VR Industry Forum Draft Guidelines Push for Open Ecosystem

Over the weekend, the Virtual Reality Industry Forum (VRIF) released its draft VR and 360 video production and distribution guidelines at IBC 2017 in Amsterdam. The draft document begins with an intro section suggesting best practices for VR/360 production, including experiences with three degrees of freedom (3DOF). It then makes specific recommendations for the technical aspects of visual and audio VR/360 content production, media and presentation profiles, and content security. VRIF aims to release the full guidelines, with an emphasis on an open ecosystem, at CES 2018 in January. Continue reading VR Industry Forum Draft Guidelines Push for Open Ecosystem

Apple ARKit and New iPhones Set the Stage for AR Adoption

Apple ARKit for iOS 11, which enables developers to create augmented reality apps, has caught the attention of developers. With the new iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X, those same developers now have the best hardware and software for creating new AR apps. IKEA quickly jumped on board, and Apple also showed a multiplayer game using iPhones. Apple ARKit does have drawbacks: it doesn’t detect vertical surfaces, such as walls, and although it works on iPhones as old at the 6s, it really shines on the latest iPhone hardware. Continue reading Apple ARKit and New iPhones Set the Stage for AR Adoption

Google Ramping Up its Artificial Intelligence Efforts in China

Despite earlier concerns over censorship and a cyberattack traced to Chinese hackers — and the fact that its search engine can only be accessed in the region by using VPNs (due to the government’s filtering system) — Google is reportedly ramping up its presence in China. Its careers web page lists nearly 60 open positions in Beijing and Shanghai. According to The Wall Street Journal, at least four of the engineering positions involve artificial intelligence, “including a technical lead to develop a team to work on natural language processing, data compression and other machine learning technologies.” Continue reading Google Ramping Up its Artificial Intelligence Efforts in China

NewTek Offers Video Over Ethernet Tech for Live Streaming

NewTek is making its NDI (Network Device Interface) technology available to creators of live-streaming content, which would enable them to improve their production values and give them a leg up in competing with rivals. NDI technology is a new kind of video signal that is able to broadcast between computers over a local network. Live-streaming site Twitch has used NewTek’s NDI technology to allow its on-screen personalities to play games, while producers edit the live feed in another room, without the need for extra cables. Continue reading NewTek Offers Video Over Ethernet Tech for Live Streaming

Startup Debuts Prototype of Game Controlled by Brainwaves

Neurable, a Boston-based startup founded by engineer/neuroscientist Ramses Alcaide, is showing a prototype of a game, with the working title “Awakening,” that allows users to break out of a virtual room by issuing mental commands. The prototype, said to be a few years away from commercial introduction, includes an HTC virtual reality headset and seven sensors that read brainwaves. The user selects objects by looking in the general direction of the object she wishes to select, thus narrowing the number of items to be considered. Continue reading Startup Debuts Prototype of Game Controlled by Brainwaves

Intel Claims Big Performance Leap for Next Gen Core Chips

Intel reports that the eighth generation of its Core line of chips, to be debuted in new laptops in September, will offer as much as a 40 percent increase in performance over its previous generation. Although the PC market has been declining, Intel — whose chips are already in 80 percent of PCs globally — is still posting upticks. In Q2, Intel saw a 12 percent increase in chip sales. Intel’s only remaining competitor in this sector is Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), which is also bringing its new Zen chips to market this year. Continue reading Intel Claims Big Performance Leap for Next Gen Core Chips

Electronic Arts, NFL Create Tournament for Casual Gamers

Electronic Arts and the National Football League now offer an eSports tournament aimed at the casual user in the living room. Dubbed the Madden NFL Club Championship, the competition is open to players of all skill levels aged 16 or older in North America, the U.K. and Germany, and is based on a pilot program held last spring. It’s also linked to the debut of “Madden NFL 18,” Electronic Art’s newest installment of the annual football game franchise, which has sold more than 100 million units around the world since its 1980s debut. Continue reading Electronic Arts, NFL Create Tournament for Casual Gamers

