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Friday evening saw dueling blog posts from TechCrunch and Upload with the news that Upload had laid off all of its staff at its Los Angeles co-working space and given the lease at its San Francisco location over to a blockchain accelerator. TechCrunch’s emotionally charged post started off with the headline “VR startup Upload shuts down its offices as funding from Oculus founder Palmer Luckey runs out” (Upload has never confirmed Luckey’s investment) and immediately mentioned the firm’s struggles with sexual harassment allegations.

Upload quickly fired back with an angry missive calling the Techcrunch article “false news” and characterizing the development as a pivot: “Upload focuses on future of XR education and media“.

Upload says that the UploadVR blog we frequently link to will be unaffected, confirmed by Ian Hamilton as far as he is aware:

The author of TechCrunch’s article explained why he didn’t buy their response on Twitter (note that he altered the quotation):


Lenovo Confirms May 5th Launch and $400 Price for Mirage Solo Standalone VR Headset
Tobii Develops Eye-Tracking Standalone VR Headset With Qualcomm
Early Reviews of Ready Player One Are In Following SXSW Premiere
...And it's reviewing very well. Most of the reviews have some nits to pick but many are positively glowing. It's got 80% on Rotten Tomatoes so far. This is good news for VR!
HTC & Shenzhen Government Team Up for $160 Million Investment Fund
VR Resolution Redefined (SteamVR Adds Automatic Supersampling)
The announcement has a good explainer in it as to what automatic supersampling does. Oculus has had this feature for a while. It can be a bit problematic when it starts drifting between two settings where one is slightly under-utilizing the GPU and the next drops frames. I tried Valve's implementation and found that it was stable, but at least in BoxVR it was clearly under-utilizing the GPU. I can manually set supersampling much higher without seeing noticeable frame drops.

Notable Releases

Google: Welcome to Light Fields
I've been waiting a long time for a good publicly available volumetric light field demo, and this does not disappoint. Google's 'Welcome to Light Fields' offers an audio tour through several locations and shows off what it is that makes light fields special. This is certainly the future of photography, if not cinematography. The photographs are created with a strange semicircular Google Jump rig, which speeds up the capture process compared to previous single camera rigs, but the additional computation might explain the wavy artifacts that sometimes appear in the images.
‘Payday 2 VR’ Exits Beta, Now Available as Free DLC to Main Game