At first glance, this would appear to be a very slow week for the world of VR and AR. You’d think that everyone got out of the way of Magic Leap, which has been letting the press try out the Magic Leap One (our own Hugh got to try it out). Plus, the HTC Vive wireless adapter went on sale.
But you’d be wrong. This week was chocked full of news – the good and the bad. The world of VR and AR is in constant flux, and when you toss Gamescom on top of that, you’re guaranteed a bumpy ride.
That’s right, folks, it’s another week of Field of View. Goggles on.
Read this: News hits
Oculus Santa Cruz may arrive early 2019
The last time we tried out Oculus’ high-end standalone headset, codenamed Santa Cruz, we felt it was almost ready to ship. A year later and there’s been no word, but UploadVR is reporting that Oculus is aiming for Q1 2019 for wide release.
The one big question around the Santa Cruz is going to be porting Rift games to Santa Cruz. The report says that Santa Cruz isn’t quite as powerful as a Rift plugged into a high-end PC, which makes sense. That’s going to be a big focus of Santa Cruz’s launch, porting over Rift titles for Oculus’ high-end standalone headset.
There aren’t many concrete details about Santa Cruz, like specs or a price, but Oculus Connect 5 kicks off 26 September, so it’s possible we hear official news then. We’ll be there to bring the news as it breaks.
Google and IMAX pause VR camera project
IMAX was set to go big on VR, creating VR experience centers and partnering up with Google to create a cinema-grade VR camera to make VR videos. That project has now been paused, reports Variety.
While Google won’t comment, IMAX says it’s re-evaluating the viability of its VR Experience Center pilot program. The company closed down two of the centers recently, and will decide on the fate of the remaining five in the coming months.
That’s not a good sign for IMAX’s location VR aspirations. However, Google was reportedly the one to can the VR camera as it’s shifting resources toward augmented reality rather than virtual reality.
Insta360 Pro 2 announced
If you’ve been waiting for Google and IMAX’s VR camera and are now left disappointed, there is the Insta360 Pro 2 – a follow-up to the company’s previous pro camera.
This one has six lenses ready to shoot 8K 3D at 30 FPS, 8K mono at 60 FPS, 6K 3D at 60 FPS, 4K 3D at 120 FPS and so on and so forth. There’s also in-camera HDR to give your footage some extra pop.
The big new feature is FlowState, which is Insta360’s proprietary stabilization software. The company claims that it provides gimbal-quality stabilization with no additional gear. Also new is Farsight, a 360-degree live monitoring system that’ll let you see HD, low-latency footage from your camera from far away via a transmitter and receiver.
You’ll be able to see your footage from 300 meters away on the ground and 1 kilometer ground-to-air. Other features include no-stitch editing with Adobe Premiere Pro, six MicroSD slots for storage, built-in mics for 360 audio, and built-in GPS.
It’s available for pre-order now at $4,999 and will ship in September.
VR-powered circus is coming to LA
Location VR is about to get a new player with Two Bit Circus. Created by Brent Bushnell (son of Atari and Chuck E Cheese founder Nolan Bushnell) and Eric Gradman, it’s an indoor circus and amusement park where you can walk around and play updated versions of old carnival games.
The pair started Two Bit Circus after a successful run creating installations for the likes of Microsoft, Warner Bros and more. Now, not all of Two Bit Circus isn’t VR (see the video above), but there’s a lot in there.
They include a virtual maze where you can fight a minotaur, VR escape rooms, and little pods where you can play VR games with other people. All of these experiences are built by and for Two Bit Circus. The circus opens in LA in September.
There wasn’t a lot of big news at Gamescom 2018 in the VR space, but there was enough to get excited about the future of VR gaming. The big game Population: ONE, which is essentially a VR version of Fortnite – there are even building mechanics.
Like other battle royale games, everyone is fighting to be the last man standing. With running, shooting, flying and building, it looks to be one of the more ambitious VR games yet.
The other big game is Nostos, a beautiful anime-inspired multiplayer sandbox RPG. While it’s not a full MMORPG, you can climb around the world and interact with friends while you battle monsters and fight baddies. There’s quite a bit of JRPG flavor here, too.
Vive Studios’ 7 Miracles is first feature-length VR movie
Thus far, VR movies have typically been broken up into short, digestible episodes. In fact, the longest VR movie session tends to be about 30 minutes. That is no longer true, as Vive Studios has announced7 Miracles, the first feature-length VR movie.
7 Miracles recreates the seven miracles performed by Jesus Christ, as described by the Gospel of John, in 360 VR. It’ll debut at the Raindance Film Festival on 3 October.
Watch This: The Wizards comes to PSVR
The Wizards has been entertaining Vive and Rift owners or a while now, and now the acclaimed VR game is coming to PlayStation VR. You’ll become a powerful wizard and will have to cast spells and fight dragons (and the evil they represent).
Play this: The Kremer Collection
Most VR museum apps are a little… low end. There’s nothing wrong with that, but they’re built to give people of all types of VR access to museums. The Kremer Collection is taking a different tact, making a museum that looks gorgeous that you can walk around in and view art from Dutch masters like Rembrandt. I mean, you can see the art reflected on those shiny marble floors. It’s been available for Vive for a while, but has just come to Oculus Rift for $9.99.