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  • Infinity Film Festival Will Feature VR, AR
    Infinity Film Festival Will Feature VR, AR

    The Infinity Film Festival in Beverly Hills, presented by Epic Games’ Unreal Engine, is set to take place this November 1 – 4, 2018. The festival will have an emerging-tech focus, including: Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence and Augmented & Virtual Reality. New directions for traditional forms of content will include: Features, Episodic, Digital-First and more. Programming will include more than 75 hours of screenings, 30 technology exhibitions and over 100 industry-leading speakers from Hollywood, Silicon Valley and Silicon Beach with networking opportunities and gala evening events. Epic will also host the IFF Tech Lab with Unreal Engine training for film and virtual production. Programming advisors include over 80 members from leading studios, talent agencies and technology companies.

    Festival organizers also announced their opening keynote speaker, Vicki Dobbs Beck, Executive in Charge at ILMxLAB, Lucasfilm’s award-winning immersive entertainment division, and board member for the Infinity Film Festival. “ILMxLAB is thrilled to present at the Infinity Film Festival in Beverly Hills. We look forward to sharing insights as to how emerging technologies such as Virtual and Augmented Reality offer opportunities to ‘Step Inside Our Stories’ by bringing worlds to life and establishing deep and intimate connections to characters,” said Dobbs Beck.

    In addition to the varied formats being showcased at IFF, a partnership to present leading short-form content has been formed with Audience Awards, now in its fifth year. “With our focus on impact, innovation and diversity in short-form filmmaking, we see Infinity Film Festival in Beverly Hills as a natural partner to strengthen the ability for our award-winning filmmakers to continue positively changing the world,” said Audience Awards Founder and CEO, Paige Williams.

    Festival submissions are underway for the IFF Monolith Awards for content and technology, which celebrate unique contributions to “story advanced by technology.” Submissions may still be entered for consideration in all forms of technology and media in entertainment, industrial, medical and more. Awards categories include use of either CGI, Performance Capture or Real-Time Graphics Engine in Film/TV/Digital; immersive AR or
    VR Technology in Storytelling and more. The final festival deadline for entries is September 28, 2018 and can be submitted online: https://filmfreeway.com/iffestival.

    IFF Monolith Awards for technology will be selected by a distinguished committee, chaired by Hanno Basse, CTO, 20th Century Fox, and committee members, including: Vicky Colf, CTO, Warner Bros. Entertainment.; Joanne Kim, VP & Head of Production/Post Production, Legendary Pictures; Poppy Crum, Chief Scientist, Dolby; and Spencer Stephens, Principle, techXmedia and former CTO at Sony Pictures Entertainment. Awards will be presented during the festival.

    To support the festival theme of “story advanced by technology,” Epic will present classes on filmmaking and virtual production with Unreal Engine in the IFF Tech Lab.

    “Unreal Engine technology has been used in film and television production for years and now it’s being used to achieve final imagery in real time, signaling a momentous shift in workflow,” said Epic Games CTO Kim Libreri. “The Infinity Film Festival presents a timely opportunity for us to provide training to help cinematic and visual effects professionals unlock all of the creative possibilities

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  • Witness The Legend of The Golem In VR DIVR Labs have created an interactive location-based version of the Golem legend for Hamleys Toy Store in Prague.
  • The Venture Reality Fund Release Their H1 2018 VR Landscape The immersive industry continues to see growth and success across the sectors.
  • VRFocus Nominated In 7th Annual TIGA Games Industry Awards VRFocus work with the VR Diversity Initiative recognised as part of shortlist for Diversity TIGA Award.
  • Gaze-Controlled VR Adventure Arca’s Path Reveals Release Date A look at what's in store as Arca's Path gets new trailer and release date.
  • Creed: Rise to Glory Has A Full Online Multiplayer Mode
    Creed: Rise to Glory Has A Full Online Multiplayer Mode

    We’re less than a week away from the launch of Creed: Rise to Glory, but developer Survios is only now revealing one of the game’s biggest features.

    The boxing tie-in, which launches ahead of this year’s Creed II in cinemas, is getting an online multiplayer mode. More specifically, you’ll be able to enter the ring with total strangers and issue a royal beatdown in the middle of their face (or receive one if, like me, you don’t really know how boxing works). A Quick Match option will allow you to join up either with friends or with total strangers. Survios does absolutely recommend that your play space is entirely clear before you jump online, though.

    This is a pretty big deal considering Creed’s main rival, Grab Games’ Knockout League, is a strictly single-player only affair (though it is getting a steady stream of new content). This could give the game some serious longevity. We’ve reached out to Survios to ask if multiplayer will support cross-player across the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PSVR versions, which would definitely help the community thrive.

    Outside of online we’ve always known that Creed will include a full single-player career mode in which you’ll climb your way through the boxing world as Adonis Creed, taking out champions and training with none other than Rocky Balboa. Fights are fuelled by Survios’ new Phantom Melee Technology, which aims to convincingly simulate aspects like fatigue in boxing matches. We think the game’s shaping up to be a contender.

    Creed: Rise to Glory hits PS4 and PC on September 25th.

