Oculus launches ‘Social’ VR app
Facebook’s Oculus launched an early testing release of its “Social” VR app, allowing five people with Gear VR headsets to share a virtual home theater with voice chat and head movements matched in VR while watching a Twitch stream or Vimeo video together. According to Oculus CTO John Carmack, the app was “kicked out to the public in a very raw state” and will be followed “fairly soon” by a “group trivia game”.
Sony previews VR games
Sony’s long term plan to turn the PlayStation 4 console into a top notch VR platform came into focus at Paris Games Week with previews shown for a variety of VR games. A number of titles were shown in a trailer including “The Walk”, “The London Heist”, “Megaton Rainfall” and “Final Fantasy”, with VR modes also planned for racing in “Gran Turismo Sport” (trailer), fighting in “Tekken 7” (trailer), creativity in “Dreams” (trailer), dinosaur encounters in “Robinson: The Journey” (trailer), mech battles in “RIGS” (trailer), tank battles in “Battlezone” (trailer) and horror game “Until Dawn: Rush of Blood” (trailer).
VR-related startups raise millions
Intel Capital led an $8 million round of investment in Manhattan-based 3D body scanning startup Body Labs. Los Angeles-based Two Bit Circus raised $6.5 million to grow its “experiential” entertainment company, employing an assortment of immersive technologies. Envelop VR raised $4 million to grow its engineering and business teams. The Bellevue-based startup is developing a “VR shell” to enable working and multitasking in VR.
A 1-minute video shows an intriguing way of moving in VR that might alleviate simulator sickness. While moving in VR, “Tunneling” limits the field-of-view of a particular scene to a tiny portion of the screen and expands upon selecting a new location. Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey offered his thoughts about the system on Reddit:
“One of the best things about this method is that it easily scales to exactly your tolerance level - at one extreme, you can make the view window fill 100% of the image, allowing people with high tolerance to play the game with basically traditional controls. At the other end, you can scale the view window down to be a tiny postage stamp, though nobody should have to go that far.”