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AR/VR Grows Up This Week

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VR is growing up quickly. We’ve teamed up with Vertebrae to bring you the week’s most important AR/VR stories. Catch up on this news before you drift off into a galaxy far, far away

Fun Fact: Oculus and Vive are both Aries. How do we creepily know this? Facebook made a big splash about Oculus’s first b-day bash last week, while the Vive is slashing prices today, dubbed “Vive Day.” The cherry on top? HTC is also launching a VR subscription service. You deserve a slice of that cake.

The VR babies have come a long-ass way in one year. Theoretically speaking, VR has hit puberty. Cue growing pains and social awkwardness. While social VR is key for VR/AR market success, Niantic (makers of Pokemon Go) CEO John Hanke believes that VR is so good that it may be problematic for society, eliminating good ‘ol fashioned, IRL convos. What if kids start wearing headsets at the dinner table? Uh oh.

And then they’re all grown up, as VR/AR have blossomed into little party animals. From Brooklyn to Berlin to jumping from planes in Palm Springs, VR leaders are realizing that the best way to get headsets on homies is with beers in hands.  

Ok sure, from Bjork to Intel, VR’s news is poppin’ off this week. But Hanke’s warning words carry some serious weight and remind us of AR’s long-term game, as he advises that AR has the benefits of VR without the society-shattering pitfalls.

Feeling overwhelmed? Replace that hyperventilating with some deep breathing. Strap on a headset and meditate. Ooooom.

Don’t Wear Your Headset at the Dinner Table!
TVREV — Cortney Harding

Worries that people will sit around the dinner table wearing headsets are likely overblown. Still, the potential for VR to create confusion on a mass scale and convince people that something is real has problematic potential, especially in an era of fake news. Especially when you think about sex, the cornerstone of any great moral panic. VR porn is growing fast, with billion-dollar potential.

Drive Through A Battle Zone In This Nissan Star Wars VR Experience
VRScout — Kyle Melnick

To help celebrate the blu-ray release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Nissan has teamed up with Lucasfilm Ltd., Skywalker Sound and Industrial Light & Magic to release a ridiculously intense 360-degree VR experience centered around the epic intergalactic battle.

On the Vive’s First Birthday, the VR Conversation is Getting Calmer
The Verge — Adi Robertson

One year ago today, HTC released the Vive virtual reality headset, marking a turning point for virtual reality. The Vive wasn’t the first commercial VR headset, but it was the first major headset released without help from Oculus, proving VR didn’t belong to any one company. It was also the first one to come with sophisticated motion controls, ushering in a completely new class of experiences. In some ways, the Vive’s launch was the moment that VR began feeling like a real industry, rather than a Facebook-backed passion project. A year later, that optimism has turned into something more mature, but less visible.

‘Pokemon GO’ CEO Says VR is So Good It’s a “Problem for Society”
Inverse — Graham Templeton

Niantic CEO John Hanke thinks VR is great. So great, in fact, that it might actually ruin our lives. The man behind Pokémon GO sees virtual reality escapism as a potential issue for his children’s psychological health. His issue is that virtual reality could offer much of the seeming appeal of real-world interaction, with few or none of the personal benefits that come with entering those sorts of genuine social situations. Hanke sees AR as a means to use many of the advantages of virtual reality, but avoid the pitfalls.

Judge to Decide Whether Pokémon Go Suit Can Proceed
MSN — Giovanni Bruno

A federal judge is set to decide whether a case can move forward alleging Nintendo’s hit augmented reality game “Pokémon Go” of violating trespassing and negligence laws. This ruling could carry wider implications for game and software creators which send users to specific locations.

Meditation in VR: Virtually Mindful
CNET — Dan Ackerman

As mediation is embraced by the mainstream, from CEO’s to navy seals, a handful of VR companies are tossing their hats in the ring to add immersive audio/visuals to the traditionally low-tech experience.  

TF1 Reboots Digital Strategy With Social Media, Enhanced VR
Variety — Ben Croll

TF1 launched the My-TF1VR app in February in conjunction with the season premiere of “The Voice.” The app will be updated monthly, developing customized immersive experiences for their most popular shows. The MyTF1VR app will for the most part be tied in with the shows broadcast on the network. “We want to have a dedicated VR application with original content linked to TF1 programming, and to use that TF1 programming to promote the VR app”. However, the network is still working on the most effective way to monetize it.

Virtual Reality And Augmented Reality Will Change Brand Experiences
Forbes — Chris Cavanaugh

Speculation for VR and AR is seemingly limitless, but the largest applications will most likely involve design & visualization before production, entertainment content, and hands on engagement.

