• CES 2019: NVIDIA Partnering With HTC On VirtualLink And Foveated Rendering
    nvidia htc partnership

    At the NVIDIA CES 2019 conference, the company announced a special partnership with HTC on two key VR technologies: VirtualLink and foveated rendering.

    VirtualLink is the new USB-C single cable standard for future PC VR headsets and GPUs. Promisingly, it’s backed by Oculus, Valve, Microsoft, HTC, NVIDIA, and AMD. The standard is intended to simplify the setup process of PC VR and allow laptops to easily support VR.

    Foveated rendering is a process which renders most of the view of a VR headset at lower resolution except for the exact area where the user’s eye is pointed, which is detected with eye tracking. That area in front of the eye — where humans perceive the greatest detail — is rendered at a significantly higher resolution. Foveated rendering is considered crucial for future advancement of VR as it allows for higher resolutions without impossible GPU requirements.

    It’s unclear exactly how the two companies are cooperating in these areas, but it seems likely to be related to research & development. Key to making foveated rendering work is finding a way to render at multiple resolutions efficiently. NVIDIA explained that its GPUs have hardware acceleration for this process, which could reduce any overhead.

    NVIDIA ended this announcement by recommending tuning in to HTC’s special press event. The event will take place at 1PM PST (21:00 UTC). It certainly sounds like HTC could be revealing a PC VR headset with a VirtualLink cable- and perhaps even with foveated rendering. We’re attending HTC’s event and will report what they announce.

    Tagged with: htc vive, HTC Vive Cosmos, nvidia

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  • CES 2019: NVIDIA CEO Says Four Million PC VR Headsets Sold
    CES 2019: NVIDIA CEO Says Four Million PC VR Headsets Sold

    During the NVIDIA CES 2019 press conference CEO Jensen Huang was on stage to reveal that four million PC VR headsets have been sold thus far.

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  • Xbox VP: VR Games ‘Not Even Close To Making Tech Worthwhile’
    Xbox VP: VR Games ‘Not Even Close To Making Tech Worthwhile’

    Mike Ybarra, Vice President of Xbox at Microsoft, doesn’t sound very impressed with VR software.

    The much became evident via a conversation with Cliff Bleszinski on Twitter last week. Replying to a tweet from the Gears of War developer asking if VR had any killer apps yet, Ybarra said there wasn’t anything that made it “worthwhile. Sigh.”

    Well, there’s that. Maybe the ‘sigh’ was a bit much.

    No. Google Earth is cool but not even close to what is needed to make the tech worthwhile. Sigh.

    — ⌨️🖱Mike Ybarra🎮 (@XboxQwik) January 2, 2019

    Xbox has thus far remained on the sidelines of the VR industry. Sony has PSVR for its competing PS4 console and Microsoft itself has a line of headsets for PC. The enhanced Xbox One X was introduced to the world as a VR-ready console, but support never materialized. Last year, reports suggested Microsoft had put plans for a headset on ice. Ybarra’s comments may reveal one reason why the company pulled that plug. Other statements surrounding VR on Xbox suggest that the company is waiting for VR to go truly wireless, too.

    Do you agree with Ybarra’s comments? It’s true that VR is yet to see an app that really boosts headset sales, but there are plenty of great VR games out there. In fact we think there’s at least 100 that are worth playing.

    Still, Xbox acquired two developers that have done great work in VR last year. The first was Ninja Theory, makers of Dexed and Hellblade VR. It also scooped up inXile, which is soon to port The Mage’s Tale to PSVR and is working on another title. Hopefully that means Microsoft is working on a VR killer app to call its own for the next Xbox. We think Microsoft is well-poised to do so.

    Tagged with: microsoft, VR games, xbox, Xbox VR

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  • CES 2019: GeForce RTX Laptops Can Support USB-C VirtualLink
    geforce RTX laptops

    In the same presentation where NVIDIA announced the RTX 2060, the company also announced laptops with the GeForce RTX chips.

    ’40+’ models of laptops from ‘all major OEMs’ are inbound, with the launch date slated for January 19th. Each will sport either an RTX 2060, RTX 2070, or RTX 2080.

    NVIDIA told us the mobile RTX chips support VirtualLink, but it’s up to each laptop OEM whether to actually add a port supporting it. VirtualLink is the new USB-C single cable standard for future PC VR headsets. It’s backed by Oculus, Valve, Microsoft, HTC and more. The only graphics cards supporting it so far have been the desktop RTX cards. This announcement will bring it to laptops.

    VirtualLink stands to make laptop VR much more convenient. Today VR-ready laptops have to incorporate a full size HDMI port as well as having a free USB port. The new USB-C standard will serve the purpose of both, in a port more compact than either. If the ports are marked with the standard’s logo it would also be an easy way for consumers to verify their laptop’s compatibility with VR.

    The improved performance and efficiency should also enable more portable designs than the current (typically bulky) offerings. NVIDIA claims the laptops will be the “fastest, thinnest, lightest ever”. Specifically, some will be thinner than 20mm.

