• Report: Facebook’s Upcoming AR Glasses Much Less Bulky Than Hololens Or Magic Leap
    michael abrash ar vr oculus connect 5

    Business Insider is reporting that a source has tried on a prototype of the AR glasses under development at Facebook. The source claims the prototype “resembled traditional glasses much more closely than the bulky AR headsets offered by Microsoft (the HoloLens) or Magic Leap.”

    “They look like really high-end glasses,” the source said, adding “it’s light enough to not feel heavy on your face, and it wasn’t light enough to feel like you could just sit down and break them.”

    A New AR Product Team

    The report notes that “hundreds” of employees were moved from Facebook Reality Labs (formerly Oculus Research) to a new team focused on delivering AR products. The team is jointly lead by Michael Abrash and Andrew ‘Boz’ Bosworth. Abrash will continue to also lead Facebook Reality Labs as Chief Scientist.

    Facebook told Business Insider the decision was made to move AR hardware development “out of research, now that we are closer to shipping”.

    The publication’s source claimed that the release was pushed from 2020 to 2022, however Facebook denied this, stating “We have an exciting AR road map that includes multiple products, so your intel on release dates is wrong”.

    It’s unclear whether the reference to “multiple” products means a tiered product lineup (like Go and Quest in the VR market) or simply successor products.

    Facebook’s Past Comments

    Since the acquisition of Oculus in 2014, Mark Zuckerberg has hinted at wanting to launch AR hardware in the far future.

    In 2016 the CEO told The Verge that AR would “maybe” be where VR is in “5 or 10 years”, but confirmed that Oculus was researching VR.

    Zuckerberg was more specific in a 2017 interview with Recode, stating:

    “I think everyone would basically agree that we do not have the science or technology today to build the AR glasses that we want. We may in five years, or seven years, or something like that. But we’re not likely to be able to deliver the experience that we want right now.”

    In October of last year Facebook’s Head of AR Fiscus Kirkpatrick directly confirmed the company was working on AR glasses in an interview with TechCrunch.

    Oculus Connect 5

    At Oculus Connect 5 in October of last year, Chief Scientist Michael Abrash gave a detailde presentation on his views of the future prospects of AR and VR. During this talk, Abrash revealed that Facebook’s investment in AR research had “ramped up a great deal” in the past two years.

    Abrash stated that since no off the shelf display technology was good enough for AR, the company had to develop “a new display system”.

    Abrash gave some specific details of what the company was targetting in terms of form factor- no more than 70 grams weight and dissappating no more than 500 milliwatts. For comparison, Magic Leap One weighs over 300 grams. Like Magic Leap, Abrash stated that the glasses would need to require a companion device for processing- “either a smartphone or puck”.

    Tagged with: AR glasses, augmented reality, facebook, Facebook Reality Labs, oculus

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  • Ace Combat 7 VR Livestream: Playing PSVR Exclusive Missions
    Ace Combat 7 VR Livestream: Playing PSVR Exclusive Missions

    Ace Combat 7 is now out! We loved the VR content that's exclusive to PSVR, even if it is way too short. Join us in the skies!

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  • The Weather Channel Continues Its Embrace Of Mixed Reality Technology

    TWC releases another educational MR demonstration ahead of Storm Harper. When The Weather Channel debuted its IMR technology back in June of 2018, the organization introduced the industry to a brand new form of educational broadcasting. Working with mixed reality specialists, The Future Group, TWC immersed its on-air reporters into an intense MR simulation highlighting

    The post The Weather Channel Continues Its Embrace Of Mixed Reality Technology appeared first on VRScout.

  • The Biggest VR Releases Of The Week 13/01/19
    The Biggest VR Releases Of The Week 13/01/19

    Quality always trumps quantity, and that’s very much the theme of this week. There’s not a lot of new releases, but what’s there is worth checking out. And, going a step further, Ace Combat 7 shows that even short VR experiences can still be must-plays!

    Last week’s releases are here but don’t miss what’s to come with our January 2019 list, either.

    Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown, from Project Aces
    Price: $59.99 (PSVR)

    This week’s biggest release has to be the VR mode for Ace Combat 7. Though it’s sadly not the full campaign, this PSVR-exclusive campaign is still a must-play. It lets you jump into the cockpit of an elite fighter jet and soar through the skies. It’s brief but the intensity of the action on display is unlike anything else we’ll see inside the headset. If you have an interest in the standard game too you should definitely pick this up.

    Microsoft Maquette Beta, from Microsoft
    Price: Free (Rift, Vive, Windows VR)

    This is Microsoft’s contribution to the 3D creation space. Maquette is a tool designed to make scenes and experiences. It allows you to quickly prototype ideas for interfaces and more, giving it a very different angle to the likes of Tilt Brush and Medium. It’s only in beta for now but we’ll be excited to see how this grows in time.

