VR Digest: Valve confirms VR game;
Oculus is in court

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VR Digest: A VR newsletter brought to you by Studio Transcendent
written by Ian Hamilton (@hmltn) issue 103 – January 18, 2017

VR Digest: A Virtual Reality newsletter brought to you by Studio Transcendent

Hi Friends,

It was a quiet week in Lake Wobegon as everyone nursed their CES hangover, but some exciting developments came along anyway, with Gabe Newell’s AMA and the Oculus versus Zenimax trial kicking off. Enjoy!

Aaron, John, Ian, Bowdy, and Elissa
at Studio Transcendent

Valve is developing VR games alongside hardware

Valve’s co-founder Gabe Newell answered questions on Reddit. In response to a question about the future direction of the company, Newell wrote “the big thing right now is broadening the range of options we have in creating experiences. We think investing in hardware will give us those options. The knuckles controller is being designed at the same time as we’re designing our own VR games.” The controller Newell refers to was originally shown at Steam Dev Days late last year and allowed for realistic grasping interactions in virtual reality.

Also, in a late comment on the thread Valve programmer Joe Ludwig provided updates on the SteamVR Tracking ecosystem, saying 500 companies have signed up to use the technology for various products, including additional head-mounted displays beyond the HTC Vive.

Mark Zuckerberg answers questions in ZeniMax case

Oculus CTO John Carmack, formerly of ZeniMax-owned Id Software, answered questions last week while Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey offered testimony this week. The New York Times’ summary of Zuckerberg’s testimony offers a good overview, with Oculus defending itself over accusations by ZeniMax of intellectual property theft.

“I don’t think that good virtual reality is fully there yet,” Zuckerberg said. “It’s going to take five or 10 more years of development before we get to where we all want to go.”

The case is expected to continue today, with Luckey answering more questions.


Startup EnvelopVR closed its doors with an unceremonious note on its website, stating simply “EnvelopVR has closed.” The startup received $4 million investment in late 2015 and was developing software that brought your Windows desktop into VR. Microsoft is doing that with its Windows Holographic initiative, while other apps like BigScreen already offer much of what EnvelopVR promised. A post on Medium by Marcello E. Miranda suggests more VR startups are about to die, but investors should “relax” because it is inevitable and not unusual in the early days of a new platform.

A 15-minute video outlines the “Freedom” locomotion system promising an immersive method of getting around in VR. A downloadable demo is available for the Vive.

Variety reported that Fox Innovation Lab is working on a Planet of the Apes VR title.

Road to VR reviewed the Huawei Daydream-compatible headset for their Mate 9 phone.

UploadVR got more details (including a video full of eye candy) on OTOY’s Octane Render announcements from Unite 2016 about their forthcoming Unity-integrated renderer.

A Kickstarter campaign was launched for the $85 rEvolve custom headstrap for the HTC Vive that adds a PSVR style head strap and a flip-up visor function to the HMD.

VR Digest™ is a Virtual Reality Newsletter brought to you by Studio Transcendent, a producer of premium Virtual Reality experiences. We publish weekly on Wednesdays.

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