    NVIDIA stated that laptops are the fastest growing gaming platform. No pricing for models with VirtualLink have yet been announced. But if the prices are right and affordable VirtualLink headsets also launch this year, these RTX laptops could bring in an entirely new wave users into PC VR.

    Tagged with: nvidia, RTX

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  • Pimax Apologizes For 8K Delays, Intends To Ship To All Backers By Month’s End
    Pimax Apologizes For 8K Delays, Intends To Ship To All Backers By Month’s End

    Chinese VR company Pimax is looking to begin the year with a clean slate, starting with an apology for Pimax 8K delays.

    Just ahead of this week’s CES event in Las Vegas, Pimax took to its forums to apologize to its Kickstarter campaign backers. In 2017 the company raised $4,236,618 to manufacture a high-end VR headset with an 8K resolution. Pimax initially said headsets would ship in May 2018. Numerous delays stopped that from happening. Some backers pledged as much as $10,000 to get multiple headsets. The company’s silence on the matter has made some backers restless.

    “We are extremely sorry for the delays with Kickstarter campaign,” the team wrote in a forum post. “Please accept our sincere apologies for being overly optimistic and providing only sporadic official communications.”

    Moving on, Pimax explained that it had produced a total of 4,650 headsets thus far, but managing to ship out 2,027 units to backers. One of the main reasons for the delay is due to raised quality standards following feedback from initial backer reports.

    “We know that our backers and customers have high expectations for quality products so we instituted a series of new systems to both insure  the best quality but also for QA reports to properly flow to the production and assembly teams for adjustments to reduce the incidence of any issues that are discovered,” the post reads.

    Pimax also cited issues with packaging materials and customer service as other reasons for the delay.

    Going forward, the company pledges to be more transparent with its shipping. It also wants to expand its QA team to be able to test a total of 280 headsets per day.

    So, when will you get your headset? The company hopes to complete production in mid-January and finishing shipping “by the end of this month.”

    We’ll see Pimax at CES this week so we’ll look to update you further asap.

    Tagged with: 8k, kickstarter, pimax, Pimax 8K

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  • Pre-orders Open for the $15K Insta360 Titan VR Cinema Camera The camera features 11K resolution from eight lenses.
  • CES 2019: HTC Vive CES Press Conference – How To Follow And What To Expect
    HTC Vive CES Press Conference 2019 vive Pro

    CES is the first big event of the year for VR fans. We’re not too sure what to expect from this year’s show but you can be sure that there’ll be news at the HTC Vive CES press conference today.

    HTC’s latest showcase will kick off at 1pm PT in Vegas today. In the past the company hasn’t streamed its shows and we wouldn’t expect this to be any different. We will, however, be on-site to bring you the latest updates. Expect breaking headlines from our home page, hopefully followed up with some hands-on time with new kit.

    Last year’s press conference saw HTC announce its Vive Pro headset. We’re hoping for some equally big announcements in 2019. HTC is certainly teasing some kind of exciting reveal, but what is it?

    The truck is loaded and we’re excited be on our way to #CES2019. The cases are packed with some new gear we can’t wait to unbox for you. Keep tuned to @htcvive social media during CES for announcements, news and daily coverage. #HTCVIVE #VIVEPORT

    — HTC VIVE (@htcvive) January 3, 2019

    Vive Gl…something

    In the image above you can see a blurred logo, though the letters seem to resemble at least a G and an L. Some people say this might mean ‘Vive Gloves’, suggesting HTC is working on gloves for VR input. My personal favorite suggestion is ‘Vive Glados’ for a new VR Portal game but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that.

    Vive Cosmos

    The more common theory is that this pertains to the ‘Vive Cosmos’ trademark the company filed last year. HTC may well have altered the lettering in the image as a red herring. We have plenty of ideas about what Cosmo could be. It might be a new PC VR headset using inside-out tracking. Or it could be HTC’s consumer-level standalone headset to compete with Oculus Quest. Or it could be something entirely different and we’re getting too carried away just thinking about it.

    Third Party Hardware

    HTC has gradually begun positioning itself as a VR service provider as much as it is a hardware maker. Its new Vive Wave OS is being used in a handful of third-party VR headsets already. We wouldn’t be surprised to see more announcements of this kind today.

    New Software

    It’s not all about hardware, of course. Last year at the HTC Vive CES press conference the company revamped its Viveport digital store with a VR interface. Viveport was a big focus for HTC in 2018 and we’d expect to see more improvements in 2019. We’d also like to hear about what’s new from Vive Studios.

    Tagged with: CES, htc vive, HTC Vive Cosmos, HTC Vive Pro, press conference

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  • VRHealth to Make its Medical Platform Available for use at Home Patients will be able to use Oculus Go to send data to doctors.
  • CES 2019: Nvidia RTX 2060 Is VR-Ready With VirtualLink For $349
    Nvidia RTX 2060 VirtualLnik

    Nvidia just kicked off CES 2019 with the reveal of its latest GPU, the RTX 2060 VR-ready card.

