HTC Vive delayed until April 2016
The consumer HTC Vive’s 2015 launch target has officially slipped, and the room-scale VR system is now slated to ship in April 2016. A new developer kit is coming at the Consumer Electronics Show in early January, with “7,000 units available to developers.”
The delay is a huge blow to Valve’s VR efforts, which would have beaten Oculus Rift to market with nearly identical specifications and a bigger tracking area. Now it will arrive for consumers after the Oculus Rift but likely before the Oculus Touch controllers. HTC has endured a tough year with major layoffs and flagging sales of its Android phones.
Oculus announces Rock Band VR
Oculus is teaming with Harmonix to develop Rock Band VR. An endearing 2-minute announcement video shows Rift creator Palmer Luckey learning to be a rock star. If you look closely in the video, it appears that Oculus Touch tracked controllers are mounted to the end of the guitar accessory, suggesting a simple method to track the accessory and show its location accurately while immersed in VR.
Google 360 camera app
Google released an Android app called Cardboard Camera to take stereoscopic 360-degree photos to be viewed in Google Cardboard. You hold the camera steady and move slowly in a circle to record your surroundings. The app optionally records audio. It doesn’t record all of the sky or the ground, but enabling people to create a full 360-degree stereoscopic image so easily is no small feat. If you have a compatible phone definitely check it out.
Sony announces more VR games
Sony held a PlayStation-focused event and debuted a number of new titles, including Rez Infinite and a new Psychonauts game. The games join previously announced titles like Dreams, with 20 minutes of creativity gameplay shown in a new video, as well as Tekken 7, Gran Turismo: Sport, EVE Valkyrie, Battlezone and RIGS. A 1-minute trailer shows glimpses of many titles in development for PSVR. A 41-minute panel video offers an overview of Sony’s VR efforts, while a 4-minute video shows a problematic stage demo that may have created some negative impressions of VR’s readiness for the consumer market.
Sony patented a Gear VR-like headset that uses a phone for the display, tracking and rendering but uses active shutter technology similar to some 3D TVs to provide a 3D VR effect.