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VR Digest: AMC invests in out-of-home VR

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VR Digest: A VR newsletter brought to you by Studio Transcendent
written by John Dewar (@jstarrdewar) Issue 139 – September 28, 2017

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

AMC Invests in Out-of-Home VR

The New York Times reports that AMC has made a $20 million investment in Culver City, California based Dreamscape Immersive. We previously mentioned Dreamscape when they announced $11 million in new capital back in February with funding from a group of partners that included mall operator Westfield and Steven Spielberg. The company was based on the work of an earlier startup called Artanim, which had shown off multiuser VR experiences with motion tracked props at trade shows like Siggraph. Dreamscape has raised $40 million so far.

Dreamscape plans to open their flagship location at Westfield Century City in the first quarter of next year. Until recently, Westfield Century City was actually our local mall, a fairly modest open air design notable mainly for its excellent food court. Westfield recently poured $1 billion into the property transforming it into a stunningly beautiful and almost unbearably swanky shopping mecca more befitting of its proximity to Beverly Hills. Unsurprisingly, the complex also includes an AMC theater.

Dreamscape hopes AMC’s cash infusion will help them expand to as many as six more locations within the next 18 months (it bears noting that the flagship location was originally scheduled to open this month, so delays would not be surprising). The locations will be inside AMC theaters or in nearby locations.
 

Bits:

Google’s latest mobile browser, Chrome 61, offers Daydream VR users the ability to browse websites while in VR and seamlessly switch into virtual reality experiences powered by WebVR.  François Beaufort of the Chrome team says users can “view and interact with any website in VR, follow links between pages, and move between 2D and immersive viewing for sites that support WebVR.” Road to VR

The Pimax 5K VR headset Kickstarter has raised over $1.1 million in funding so far. Meanwhile, Oliver Kreylos (a.k.a. “Doc OK”) posted an article about why they and similar headset designs have been struggling with correcting geometric distortion. It appears that support for a fix may have been added to SteamVR recently.

Samsung may be on the verge of releasing a Windows Mixed Reality VR headset according to product images leaked on Twitter. The design includes integrated headphones, and hopefully Samsung will also provide an OLED screen. Either feature would make it the clear front runner in the Windows headset game. Road to VR

Leonardo DiCaprio recently invested in Swiss startup MindMaze. The company has created MASK, a software and hardware solution that predicts the user’s facial expressions and projects them onto an avatar. The company’s technology isn’t just for VR—it’s working with hospitals to help stroke victims regain movement. UploadVR

Launching this November, the Zed Mini from Stereolabs is a depth camera with video pass-through that enables a Rift or Vive to serve as an augmented reality device complete with environment mapping. The demo video is quite impressive. Latency will be the deciding factor of how awesome it is in use. Road to VR had a chance to try it at VRDC.

SteamVR Home beta received an upgrade that includes more realistic spatial audio as well as a variety of options to personalize your space. There is also a new boxing ring with exercise minigames that looks like a lot of fun and shows what is possible with the latest creation tools that Valve is providing. Three new tutorials are available to help modders get started building their own Home environments. Road to VR

During a panel discussion at the Tokyo Game Show, Palmer Luckey said he was still working on exciting VR projects but was branching out after his departure from Oculus. “Don’t think of me as an Oculus person. Just think of me as a VR person. Everything. Sony, HTC, other companies. Everything.” He also made a surprise appearance on another panel on virtual reality pornography, wearing nothing but a bikini (warning: link contains photo of Palmer in bikini). Road to VR

After an epic five year effort, a team of three developers have completed exploration puzzle game Xing: The Land Beyond, with support for Rift, Vive and PSVR. The team began work on the project while students at Chapman University and ran a successful, if modest, Kickstarter in 2013. It’s been a long wait, but congratulations are in order; the personal dedication needed to pull off a project like that is pretty amazing.

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

 
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