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  • New Sony Patent Reveals PlayStation VR Motion Sickness Technology The company is looking to help reduce the impact of motion sickness on users of virtual reality experiences.
  • Killing Floor: Incursion Dev to Publish VR Stealth Experience Espire 1: VR Operative The title is scheduled to arrive in 2019.
  • Dreamscape Immersive Aims For Global Expansion, Takes On Two New Senior Vice Presidents The makers of Alien Zoo are looking at the bigger picture.
  • Walmart Buys 17,000 Oculus Go Headsets For Worker Training
    Walmart Buys 17,000 Oculus Go Headsets For Worker Training

    Walmart and VR startup STRIVR are expanding a partnership and distributing Oculus Go headsets for worker training at every store.

    The roll out should see 17,000 Oculus Go headsets distributed to Walmart stores for employee training — four going to every Supercenter and two heading to each Neighborhood Market or Discount Store before the year is out. The standalone VR headsets can be used with more than “45 activity-based modules” for training Walmart associates in “new technology, soft skills like empathy and customer service, and compliance.”

    Walmart kicked off its program with STRIVR last year after the startup showed early adoption with athletic training through scenes captured from the real world and shown in a VR headset. A quarterback could get extra play repetitions without leaving the house and a skier could train for the Olympics without needing to be on the mountain.

    With Walmart, the company pilot tested this summer training associates how to load the new “Pickup Tower” which allows customers to pick up online orders without interacting with another human being.

    “VR is allowing associates to be trained before the towers are even installed – no teachers required,” a Walmart blog post reads. VR is said to boost “confidence and retention while improving test scores 10 to 15 percent,” according to Walmart’s Andy Trainor, who directs training.

    The latest effort could introduce 1 million Walmart store workers to standalone virtual reality powered by Facebook. The 17,000 headsets, at roughly $200 each, is an investment of less than $3.5 million in hardware plus STRIVR’s training program. That isn’t exactly a large expense for an operation of Walmart’s scale, so if this project is successful we might see other companies following suit.

    And if employees actually enjoy the training via VR headset? Facebook just showed workers at the largest employer and retailer in the United States why one might want to buy an Oculus VR headset. Come 2019 when a different class of standalone arrives capable of playing must-have games like Beat Saber and Superhot, Walmart might have a lot of employees ready to speak to customers from personal experience.

    That’s certainly one way to get one billion people into VR I hadn’t considered before.

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  • Start-Up Firm Illumix Reveals Technology for Dynamic AR Videogames Silicon Valley start-up company announces AR technology that dynamically reacts to user environment.
  • Oxford VR Secure £3.2 Million In Funding To Bring Clinically Validated VR Treatments To Market The spinout of the University of Oxford will use the funding to bolster growth.
  • UK Competition for Immersive Content By UK Organisations Launching Soon UK organisations have a chance to apply for a share in up to £8m of funding thanks to a competition by Innovate UK.
  • Zurich-based WayRay Receives $80 Million From Porsche, Alibaba, More, To Bring AR To Automobile Industry More investment, this time even more significant.
  • Pixar Magic: How Magnopus Brought The Wonder Of Coco To Life In VR
    Pixar Magic: How Magnopus Brought The Wonder Of Coco To Life In VR

    “Pixar originally didn’t want to do the project because they didn’t think we could hit the quality bar that they found acceptable,” said Ben Grossman, Co-Founder of Magnopus. “We had to prove ourselves.”

    And they did just that. Magnopus is a visual effect and experience company founded by people that have decades of experience, awards, and creativity. The Google meta description for their website explains that they aim to “tell stories without borders” and the “What” page of the site states that they’re “creating the impossible by any means necessary.”

    What better way to do that than with the immersive power of virtual reality?

    Greatest Work

    “All new employees at Magnopus are told that, regardless of the problem or how new they are, that they have the power to raise their hand and say that something isn’t good enough,” said Grossman.

    From what I’ve heard in talking to people from Disney and Pixar, that’s very much along the lines of the same ideas those companies preach. Walt Disney himself once famously said, “Whatever you do, do it well,” and that feels like it’s ingrained into the DNA of not only Pixar and Disney as companies, but Magnopus as well. They may not be the household name that Pixar is, but it doesn’t mean that their work isn’t of award-worthy quality already.

    In fact, Magnopus has already earned three different Emmy award nominations for its projects in the VR arena (Mission: ISS, Blade Runner 2049: Memory Lab, and Coco VR) and it’s only a matter of time before one of them takes home the prize.

    “Our secret sauce is all the projects that you haven’t seen,” said Alex Henning, another Co-Founder of Magnopus in an interview. “Being willing to iterate a lot and to try a lot of things early, to fail fast as it were and build up our knowledge as quickly as possible by tackling real world challenges.”

    During our chat Grossman told me that “Magnopus” is a portmanteau of the Latin words for “greatest work” (Magnum Opus) and they’ve built their entire company around that mantra. And they’re focusing so heavily on VR because they see it as the future of entertainment — at least until something better comes along.

    “We want to take people beyond the movie theater,” said Grossman. “We founded Magnopus right around when Oculus was getting out of Kickstarter and started out very quietly. We’ve stayed quiet. All the time people spend talking at conferences is time not spent actually pushing things forward. You could just go build it.”

    Each of Magnopus’ three major VR projects to date (listed above) have been about not just replicating things you can see elsewhere, but rather putting you inside of an experience that transports you. Instead of re-enacting or watching a scene from the recent Blade Runner film, the Memory Lab experience gives you total freedom. Instead of walking through the land of the dead as Coco, you actually become one of the skeletons with full customization in a multiplayer sandbox environment. And Mission: ISS

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