    Trickster VR: Co-op Dungeon Crawler, from Trickster Games
    Price: $14.99 (Rift, Vive, Windows VR)

    Trickster’s full version is finally here. There wasn’t a big song and dance made about the game’s departure from Early Access. Still, this is one of VR’s best dungeon crawlers so it’s worth a note. Slice and dice your way through procedurally generated dungeons and grab loot to take on more powerful enemies. Need we say more?

    Tagged with: ace combat 7, htc vive, oculus rift, PSVR, VR releases

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  • Disruptive Games Working on a Trial Version of PlayStation VR Moba Megalith There's no release date just yet.
  • Hands-on: The VOID Goes all Creepy With Nicodemus: Demon of Evanishment Superbly atmospheric, just needs to be scarier.
  • Ace Combat 7’s VR Missions May Come To PC Headsets In 2020
    Ace Combat 7’s VR Missions May Come To PC Headsets In 2020

    Ace Combat 7's VR content on PSVR is excellent (if extremely short) and it may come to other headsets next year.

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  • 3dRudder Discuss Bringing Foot Control to PlayStation VR at CES 2019 The controller is due to launch in April.
  • Soul Scathe Offers Dark Souls-Esque VR Dungeon Crawling
    Soul Scathe VR Dungeon Crawling

    We’re getting a little spoiled in the fantasy genre right now. Shadow Legend and SoulKeeper 2.0 both look like great VR RPGs. But the newly-announced Soul Scathe is a decidedly darker take on the genre.

    Developed by Blueberry Bandit, Soul Scathe is coming soon to Rift and Vive. It’s a dungeon crawler that uses procedural generation. You play as a resurrected battlemage that fends off enemies with melee weapons and magic attacks.

    We haven’t played the game ourselves but the trailer above gives us a welcome Dark Souls vibe. Environments are dank and dingy and enemy design is suitably morbid. But what’s most impressive is the seeming level of interaction with the game world. At one point a player knocks out a support beam, sending barrels tumbling downstairs to knock out enemies. In another instance, an enemy helmet is knocked clean off before he can be dismembered.

    Spells, meanwhile, seem to include your usual assortment of elemental attacks. Ice spells can freeze enemies or cause them to trip, thunder can rain down from above and you can turn your hands into flamethrowers.

    But Blueberry says you’ll be able to combine types to conjure new abilities. Plus there’s a move that looks a lot like telekinesis that allows you to manipulate traps and objects. With these varied elements combined we’re hoping the game will have a deep and engaging battle system.

    Look for Soul Scathe to launch on Steam in Q1 2019 (that’s now!) It’ll support both Rift and Vive, but an Oculus Store release will come later on.

    Tagged with: Soul Scathe, VR dungeon crawler

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  • Brainseed Factory’s PlayStation VR Puzzler Squishies Gets Physical This Spring Just for European stores to start with.
  • PSVR MOBA Megalith Getting Free Trial, Changes To DLC Soon
    megalith demo MOBA PSVR

    Last week saw the launch of Megalith on PSVR. The first-person shooter (FPS) looks like a polished stab at the VR multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA). That said we’ve already seen some concerns expressed about empty lobbies and DLC. Developer Disruptive Games is looking to fix that.

    Taking to Reddit, the studio announced that Megalith will soon get two new features. The first is a free trial for the game. It will allow anyone to jump into the experience and start playing with full game owners. The only difference is that demo players won’t have access to all of the game’s playable characters, named Titans. They’ll need to purchase the game to unlock everyone. Still, this could be a good way to fill up lobbies and get people into matches faster.

    An exact date for the demo hasn’t been announced.

    Next up is DLC. Megalith launched with one piece of DLC already. It offered a new Titan, but you had to pay for it. In the future, though, Disruptive Games will be adding an update that allows players to spend in-game currency on new characters. You’ll still be able to buy them outright to avoid the grind but more determined players can put the work in to get them at no extra cost.

    “We believe these upcoming changes will help reward players for their time investment as well open the gates for new players to experience Megalith,” the developer wrote. “The ability to earn Thorn and Shade via earned currency will be released soon after the trial is deployed.”

    Do these changes get you excited about the future of Megalith?

    Tagged with: free trial, Megalith, moba, PSVR

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  • Watch a Special Hikaru Utada Performance of Kingdom Hearts III’s Theme on PlayStation VR The Japanese vocalist will perform two songs which you can watch for free.
  • Meta Company’s Meron Gribetz Recounts Path From TED Talk To Bank Sale
    Meta Company’s Meron Gribetz Recounts Path From TED Talk To Bank Sale

    I spoke by phone this week with Meron Gribetz, the founder of Meta Company and its AR ambitions, and heard his explanation of what happened to the startup as it ran out of money over the last nine months.

    In case you are unfamiliar, Meta raised around $75 million, according to Crunchbase, with its largest $50 million Series B round announced a few months after Gribetz appeared in a TED talk in 2016 promoting the company’s Meta 2 AR headset and his concepts around human-computer interfaces.

