New Ready Player One Trailer
The first full-length trailer for Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Ready Player One came out this week, revealing more of the movie’s story. It also shows what the avatars look like in much more detail. Interestingly, Spielberg has chosen to make the avatars non-photoreal, leaving them teetering on the cartoon ridge of the uncanny valley (like Tintin). This likely was key in clearly demarcating the VR and real-world action as it is cross-cut, but it departs somewhat from the book, which never really addresses the issue of avatar realism. It could also throw audiences for a loop, as 75% of the purportedly live action film will end up being fully animated.
Regardless, the film’s March 30 release date represents a huge opportunity for the VR industry to capitalize on the attention a major Spielberg action film will bring to VR worldwide.
The book’s author Ernie Cline also let slip that he is working on a sequel.
Vive Focus Hands-On
Engadget has a hands on video with the final version of the Vive Focus standalone VR headset. The device is only available in China and costs $600—a hefty sum, especially in China. Unlike Oculus’ Santa Cruz prototype, the Vive Focus makes do with a 3DoF (rotation only) controller, but its inside out 6DoF (rotation + position) headtracking is reported to be quite solid, with reviewer Richard Lai successfully attempting some cartwheels. We know that a 6DoF HMD paired with a remote enables some interesting experiences; after all, the Oculus Rift launched in that configuration. However, it doesn’t hold a candle to what is possible with real hand controllers, and it is doubtful consumers would find it to be worth the $400 price premium over the 3DoF Oculus Go if they were competing in the same market.
ARCore Lenses Launch with Star Wars Content
Google launched their ARCore-powered AR camera mode with a whole bunch of Star Wars-themed “stickers”. The “stickers” are animated 3D models that can be placed in the real world, and include Storm Troopers, BB-8, and even an AT-AT walker.
Sony announced that it had sold 2 million PSVR systems—and 70 million PS4s.