performance of intense games suffers from the limited front-facing tracking abilities, creators tools like Quill and Medium are incredible. We are truly looking forward to seeing what artist are going to build with these tools - like this mind blowing Quill creation from Goro Fujita.

Related Stocks:
Facebook, Inc. ($FB)
Microsoft Corporation ($MSFT)
HTC Corporation ($2498.TW)

 

2) GOOGLE DAYDREAM SCORES NETFLIX AND HBO APPS

Google Daydream has exclusive access to YouTube’s considerable 360 video library (although admittedly curation could be better) as well as its massive 2D video archive. All this YouTube media gave the platform a sizeable chunk of content at their recent launch, and now Netflix VR and HBO VR have both joined Daydream as well. However, let me clarify: the Netflix VR app (which has been available on Samsung Gear VR since September 2015) and the new HBO VR app (exclusive to Daydream) are 360 degree virtual reality living rooms in which you can watch any traditional 2D media from each platform’s library… on a virtual television hanging on your virtual wall. Although this setup is obviously not as incredible as being inside your favorite movie, it’s still pretty cool. Streaming video in a VR headset is the best travel accessory, by the way: it almost seems like this setup was invented for airplanes and hotel rooms. In addition to Netflix, HBO, and YouTube, Daydream also has the Hulu VR and Google Play Movies & TV apps - making Google Daydream’s video content quite impressive (as a sidenote, when is Amazon going to release a VR viewing app to stream their flat content???).

Related Stocks:
Alphabet, Inc. ($GOOG)
Netflix, Inc. ($NFLX)
Time Warner Inc. ($TWX)

 

3) MAGIC LEAP’S CONTROVERSY

The secretive augmented reality company Magic Leap has been very successful at keeping a tight lid on their product development… until now? A reporter from The Information has published a contrarian view of the supposedly-revolutionary technology - which has been recognized by investors as so advanced that it has garnered $1.4B in funding (with a $4.4B valuation) from huge names like Google, Alibaba, and Andreeson Horowitz. The report alleges that not only are some of Magic Leap’s tech demo videos faked (like tiny elephants held in the palm of hands, life-size virtual whales jumping out of real gymnasiums, or an alien office takeover game), but their core technology is years away from a consumer release - and is currently less viable than other major competitors such as the Microsoft Hololens. Want to dive deeper into the details? Check out the Reddit AMA from The Information reporter… and the rebuttal from Magic Leap itself.

Related Stocks:
Alphabet, Inc. ($GOOG)
Alibaba Group Holding Limited ($BABA)

 

4) HTC VIVE LAUNCHES VIVE STUDIOS

HTC Vive is helping the big issue of the state of virtual reality today: lack of content. Taking notes from traditional video game publishers, HTC Vive is creating an internal development and publishing group called Vive Studios - similar to Oculus Studios, in fact. They will work on content internally as well as work closely with outside studios on publishing, marketing, and funding support. Vive Studios is not just focusing on gaming content, and like their Viveport VR app platform, are continuing to focus on other applications - such as education, cinematic, design, real estate, sports, retail, healthcare, and social.


Related Stocks:
HTC Corporation ($2498.TW)
Facebook, Inc. ($FB)

 

5) MONEY & FUNDING

Visbit - $3.2M: the Sunnyvale, CA-based team has been working on patented 4K streaming technology for VR. Presence Capital, ZhenFund, Colopl Next, Amino Capital and Eversunny Limited have invested to complete the closed beta of its patented Visbit View-Optimized Streaming (VVOS) technology. Your data plan will thank you.

Axon VR Haptics - $5.8M: based in Seattle, WA and San Luis Obispo, CA, Axon VR garnered the biggest investment ever in a haptics company. The round was led by NetEase (NASDAQ:NTES), a leading internet technology company in China, and Dawn Patrol Ventures, and includes former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, and seeks to bring the company’s haptic textiles that simulate lifelike touch and enable users to feel real-world physical properties from the virtual world.

Zero Latency - $7M: Melbourne, Australia-based Zero Latency will use its funding to set up new sites for its untethered multiplayer games in the the US and Japan. Investment was raised from existing backer Carthona Capital and clients of Bell Potter.

 

...and more...

 

IMAX COMPLETES FIRST ROUND OF $50M FUND

 

FACEBOOK TO LAUNCH LIVE STREAMING IN 360 DEGREES

 

VISUALIZE DATA IN VR

 

BIG PLAYERS PUSH FOR OPEN STANDARDS

 

ALL-IN-ONE HEADSETS COMING IN 2017

 

NEW YORK TIMES APP & HOLLYWOOD ACTOR SERIES AND DON CHEADLE IN VR

 

SURVEY SAYS BRITISH WOMEN WANT VR SEX

 

TOUR NY’S HOLIDAY WINDOW DISPLAYS

 

AUGMENTED REALITY APP TURNS THE $1 BILL INTO WHITE HOUSE TOUR

 

SAMSUNG AND VICE PARTNER FOR 360 DOC RE: SYRIA

 

VIRTUIX CANCELS OMNI INTERNATIONAL SHIPMENTS