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VR Digest:  Microsoft VR rumors surface

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VR Digest: A VR newsletter brought to you by Studio Transcendent
written by Ian Hamilton (@hmltn) issue 70 – June 1, 2016

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

Microsoft VR Rumors Surface

Rumors are pointing to future support for VR in an updated Xbox. First, a report by Kotaku suggested Microsoft could make an Xbox in 2017 that’s technically capable of driving the Oculus Rift. Separately, evidence is mounting that developers are prepared to talk about Xbox VR games at E3 later this month.

Microsoft already has an established relationship with Oculus, providing the Xbox One controller bundled with the Rift. Additionally, Microsoft plans to enable users to stream Xbox One games to the Rift in a virtual home theater.

Prices for Rift-capable machines are coming down rapidly, so it’s not crazy to imagine an Xbox One capable of driving high quality VR in the near future, but whether Oculus and Microsoft can iron out an agreement to make the systems work together is a whole different question.

The move would tie Oculus to a powerful distribution platform that could compete with Steam and Playstation on an even playing field, but could partially undermine Facebook’s effort to build Oculus Home into a full-fledged competitor to Steam. Meanwhile, it gives Microsoft a competitive VR headset solution to fend off PSVR, although Sony’s solution would hold a major advantage by supporting the current PS4 install base.


Bits

Oliver Kreylos at UC Davis performed an exhaustive examination of the Lighthouse tracking system and how it works.

Google created an impressive website offering a 360-degree look at how artists create pieces inside Tilt Brush.

The Vuze all-in-one stereo 360 camera is now available for pre-order at $800.

New hacks allow more freedom for VR apps, with an updated version of the ReVive hack restoring the ability to launch Oculus exclusive titles in the competing HTC Vive. A second hack is designed to allow you to launch external applications from inside the Oculus Home interface. Another developer has posted useful scripts, like starting and stopping the Oculus service on your PC or disabling the often-inaccurate “CPU doesn’t meet recommended specifications” warning in Oculus Home.

eBay showed off a new ecommerce concept that they codeveloped with Myer, an Australian retailer. The app is available for Google Cardboard (Android, iOS). eBay is also giving away free cardboard viewers to Australians through June 2.

PC manufacturers seem to be embracing backpack computers so VR systems like the HTC Vive can go fully wireless, with HP promising one that weighs less than 10 pounds. (See also: MSI and Zotac)

A Fast Company story outlines lessons Google developers learned from 60 VR experiments.

A 7-minute video shows impressive finger tracking on the forthcoming Oculus Touch controllers, beyond what’s possible in the HTC Vive.

Vive experience Waltz of the Wizard is available for free on Steam, described as Harry Potter meets Fantasia.

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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