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Submission + - Google VR/AR Team Seeking Hires to Work on New Consumer Hardware (roadtovr.com)

An anonymous reader writes: As Google's first-party hardware ambitions grow, it appears that the company wants to go beyond their relatively simple Daydream View VR headset. A slew of new job listings for the company’s VR and AR team over the last 30 days shows a ramping up of hardware expertise, including an Engineering Project Specialist position who can “drive multiple hardware projects simultaneously from prototype to mass production,” and an Electrical Hardware Engineer for Consumer Hardware Platforms role who has “Experience supporting high volume overseas manufacturing builds.” Three other job listings for Google’s VR/AR Team in the same period further suggest a significant focus on hardware, including expertise in the field of optics. Rumors of a Google all-in-one VR headset—that which is self-contained and doesn’t use a snap-in smartphone—continue to swirl. Mostly recently in late 2016, Engadget reported that Google was working on an all-in-one VR device which would include eye-tracking technology from the company’s recent acquisition of Eyefluence (http://engt.co/2f0WrdC).

Submission + - Apple AR/VR Product to Debut in 2017, Predicts Sony's Head of Worldwide Studios (roadtovr.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Apple's wide-ranging R&D has explored virtual and augmented reality well before (and into) the recent rebirth of VR. With a number of patents, hires, and acquisitions under the company's belt, the industry is carefully watching to see when Apple will make its first move into the immersive device landscape. Shuhei Yoshida, President of Sony’s Worldwide Studios, thinks that 2017 is the year it happens. Yoshida has been closely involved with the creation and launch of Sony's own PlayStation VR headset over the last several years and is a major proponent of VR and AR.

Submission + - 'Raw Data' Developer Survios Raises $50 Million, Now Top Funded VR Dev Studio (roadtovr.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Survios (https://survios.com/), the VR development studio behind HTC Vive title 'Raw Data' (https://survios.com/rawdata/) announced today that they've closed an additional $50 million in venture funding. The latest investment was led by MGM—known for their movie production and publishing—which says the investment is an opportunity to bring their IP to virtual reality. Back in 2014, Survios had raised a $4.2 million Series A investment. Now with some $54 million in raised capital, Survios is the top funded pure VR development studio to date.

Submission + - Game Engine Behind 'Star Wars Battlefront', 'Battlefield, and More is VR-capable (roadtovr.com)

An anonymous reader writes: EA DICE is well known for Frostbite, the company's proprietary game engine which powers the amazing visuals of 'Star Wars Battlefront' (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGyaR2sSBkA) and other huge franchises like 'Battlefield' and 'Mirror's Edge'. Now it's confirmed that the engine has been adapted for virtual reality. The upcoming 'Star Wars Battlefront X-Wing VR Mission' on PlayStation VR is indeed built on Frostbite, rather than ready-made VR engines like Unreal Engine or Unity, as some had suspected. Road to VR suggests the adaptation of Frostbite for VR means more Triple-A VR content to come from EA.

Submission + - HTC Confirms Each Vive Sold at Profit, "Much More" Than 140,000 Units in Sales (roadtovr.com)

An anonymous reader writes: During the company's most recent earnings call, HTC confirmed that it is turning a profit on each sale of its $800 VR system, the Vive. That may seem unsurprising, but the cost of developing and producing the new tech required for VR left investors and analysts unsure of the profitability, especially considering market rival Oculus who had said previously that their equally priced Rift system was being sold at cost. HTC also responded to reports of a 140,000 sales figure that had cropped up in the media prior; while they wouldn't disclose the actual number of Vive sales, citing competitive reasons, they claimed it was "much more" than the reported figure, and that they "continue to be happy with the current selling condition in last quarter."

Submission + - Facebook Plans to Launch Social Virtual Reality App "As Soon As Possible" (roadtovr.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Facebook, who bought virtual reality firm Oculus in 2014 for $2 billion, says they want to launch their first social virtual reality app "as soon as possible." On stage at the Oculus Connect developer conference earlier this month, CEO Mark Zuckerberg showed off an impressive demonstration of what social networking in virtual reality could look like (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuIgyKLPt3s), allowing friends to visit videospheres of real places together and even make video calls from the real world to the virtual world via Facebook Messenger. Mike Booth, Social VR Product Manager at Facebook, said the company wants to get their social VR app out the door "as soon as possible" and iterate with user feedback, as opposed to waiting longer to do a big launch and marketing push once things are more polished.

Submission + - Valve Shows New Prototype VR Controllers at Official Conference (roadtovr.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Valve, creator of Steam and some of the world's best known gaming franchises, has in the last few years become very involved in virtual reality. The company collaborated with phone maker HTC to create the 'Vive', a VR headset and controller system which is among the leading VR devices on the market. Today at Valve's Steam Dev Days developer conference in Seattle, the company showed the latest prototype VR controllers in the works which make a radical departure from the first generation. Now rather than a bulky wand, the controller fits snugly around the hand, while maintaining motion tracking thanks to an array of sensors.

