VR Hardware Sales See Increase in Q3
Market analytics firm Canalys released a short report finding that VR headset shipments topped 1 million units (per quarter) for the first time in Q3. PSVR took the lead, moving 490,000 units. Oculus significantly outsold Vive, thanks to its lower price point. Clearly the strategy of pushing for lower cost of entry is paying off, and we would not be surprised to see that push continue, with first generation hardware remaining for sale and moving steadily downmarket in the same way that Apple sells older models of the iPhone for years after their release date.
HTC’s Vive X accelerator announced 26 new investments.
The Opera browser added VR support…sort of. It doesn’t support WebVR, but instead detects 360 videos and will offer to display them in an attached headset. This is actually incredibly useful, and is a fantastic feature in an age when WebVR support on websites is in its infancy.
A blog post from Oculus offers advice on preparing your computer for Rift Core 2.0, the new Oculus Rift runtime that will enable the Oculus Dash virtual desktop feature.
Williams-Sonoma has acquired Outward, Inc., a company that specializes in creating real time graphics-ready product imagery that can be used to populate VR and AR shopping experiences (as well as online or in-store configurators).
An amazing research paper from NVIDIA (video courtesy of Two Minute Papers) shows off an idea that could revolutionize real time graphics technology. A computer is trained to look at an abstract, low resolution representation and “imagine” what it would look like if it was video of the same location in the real world and displays that image. It can also do other crazy things like convert a daytime shot to nighttime, including adding in streetlights and headlights.
Penn and Teller’s Desert Bus is a game made intentionally as boring as possible. Players are tasked with driving in a perfectly straight line for 8 hours. But over the years it has become a successful vehicle for fundraising as a “Desert Bus for Hope” event was set up for players to endure the game for charity. A basic clone of the game was one of the first titles developed for the Rift, but now there is an official version with revamped graphics and even multiplayer for up to four people.
Titanic VR from Immersive VR Education (creators of Apollo 11 VR) is now available on Steam Early Access and Oculus Home.
Multiplayer VR FTL-inspired title From Other Suns came out on Oculus Home. You and a crew of your friends must navigate your spacecraft across hostile space, racing an alien threat heading for earth, attacking and boarding enemy craft to gather supplies. If the crew gets wiped out, you’re done and have to start over, but the threats and weapons you come across are generated randomly so no two playthroughs are alike.
(I made my wife play it with me and the smooth locomotion made her really sick, so be sure to try out the various comfort modes.)