Owlchemy Labs raises $5m in series A funding from VR investors

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Job Simulator creator Owlchemy Labs has raised $5m in series A funding from major VR investors, such as HTC, Qualcomm Ventures and The VR Fund.

The US-based company is six years old this year and focuses on making humorous but polished VR games, such as the upcoming Rick and Morty, being launched with Adult Swim Games.

Its Job Simulator offering...

By Rachael Power, 08 August 2016, 0 comments. Categories: Gaming.

New creative VR festival launching in September

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A German festival is launching what it calls the 'first' creative VR festival in Europe at the end of September, aimed at showcasing the best in VR, MR and 360 video.

binge.watch will be part of global music festival Reeperbahn in Hamburg,whch brings together over 700 conccerts and events and will be visited by over 32,000 people during the four days. 

The VR leg of it will have its own 'VR Lounge', a forum where creators, producers, technologists, marketers and...

By Rachael Power, 05 August 2016, 0 comments. Categories: Gaming.

FT and Google launch 360 'hidden' look into Rio ahead of Olympics

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The Rio Olympics seems like the ultimate test for VR and 360 video content around a major sporting event.

This week, we heard BBC Sport was launching its own dedicated app to stream live 360 content, and now major UK publication the Financial Times and Google have partnered up on a project of their own.

The FT's Hidden Cities project originally began last year, in partnership with Google. It's...

By Rachael Power, 05 August 2016, 0 comments. Categories: Case Studies.

The Foundry CEO: VR content should mature in “three to four years”

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We've been saying it for months now, but we’ll take any opportunity to say it again: VR is a big deal, and not just in the US. The UK and its unique tax breaks for the creative industries, alongside top tech talent and healthy investor landscape, means VR’s got a good chance to thrive here too.

Emerging technologies in particular are of interest to the UK government, who see them as a boost to the UK economy.

While we won’t mention the ‘Bre...’ word just...

By Rachael Power, 04 August 2016, 1 comment. Categories: Applications.

New BBC app to host Olympic VR content

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The Rio Olympics kick off this weekend, and fans in the UK can watch some of the Games in VR with the BBC Sport 360 app.

The app is part of a trial and was developed with the Olympic Broadcasting Service to offer 360 coverage of the Games.

BBC Sport said it's taken taken part in the trial to learn more about the tech and understand audience needs, so it can shape future plans for VR content.

"This is an emerging and exciting area, which we will explore further after the games," the BBC...

By Rachael Power, 04 August 2016, 0 comments. Categories: eSports, Research.

Facebook's new hardware labs will experiment with VR

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Oculus owner Facebook has launched a new custom engineering lab aimed at to testing out and prototyping VR hardware and tech.

The lab, Area 404, will use machine tools, testing equipment and expert model makers to develop hardware in areas including infrastructure and connectivity as well as VR, in the form of its Surround 360 camera rig and Oculus.

The new...

By Rachael Power, 04 August 2016, 0 comments. Categories: Research.

Swedish VR studio launches game preview after $1.8m seed round

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A Swedish VR games studio has just closed a $1.8m seed around and launched its inaugural game, SVRVIVE as a pre-alpha demo on Steam for the HTC VIVE. 

Games studio and distributor SVRVIVE AB has an interesting team, including the former head of digital comms for popular artist AVICII. It was co-founded by entrepreneur Faviana Vangelius and game developers Hampus Granberg and Pontus...

By Rachael Power, 03 August 2016, 0 comments. Categories: Developers, Gaming.

Samsung Gear VR's facelift: The main changes

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Samsung's announced the launch of its latest and greatest smartphone, the Note 7. With enhanced security, battery and visual specs, it's also given its Gear VR headset a minor face lift in honour of the occasion. 

The Note 7's 5.7 QHD Super Amoled display means it's HDR video streaming ready, and supports the new Gear 360 camera. The new phone camera and revamped Gear are due out on 19 August and you can pre-order the three from this week.

The main differences...

By Rachael Power, 03 August 2016, 0 comments. Categories: Hardware.

Vive headsets now more expensive in UK following Brexit

HTC has announced a price increase on its Vive headsets in the UK due to "currency valuation changes". 

In a message to its customers via its website this week, the company said it would raise the price of its popular Vive headset to £759 plus postage and packaging as of today.

While it didn't directly say the word 'Brexit', the price increase is down to the pound's...

By Rachael Power, 02 August 2016, 0 comments. Categories: Gaming, Hardware.

VR and AR named in list of top tech to watch by PwC

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Virtual and augmented reality have made it onto a list of eight essential technologies CEOs and company owners need to watch out for right now.

According to the PwC report Tech breakthrough megatrend, VR and AR are both ones businesses should watch over the next three to five years.

Artificial intelligence topped the list, with augmented reality coming in second, then blockchain, drones, IOT, robots, virtual reality and...