Submission + - Only Select Developers Can Publish Google Daydream VR Apps Until 2017 (roadtovr.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Google says Daydream, their high-end VR on Android initiative, is due to launch this Fall. But at launch, only select developers will be allowed to publish Daydream VR apps to the Play Store for distribution until 2017 when the company says they'll open the doors to all developers. Google says that Daydream is an ecosystem for VR on Android, consisting of Daydream-ready phones, headsets, and apps, which will all work together to create a high-end mobile VR experience that goes beyond the company's low-cost Carboard VR initiative. There's currently no additional restriction in place for publishing Cardboard apps.

Submission + - Valve-architected Chip Could Improve Tracking, Reduce Cost of Next HTC Vive (roadtovr.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Now that the first generation of VR headsets have hit the market, the race is on to bring costs down to widely accessible levels. A new chip created in partnership with Valve and Triad Semiconductor could help reduce cost and improve performance on the HTC Vive 2 and future SteamVR headsets. The chip, which interprets signals from the SteamVR tracking system, condenses the first-generation design used in the HTC Vive from a 41-component discrete circuit into a 9-component circuit, reducing total costs with fewer part placements, smaller board designs, and increased reliability. The chip is also better at understanding the signals coming from the tracking system, leading to improved tracking performance, says Triad.

Submission + - Oculus Warns Not to Use Note 7 in Gear VR Headset Amid Exploding Phone Recall (roadtovr.com)

An anonymous reader writes: After Samsung confirmed reports that the newly launched Galaxy Note 7 smartphone was prone to sudden combustion due to a battery defect (https://news.samsung.com/global/statement-on-galaxy-note7), partner Oculus, who collaborated with the company on the Gear VR headset, warned users not to use the phone in the headset as it could pose significant safety (and legal) risks (http://www.roadtovr.com/oculus-samsung-gear-vr-note-7-recall-warning/). Samsung says it has stopped all sales of the defective phone and has instituted an exchange program to replace defective phones (http://www.samsung.com/us/note7exchange/). Oculus urges users not to use the phone for VR until it is replaced.

Submission + - Working Prototype of VR Gun with Electromagnetic Haptics Shown by Striker VR (roadtovr.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Striker VR has shown the first working prototype of their ARENA Infinity, a gun peripheral with electromagnet haptic feedback for virtual reality. The device uses a linear actuator to create impressive kick which accompanies virtual gunshots. The haptics are capable of other effects too; the company showed the motion-tracked weapon replicating the feeling of a chainsaw and a 'charge-up' rail gun-like weapon. The company says the first development kits of the peripheral will ship to partners in Q4 2016.

Submission + - AMD Announces Radeon Pro WX 7100 GPU & Open Source Real-time VR Video Stitch (roadtovr.com)

An anonymous reader writes: AMD has announced a new line of 'Radeon Pro' GPUs aimed at the professional market. The top-of-the-line WX 7100 is positioned to be “the most affordable workstation solution for professional VR content creation," and will be priced less than $1,000. Alongside the card, the company announced 'Loom', a forthcoming open-source 360 degree video stitcher which can output 4K @ 30 FPS in real-time from up to 24 1080p @ 60 FPS camera streams. Loom is expected to be available later this summer while the WX 7100 will launch in Q4.

Submission + - Valve's Only VR Title, 'The Lab', is the Highest Rated Game on All of Steam (roadtovr.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Beating out more than 9,000 games on Steam (including Valve classics like Portal and Half-Life 2) Valve's first virtual reality title, 'The Lab', has shot to the top to become the best rated game on Steam, commanding a 99% positive rating from some 700 reviews. The game features eight VR mini-games playable on the HTC Vive headset and connected through a hub world which is set in Valve's 'Portal' universe. 'The Lab' is joined in the top 10 best rated list by one other VR-compatible (but not exclusively VR) game, 'Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes' coming in at #8.

Submission + - NVIDIA's New Ultra High-end Titan X GPU has 11 TFLOPS Performance, 3,584 Cores (roadtovr.com)

An anonymous reader writes: ...and is going to deprive you of $1,200 if you want one. The new Titan X is the company's ultra high-end GPU, now upgraded to Nvidia's latest 'Pascal' architecture. The GPU will be available starting on August 2nd in the US and Europe, rolling out elsewhere at a later date. The company says the new Titan X is up to 60% faster than its predecessor, and draws 250 watts.

Submission + - Unreal Engine and Unity to get NVIDIA's New VR Rendering Tech (roadtovr.com)

An anonymous reader writes: NVIDIA has announced that Unreal Engine and Unity will see integrations of its new Simultaneous Multi-projection rendering tech which the company says can yield “a 3x VR graphics performance improvement over previous generation GPUs”. NVIDIA recently introduced the technology as a unique feature of its latest series of GPUs built on the 'Pascal' architecture. According to the company, Simultaneous Multi-projection allows up to 16 views to be rendered from a single point with just one geometry pass, whereas older cards would need to add an additional pass for each additional view. This is especially beneficial for VR rendering which inherently must render two views for each frame (one for each eye). With Simultaneous Multi-projection built into Unreal Engine and Unity, game creators will have much easier access to its performance benefits.

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