VR Digest: Oculus reorganization

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VR Digest: A VR newsletter brought to you by Studio Transcendent
written by Ian Hamilton (@hmltn) issue 98 – December 14, 2016

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

Oculus Reorganization

Brendan Iribe stepped away from his role as CEO of Oculus, the company he co-founded with Palmer Luckey in 2012. He’ll be leading a newly formed PC VR team within Facebook while Jon Thomason, who brings experience from both Amazon and Qualcomm, will lead the mobile VR group. They and Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer will look for a new leader for the “Oculus team”. Here’s an excerpt from Iribe’s note on the official Oculus blog:

“Changing the world on that scale has required us to also scale Oculus at warp speed. With our growth and product strategy, we’ve decided to establish new PC and mobile VR groups to be more focused, strengthen development and accelerate our roadmap.”

“Looking ahead and thinking about where I’m most passionate, I’ve decided to lead the PC VR group—pushing the state of VR forward with Rift, research and computer vision. As we’ve grown, I really missed the deep, day-to-day involvement in building a brand new product on the leading edge of technology.”

UploadVR nailed down where core Oculus team members like Michael Abrash, John Carmack, Nate Mitchell and Michael Antonov will work in the new organization, and Facebook suggested that co-founder Palmer Luckey still has a role at the company that will be revealed soon.


Microsoft is planning for its Windows Holographic feature in an upcoming version of Windows 10 to work with a range of headsets with varying specifications. A developer kit is expected early next year.

An article by The Information (subscription required) questioned startup Magic Leap’s readiness to ship a mixed reality product. The startup showed the writer demos of a different technology than what would be used in a lightweight glasses-sized unit. In response, CEO Rony Abovitz unleashed a series of tweets saying the company aimed to build a “soulful computer” that would create a “sacred space for you” while also quoting Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and linking a series of Wikipedia pages for old music albums. He finally authored an official company blog post saying they’ve built prototypes “of our target form factor.”

UploadVR talked to Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, and he said the budget for their upcoming Oculus exclusive title Robo Recall is roughly the size of the original Gears of War. Meanwhile, Vive Studios launched from HTC to fund  “deeper, richer and longer” VR experiences.

A mind-blowing project by Goro Fujita of Oculus Story Studio shows nested worlds built inside their art app Quill.

The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) picked up a regulatory filing showing social VR startup High Fidelity raised $22 million.

Survios, which created one of VR’s highest-grossing games so far in Raw Data, said it raised $50 million across two rounds of investment.

An article in The Guardian addresses the use of VR during childbirth. Studio Transcendent worked with AppliedVR to create Guided Relaxation, an anxiety management experience that was initially developed for patients who are waiting for a surgery or going through lengthy, uncomfortable procedures. Now, it is also helping women through labor, especially those who have chosen to forgo medical interventions such as an epidural. “Having that voice take me through the breathing and being in touch with [my] body and that focal point helped so much,” said one of the women who used the VR experience throughout her labor.

The Orah 4i livestreaming 360-degree camera from VideoStitch was made available for pre-orders at $3,595.

AxonVR raised $5.8 million for its advanced VR haptics solution.

Leap Motion announced a new hand-tracking sensor with a 180-degree field of view that is designed to work with mobile phone-based VR headsets.

Studio Transcendent Co-Founder Aaron Nicholson was invited to participate in an IBM THINK Leaders panel. IBM’s Robert Schwartz talks about entrepreneurship, creativity, marketing, and finding talent with a panel of digital media founders. Watch this fascinating discussion here.

Facebook released an early preview version of their React VR API for web-based VR experiences.

Studio Transcendent’s Bowdy Brown writes about viewers’ reactions to VR that he has witnessed while sharing our most popular experiences. Check out Bowdy’s insightful blog post and entertaining reactions video!

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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