By Rachael Power, 02 August 2016, 0 comments. Categories: Research.

Meet the Global VR Challenge winners

A new initiative to explore and celebrate the best VR games dev talent and concepts has drawn to a close this year at the ChinaJoy gaming show. 

The Global VR Challenge was run by Bath-based Steel Media and Chinese VR company DeePoon. 

VR talent from all over the world took part in the challenge, which ended in a competition in which 16 finalists (10 from outside of China) battlede it out to scoop the top prize.

All finalists got a range of VR hardware and some got a share of the $35,000 cash prize...

By Rachael Power, 01 August 2016, 0 comments. Categories: Developers, Gaming.

Technicolor's now creating VR and AR experiences

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Fans of classic Disney movies will be familiar with the Technicolor brand, but real movie buffs will still know it’s alive and kicking today, now a leading digital innovator in the media and entertainment industry.

As such, it’s just launched the Technicolor Experience Centre, which is aimed at developing “high-concept” content, platforms and tech for VR, AR and immersive media.

The California-based purpose built centre will play home...

By Rachael Power, 01 August 2016, 0 comments. Categories: Advertising, Brands.

PlayStation reveals PS VR play area size

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With just a few months to go to the PS VR launch, PlayStation has revealed the play area size you’ll need to use the new headset.

New documentation has revealed an area size of around 60 square feet is needed, and tells players to keep seated where possible while playing.

The brochure also tell of what hardware players will need to use PS VR: namely the headset itself, a PlayStation camera, DUALSHOCK 4 and Move controllers for some...

By Rachael Power, 01 August 2016, 0 comments. Categories: Gaming, Hardware.

OSVR wants to create VR experiences on affordable PCs

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Just as Android democratised the mobile operating system for mobile devices, so too is OSVR (or Open Source Virtual Reality) trying to do the same for VR.

Its HDK2 and HMD starts shipping in a few days, so we spoke to CEO of VR firm Sensics and co-founder of OSVR, Yuval Boger, about what the project is trying to achieve.

Affordable VR for everyone is certainly one of OSVR’s objectives, and it’s even looking at how it can make experiences...

By Rachael Power, 29 July 2016, 0 comments. Categories: Ecosystems, Hardware.

Steam hosts first VR weekend game sale

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VR gamers, start your engines: Steam is holding its first ever VR weekend game sale, with discounted copies of popular games for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift on offer. 

While Steam's no stranger to hosting weekend or seasonal sales online with discounts and offers galore on specific titles, this is the first time it's ever held a VR only sale. 

Gamers can shop for a pretty good-looking bundle, which comes in at around £187 for 20...

By Rachael Power, 29 July 2016, 0 comments. Categories: Gaming.

Sports Illustrated gunning for VR with 360 USA Women's Eight experience

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As the experimental phase of 360 video and VR experiences matures, many larger publishers are getting on board with immersive content. 

The latest and greatest is a publication with a lot of potential in this area: Sports Illustrated. They've recently unveiled a number of new article pieces in VR and 360 degrees, which seems to be an area they're now gunning for. 

It being a relatively new medium, however, some publications don't quite yet have in-house VR or 360...

By Rachael Power, 27 July 2016, 0 comments. Categories: Brands.

House artist deadmau5 launches own VR app with Absolut

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It does make a lot of sense for music artists to get on board with 360 degree and VR video content. What fan wouldn’t want to ‘join’ their heroes on stage, and see a unique first-hand view from a perspective they could only dream of truly being in?

Varioius artists from Duran Duran to U2 to Avicii have produced VR experiences and 360 videos - and now it’s progressive house artist deadmau5’...

By Rachael Power, 27 July 2016, 0 comments. Categories: Applications, Gaming.

Facebook's Surround 360 camera blueprints now available on Github

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Facebook’s banking on 360 video in a big way, so much so that it’s released blueprints for its Surround 360 camera on Github this week.

The rig consists of 17 cameras and sits on an aluminum chassis for stability and to stop overheating from overuse. At a push - provided you’ve got all the right materials - can be physically built within a four hours, with the OS taking a little bit longer to get up and running.

But you’ll need a budget of around $30,000 to build...

By Rachael Power, 27 July 2016, 0 comments. Categories: Developers, Hardware.

Fancy wine tasting in VR? Brancott Estates takes experience on UK festival tour

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There are so many things you can do in VR to unwind, chill out and just downright relax. From meditation apps to chilled out gaming, sometimes putting a headset on can be the perfect way to destress.

The ultimate synergy - for marketers, at least - is when these kinds of experiences and a clever brand campaign come together to form a fiendishly good partnership. 

Obviously one just for the (wine-loving) adults, Brancott Estate will launch a VR multisensory experience as part of...

By Rachael Power, 26 July 2016, 0 comments. Categories: Brands.