VR Digest: Vive pre-orders open Feb. 29;
Palmer Luckey defends Rift pricing

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VR Digest: A VR newsletter brought to you by Studio Transcendent
written by Ian Hamilton (@hmltn) issue 50 – January 13, 2016

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

Vive pre-orders open Feb. 29

The HTC Vive won several best in show awards at CES, but the company’s decreasing revenue from Android phones could mean the headset is the company’s last hope for relevance in the tech industry. CEO Cher Wang told The Telegraph “we had to rethink phones as a company. VR is more important.”

Wang announced that pre-orders begin February 29.

Check out Tested’s 24-minute video looking at Vive hardware. Also, Ian interviewed Valve’s Chet Faliszek about Vive’s holodeck-like first consumer version.

Palmer Luckey defends Rift pricing

Oculus announced a $600 price point for the Rift when sales began last Wednesday. The higher-than-expected price generated considerable disappointment in the VR community but didn’t stop the initial stock set to ship on March 28 from being immediately sold out, followed quickly by the April and May deliveries. New orders are now expected to ship in June.

In the wake of the pre-orders, Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey performed a pair of Q&A sessions on Reddit, the first apologizing for poorly preparing enthusiasts for the price point. Luckey’s second session with the PC enthusiasts on Reddit covered a number of subjects, including how Oculus discourages developers from employing jump scares in VR.

Check out Tested’s 14-minute video looking at Rift hardware.  


Last week’s issue contained a typo that attributed the new KeyMission 360 action cam to Nokia instead of Nikon. To be clear, Nikon is selling the KeyMission 360. Sample videos have become available for the camera which have rankled some in the community for disregarding the comfort of viewers attempting to use a VR headset thanks to violently shaky camerawork.


Check out this fantastic read from John Patrick Pullen at Time. He tried VR for the first time at CES. His newcomer experience is very personal, yet familiar.

“Wandering around CES this week, I watched dozens of people with VR goggles on. Before I put a pair on my face, I looked at these people and snickered over how goofy they looked from the outside, flailing about nonsensically. But after trying virtual reality myself, I found myself focusing on their smiles instead.”

A cool Portal-like VR game called Budget Cuts debuted in a 1-minute video.

UploadVR went hands-on with Rink, the experimental Samsung hand controllers for the Gear VR that are tracked using magnetism.

Gameplay videos from highly anticipated Rift launch title EVE: Valkyrie started hitting the Web, giving a good idea of what the game feels like to play. Check it out in this 6-minute video.

VR developer Cloudhead Games showed a low-cost motion capture solution for its VR game The Gallery in a 4-minute video.

Google executive Clay Bavor is heading up the company’s VR efforts. The linked Re/Code story notes Facebook has 400 people working on Oculus, which just moved Instagram’s Peter Deng to be “head of product management”.

Sarah Northway, developer of Vive game Fantastic Contraption, detailed her team’s innovative method of live streaming their game so that viewers can get a third person perspective of the gameplay, while watching the live player composited into the game with a green screen. “The standard picture-in-picture game footage + webcam technique doesn't do VR justice. The first-person in-game feed from VR games gives at best a cropped, distorted view of what the player is actually seeing, and talking heads wearing VR headsets are even duller than regular talking heads.”

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