Virtual and augmented reality took a back seat to smartwatches (again) this week. Well, there was Magic Leap’s first LeapCon developer conference where CEO Rony Abovitz spoke about the Magic Leap roadmap for 2019.
Then there was Oculus Rift inventor Palmer Luckey who decided to get back in the news. Luckey spoke to Vanity Fair about his plans for VR and the military – “the final medium is virtual reality”.
Essential reading: Best VR headsets to buy
For everything that happened in the virtual and augmented realms, we’ve picked out the smaller VR and AR news stories as well as some film, game and VR experience recommendations.
Read this: The big news of the week
Raindance hearts VR
London’s Raindance Film Festival gave out a bunch of awards to VR films, docs and experiences alongside the usual independent movies this week. One of the big winners was Seven Miracles, the 70 minute Vive Studios production we got to try out ourselves; it won the Spirit of Raindance: VR Film of the Festival Award.
Read this: Vive Studios looks to new VR audiences – with the help of Jesus
Elsewhere, Elijah Wood and Ubisoft’s psychological thriller Transference picked up Best Interactive Narrative Experience; Eric Darnell’s star-studded Crow: The Legend – which has been round a few festivals on the circuit – got Best Animated Experience. The moving Grenfell: Our Home from The Guardian won Best Documentary and Eugene Chung’s animated Arden’s Wake: Tide’s Fall with Alicia Vikander took the Grand Jury Prize for Best Immersive Story.
Microsoft HoloLens 2 turns out to be V1
We thought we’d got a tasty sneak peek at the HoloLens 2 this week, courtesy of a NASA Jet Propulsion Lab video but turns out the device being worn by the scientists is simply a prototype of the HoloLens v1. False alarm, guys, but we do rate the continued Microsoft HoloLens/Nasa love-in.
Borderlands 2 VR coming in December
Badass shooter-looter Borderlands 2 VR is hitting the PlayStation VR on 14 December just in time to wipe out your free time over the holidays. It’ll be single player only with some special tricks just for virtual reality, like first person view driving and the ability to slow down in-game time to set up attacks. You can pre-order the game here. No word on Oculus Rift or HTC Vive versions just yet.
Apple buys Spektral
Why should you care? Well, the internet has decided that Apple’s $30 million acquisition of this Danish machine company that specialises in real time, green screen video editing could have something to do with its AR ambitions, specifically to build a Magic Leap-beating pair of Apple AR smartglasses. Sounds about right to us.
Try this: The Great C
Secret Location’s $5.99, 37 minute VR experience for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive is a Philip K. Dick adaptation taken from a post apocalyptic short story about a real powerful supercomputer. If you want something with production value, this is legit – it premiered at last year’s Venice Film Festival, the studio behind it has an Emmy to its name and there’s a real Hollywood soundtrack too from Tom Holkenborg (Junkie XL) who worked on Deadpool and Mad Max:Fury Road. The devs say a PlayStation VR version is coming soon too.
Play try this: Pokémon Go AR+
Niantic’s been tinkering around with Google ARCore to bring it up to speed (or size) with iOS and ARKit. Now, Android users can see Pokémon scale to size as you approach via an update to the Pokémon Go app, something you’ve been able to do on iOS since December 2017. It also only works with smartphones that support ARCore so certain Samsung Galaxy, Sony Xperia, Google Pixel phones – check here. Are people still playing this?
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