VR Digest: Consumer VR arrives
with rave reviews
The week's top VR news brought to you
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VR Digest: A VR newsletter brought to you by Studio Transcendent
written by Ian Hamilton (@hmltn) issue 43 – November 25, 2015

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

Consumer VR arrives with rave reviews

The consumer Gear VR is now shipping, with Best Buy and Amazon temporarily out of stock. The $100 headset co-developed by Samsung and Oculus won very positive reviews. Both the Wall Street Journal and Wired called it a “no-brainer” for people who already have the required Note 5, S6, S6 Edge or S6 Edge Plus. The phones slot into the front of the device to provide the display and computing hardware for the ensemble. A 30-second commercial shows a huge leap forward in marketing virtual reality.


HTC has promised to launch its PC-powered headset to consumers before the end of the year but its director of global marketing just jumped ship to Google-backed Magic Leap.

“That was the biggest takeaway for me, how it advanced and how quickly it has gotten to the point it is at now,” Jeff Gattis told UploadVR, from his new role as head of Magic Leap’s product marketing.

Ranging from a half hour to more than an hour each, all the developer sessions from Oculus Connect 2 in September (27 in all) have been posted on Youtube.

A Youtube playlist wraps together six Google Jump videos, showing what 3D 360-degree footage looks like when stitched together by Google. While it is a clear improvement over other automated techniques, there are still apparent limitations to how close objects can get to the camera before the stitching fails.

VR’s mainstream moment became the subject of a large NY Times article covering the breadth of content being developed. The Times VR app on iPhone or Android also added a 5-minute 360-degree documentary showing vigils in Paris after the terror attacks.

Wired published a 5-minute 360-degree video on Youtube of The Lion King’s Broadway production.

Environment Artist Matt Burdette of Oculus Story Studio published a blog post coining the term “The Swayze Effect” in reference to the movie Ghost, to describe “the sensation of having no tangible relationship with your surroundings despite feeling present in the world.”

To promote the new Star Wars film, Google teamed with Lucasfilm to bring a “serialized” experience to Google Cardboard viewers on Dec. 2.

VR pioneer Tony Parisi, who is now working at Venice-based developer WEVR, published his Learning Virtual Reality book. It’s available for around $22 on Amazon.

OTOY offered demos of a hack combining a tracked controller from a Vive with a Gear VR for no-wires positional tracking.

An iPhone case which springs open to become a Cardboard viewer surpassed its goal on Kickstarter. The case is said to ship in March, and a survey asks backers which Android phones should be supported next.

Kent Bye’s Voices of VR published a 29-minute podcast with Tom Furness, who has been working since the ’60s on VR and helmet-mounted displays for pilots.

A 2-minute video from Microsoft shows how Volvo plans to use HoloLens to visualize cars before they are built, or for customers to see different options before it is purchased.

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