    As the name suggests, this is the lower-end entry into the new 2000 line of graphics cards. But it’s no slouch; the card boasts 6GB of GDDR6 RAM and also enables real-time ray tracing. That’s the fancy new feature that provides more realistic lighting in games like Battlefield V. On stage at the show, CEO Jensen Huang noted that the card was even faster than last generation’s mid-range offering, the 1070 Ti. Of course, that all means that the card is ready and waiting for VR headsets and all at the welcome price of $349.

    And, yes, the card comes with a VirtualLink port. That’s essentially a USB-C port intended for use with next-generation PC VR headsets for faster, more accessible connection. The other RTX cards also feature this port, so its inclusion isn’t a big surprise.

    That’s not all from Nvidia’s show, though. The company also introduced a new line of RTX laptops. This consists of over 40 different models that house RTX cards. Again, we’d expect these to be capable of running PC VR headsets given that last generation’s laptops could.

    On a final note, Huang also added that there have been four million VR-ready headsets sold “in the past several years.” He didn’t specify metrics for that milestone (we don’t know if he was including PCs with AMD hardware, for example). Huang also mentioned that there were now over 3,800 VR games on Steam.

    With the Nvidia RTX 2060’s introduction, we have what is probably going to be Nvidia’s full consumer-level GPU line for the next few years. Which 2000 card do you plan on getting, if any?

    Tagged with: CES, nvidia, pc vr, RTX 2060, VirtualLink

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  • 4 Million PC VR Headsets Sold Claims NVIDIA Not a bad figure if accurate.
  • NVIDIA Announces the new Geforce RTX 2060 It'll be out next week.
  • Oculus Rift Price Seemingly Cut In UK & Canada, Now £349 / C$449
    Oculus Rift Price Seemingly Cut In UK & Canada, Now £349 / C$449

    If you’re in the UK or Canada, the Oculus Rift seemingly just got cheaper. The price is now listed as £349 in the UK and C$449 in Canada Oculus website. Previously the price was £399 / $529.

    The price is not listed anywhere as a sale and no other countries are reduced, leading us to believe that this is a permanent price cut. However, Facebook hasn’t made an official statement calling it as such. It’s possible this is just a listing error or unmarked sale.

    Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time the Rift’s price has been cut. The headset (with an Xbox controller for input) went on sale in early 2016 for £599, with the Touch controllers launching later that year for £199, making both together £798.

    In March 2017 the headset was reduced to £499 and controllers to £99, making the bundle £598.

    In 2017, the Rift was reduced to £399

    Summer 2017 saw the introduction of the current single box SKU with the headset and controllers for £499, with an introductory sale of £399. The £499 price only lasted for a matter of weeks, however. In October at the Oculus Connect 4 conference the £399 price was made permanent.

    We’ve reached out to Facebook to confirm this isn’t a listing error or unmarked sale. We’ve also asked whether price cuts are planned for other countries. We’ll update this article with their response.

    Tagged with: 2019, facebook, oculus rift, pc vr, price cut

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  • 3dRudder’s Foot Controller to Support PlayStation VR in April The controller will be compatible with 30+ titles at launch.
  • Tetris Effect, Moss, Beat Saber and More up for Game Developers Choice Awards VR titles have seen several honourable mentions in other categories.
  • Facebook Board Member Marc Andreessen: VR Will Be About “1000 Times Bigger” Than AR
    marc andreessen

    Andreessen Horowitz co-founder Marc Andreessen stated that he beleives that VR will be “like 1000 times bigger” than AR. The entreprenuer, who is also a member of Facebook’s board of directors, made the comments on his company’s bi-weekly podcast.

    This is the opposite of the view stated by many tech leaders and visionaries today. As Andreessen put it: “In the Valley right now, this is a very contrarian view.”

    At OC5, Facebook outlined the differences in engineering of AR and VR

    The venture capitalist explained his reasoning by pointing out that most people’s real life surroundings aren’t particuarly interesting, so the appeal of the reality they could live in VR will outweigh the advantage of overlaying content into their real world.

    To be clear, Andreessen isn’t saying AR won’t be compelling. This was a statement in support of VR, not one against AR. The venture capitalist was careful to state that he believed AR “has tons of potential applications, both at work and at home”.

    Full Comments

    “So I’m big believers I think VR is going to be like 1000 times bigger. In the valley right now this is a very contrarian view. Because the general theme you hear in the valley is that AR is going to be bigger than VR, and it seems like obviously AR should be bigger than VR because obviously if you can do things overlaid over the real world, that should be inherently more interesting than having to construct a synthetic world.

    I just think that that’s only true for people who live in a very interesting place in the real world. But only something between like 0.1% and 1% of people on Earth live in a place where they wake up every morning and they’re like ‘Wow, there are so many interesting things to see’. Most people don’t live in a place like that. And so for everybody who doesn’t already live on a college campus or in Silicon Valley or in a major city, the new environments we’re going to be able to create in VR are going to be inherently be much more interesting (than the physical environments). And there’s going to be a lot more of them to choose from, and so it’s going to be amazing.”

    Source: a16z Podcast | Talent, Tech Trends, and Culture

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