Mountain Dew Expands Premium Line with Live Music Festival, VR Experiences
Marketing Dive — David Kirkpatrick

Mountain Dew is promoting the launch of two new flavors with a free 2 day music festival in Palm Springs coinciding with Coachella. One of the attractions will be a VR music experience that simulates jumping from a plane.

HTC is Launching its VR App Subscription Service at $7 per month
TechCrunch — Lucas Matey

This wednesday (4/5) is the launch of Viveport, HTC’s subscription based VR games platform. ($7 for 5 games a month).

Cody Brown Has a Broad Vision for Virtual Reality
New York Times — Molly Oswaks

Cody Brown started IRL to exploit what he calls virtual reality’s untapped social potential. “An overwhelming number of people have not discovered room-scale V.R., or high-end V.R., and they will not believe the hype until you put it on their face,” he said. To that end, he has been hosting parties in Brooklyn and Manhattan for friends and colleagues. While parties help spread the word, he also wants to create a V.R. incubation community. He is consulting with a Hollywood studio for a simultaneous V.R. experience tied to a major motion picture.

VR 360-Degree Video and Big Data Are Changing the Pay TV Landscape, Enabling More Immersive Experiences
CED Magazine — Alain Nochimowski

BI Intelligence estimates that shipments of virtual reality (VR) headsets increased by about 1047% year-over-year to 8.2 million in 2016, enabling the virtual reality space to exceed $1 billion in revenue for the first time, according to research by Deloitte. Another factor that may contribute to the growth of VR and 360-degree video this year is the recent formation of the VR Industry Forum (VRIF), a nonprofit industry group that is dedicated to pushing widespread adoption of virtual reality.

Sony Goes Commercial After Virtual-Reality Check on PlayStation VR
Wall Street Journal — Takashi Mochizuki

Sony plans to expand marketing of its PlayStation VR virtual-reality headset to commercial customers including entertainment facilities in Japan, such as theme parks and arcades. The technology took hold among consumers at a slower-than-expected pace, so the Japanese arm of PlayStation has set up a “location-based entertainment” unit.

UK’s First VR Escape Room Set to Open April 22
VR and Fun — Alexandra Sedor

On April 22, Tick Tock Unlock, a successful brick and mortar escape room company, will open its first “Hyper Reality Experience” escape room in the UK. This experience will be unique because it offers the social/group aspect, one of the main components to real-life escape rooms, that home systems lack.

VR Forecasters Are Missing the Potential of Casinos
VR and Fun — SJ Kim

One estimate that was put out last fall reports that virtual reality gambling is expected to grow by 800 percent between now and 2021.The analysis notes that about $58.5 million was bet through VR platforms in 2016, and that forecasted 800% increase would put that number at $520 million by 2021. VR and gambling may be a perfect fit, as online gambling looks to become more dynamic and VR hopes to become more social.

Watch Bjork’s Vivid Virtual Reality ‘Notget‘ Video
Rolling Stone — Ryan Reed

Bjork has been releasing a series of VR music videos to promote her 2015 LP “Vulnicura”, which will also be featured at her installation at MoMA in New York.

What to Know About the Future of VR
Newsweek — Chris Neiger

VR remains far from mainstream use but represented a $16.9 billion dollar industry last year. Specialists say that as the medium’s capabilities grow, it could change computing as we know it.

Has Intel Turned Into a VR Film Studio?
Digital Trends — Keith Nelson Jr.

Everyone wants to hop on VR as a new and exciting medium, but it comes with a variety of technical issues that not all creatives are ready to undertake. Intel sees its positioning moving forward as being more than just a “chip maker” and serving as a VR consultant to help in the production and distribution of future VR content.

Rave in Europe’s Hottest Nightclub Minus the Cost of Airfare with VR Dancefloors: Techno in Berlin
VR and Fun — Alexandra Sedor

Boiler Room, a popular underground music label partnered with Google and Pixel to create a VR experience called “Dancefloors: Techno in Berlin” which allows you to experience the sights and sounds of a bustling euro-club in the comfort of home.

Virtual Reality Is Ushering In A New Era Of Adult Entertainment
PSFK — Zack Palm

A strip club in San Francisco is launching a VR experience for its members this November in which users can pay for and view dancers in their living room via a virtual reality application/headset.

Each week, we bring you the most relevant stories covering the business of virtual and augmented reality, which we produce with our partner Vertebrae, the native ad platform for VR/AR.