    Here’s how that TED talk came together, according to Stuart McFaul, the same marketing representative who worked with Gribetz to arrange a call with me this week:


    Meta was an unknown AR company competing against Microsoft’s Hololens and Google-funded Magic Leap. Meta was preparing to launch their newest product after nearly a year delay and were without a marketing lead.


    Spiralgroup president Stuart McFaul stepped in as acting marketing VP. He led his tailored team on every aspect of launch events including all PR, social media, communications and advertising, along with presentation development and training. Helping to broker an on-stage debut at the 2016 TED Conference, the TED premiere received enthusiastic social media buzz, which Spiralgroup leveraged before launch. We negotiated a two-week “embargo window,” allowing Meta to fully brief dozens of top-tier media.


    Meta’s launch received universally glowing reviews and established the company as a technology leader and darling in a space dominated by the “big guys.” Launch press alone generated over 200 million impressions worldwide, reflecting a 16x ROI for Meta’s original marketing investment at the time. Coverage has gone on to reach over 21 billion impressions.

    Last year, it became apparent Meta was in trouble after a long period of silence.

    Bloomberg reported in September that Gribetz furloughed employees after, he said, “The Chinese government sent an official request to our lead investor to re-evaluate the deal based on the recent actions from the Trump administration.”

    Gribetz was unable to raise more money and a letter submitted last week in a patent infringement suit against the company revealed “Meta Company is insolvent.”

    “The final step was that the bank which held our secured debt called the loan and sold the assets in a UCC sale to a private investor that I told you doesn’t want to be named right now,” Gribetz said on the call.

    At its peak, Meta Company employed somewhere around 130 to 150 people, according to Gribetz. He declined to reveal key information including who bought the company, when the buyer might be revealed or how many Meta 2 headsets have been sold.

    He did, however, answer some other questions.

    Below is a transcript of the first section of my talk with Gribetz by phone. To save you time, though, I’ve also bolded the comments I found most interesting.

    Meron Gribetz: Can you hear me?

    Ian Hamilton: Yeah I can hear you.

    Gribetz. OK. Perfect. Thank you. Alright. So. I’m at your disposal, let me know, you know, what answers I can

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  • Review: Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown – VR Missions A thrilling, short-lived VR experience.
  • Ace Combat 7 With A Thrustmaster Flight Stick Is A PSVR Essential
    Thurstmaster HOTAS 4 Ace Combat 7 Edition PSVR flight stick

    So, you may have seen me raving about Ace Combat 7’s PSVR support already. It’s an explosive thrill-ride let down only by its short length. But that’s not the end of the story. You can also play the VR campaign with a Thrustmaster HOTAS 4 flight stick. I did just that and found one of PSVR’s most essential experiences.

    Thrustmaster’s controller provides a transformative change here. It’s got all the bells and whistles including a flight stick with a full range of movement and a throttle for acceleration. There’s also a dual rudder system to help with turning and an army of buttons and triggers to replace your DualShock 4. The main components also detach, so I was able to mimic the setup seen in my virtual cockpit pretty easily.

    As something of a flying game newbie, it took me a little while to adjust to the controls, though this was true playing on DualShock too. There is intuition here but you’ll have to put the work in to find it.

    Once you’re all settled in, though, there’s nothing quite like this on PSVR. The HOTAS 4 allows you to slip into character just a little more, biting your lip and cursing under your breath as you wrestle with the stick to line up a good shot. There’s heft and physicality to every move you make, from the sudden loops you’ll throw yourself into to keep track of an enemy to the flurry of corkscrews you’ll execute when a missile locks on. It’s the last-moment dodges and spills that are the most exciting, like emerging from the clouds and having to suddenly jam the stick back in hopes of narrowly missing a mountain range.

    Combat feels great, too. Machine guns are largely ineffective but pulling the trigger to fire feels so good you’ll use them all the time. Spamming the missile button as you wait for them to reload only adds to the tension. Put simply, I was having so much fun playing the game this way I was going back to replay missions. Superhot is the only other VR game I’ve done that with so far.

    Though the form factor is mostly perfect the somewhat toy-ish feel of the plastic cover can be jarring. It’s strange to find yourself in a multi-billion dollar jet and wrap your hands around a plastic shell.

    Of course, the real kicker is the price. The $59.99 price tag for the game alone is steep to justify 30 – 90 minutes of VR gameplay. Adding another $69.99 on top of that for the stick is tough to recommend. It’ll all come down to personal preference; if you think you might play the rest of the game with the stick then it’s absolutely worth it. Plus you can play other PSVR games like Ultrawings, EVE: Valkyrie and Starblood Arena. It’s also PC compatible so Rift and Vive owners can get some mileage out of it too.

    There is reason to splash out, then. With the addition of Ace Combat 7, the Thrustmaster

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