HTC Slashes Cost of its Vive Virtual Reality Headset by $200

Just weeks after Facebook temporarily reduced the price tag for its Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, HTC announced it is chopping $200 off the cost of its Vive headset. The HTC Vive now costs $599, which brings it closer to the $499 Rift (currently $399 during its summer sale). Both VR devices require connection to a computer. HTC’s new price point is intended to spark new interest in the device and its accessories such as the Vive Tracker, wireless adapters and a new head strap. The deal also offers access to VR game titles through a one-month free trial to HTC’s Viveport subscription service. Continue reading HTC Slashes Cost of its Vive Virtual Reality Headset by $200

Amazon Promotes Alexa With SDK, Revenue for Developers

Amazon is going full bore promoting its virtual assistant Alexa. In an effort to make it available on more devices, the company has debuted the Alexa Voice Service Device SDK toolset, which lets developers integrate a fully functional version to their devices, offering speech recognition and all the other Alexa capabilities such as notifications, weather reports, streaming media and thousands of voice apps. Amazon is providing additional incentive to developers by paying those whose voice apps demonstrate customer engagement. Continue reading Amazon Promotes Alexa With SDK, Revenue for Developers

GameMine Inks Distribution Partnership With Mobile Carriers

Los Angeles-based GameMine has inked distribution partnerships with five international mobile carriers, enabling direct billing of game subscriptions through mobile plans. With the partnerships, the carriers’ subscribers will have access to GameMine’s more than 400 games, all of them unlocked, ad-free and available for iOS and Android devices. Among the involved carriers are Movistar in Spain, Orange in Egypt, and TIM, Vodafone and Wind Tre in Italy, with a combined mobile subscribership of more than 150 million people. Continue reading GameMine Inks Distribution Partnership With Mobile Carriers

Rovio Said to Be Planning a $2B IPO as Early as Next Month

Finland-based Rovio Entertainment Oy, maker of the “Angry Birds” mobile games and movie, is said to be planning an IPO valued at $2 billion as early as September. “A listing would test investors’ appetite for entertainment software, a group whose shares have declined an average of 18 percent from their offer prices following IPOs this year,” reports Bloomberg, citing social gamer King Digital Entertainment (creator of “Candy Crush”) and South Korean publisher Netmarble Games (maker of “Lineage” and “Stone Age”) as examples. A successful IPO for Rovio could help finance “The Angry Birds Movie 2,” slated for a 2019 release. Continue reading Rovio Said to Be Planning a $2B IPO as Early as Next Month

Enhance Games Brings ‘Rez Infinite’ to HTC Vive, Oculus Rift

Game developer Enhance Games announced the availability of “Rez Infinite” for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift VR headsets, now accessible via Steam and the Oculus store. The VR version of the popular game debuted on PlayStation VR late last year and was quickly the top-rated VR title on Metacritic. “The game has collected more than 40 awards, including Best VR Game Winner at The Game Awards 2016,” reports VentureBeat. Enhance commissioned indie studios Monstars and Resonair to make the new VR versions of the game. Continue reading Enhance Games Brings ‘Rez Infinite’ to HTC Vive, Oculus Rift

HTC Exec Shares Lessons From Novel For a VR-First Future

Road to VR is featuring a guest article this week by Alvin Wang Graylin, China president of Vive at HTC, who sings the praises of Ernest Cline’s best-selling novel Ready Player One. The story depicts an existence in which “VR is intertwined into every aspect of our daily lives,” writes Graylin. He believes there are positive lessons to be learned from such a “VR-First future.” The book details tech “that has the potential to create truly transformative impact on our future lives, culture, and world,” which is why he makes sure every member of his China Vive team has a copy. In his article, Graylin outlines what he sees as the 16 key takeaways from Ready Player One.

Continue reading HTC Exec Shares Lessons From Novel For a VR-First Future

Smithsonian Art Museum, Intel Partner on Three VR Exhibits

The Smithsonian American Art Museum has partnered with Intel to create a room-scale VR demo of the art in one wing, for the enjoyment of far-flung art lovers. To produce the immersive experience, the two partners relied on studios including V.A.L.I.S., Framestore, xRez and 8i. The demonstration consists of three interactive experiences, and is a good case study on how museums can utilize virtual reality to extend their relationship with the public. Other museums, such as the British Museum, have also experimented with VR. Continue reading Smithsonian Art Museum, Intel Partner on Three VR Exhibits

Nvidia Integrates Computer Graphics and Artificial Intelligence

At this week’s SIGGRAPH 2017 conference in Los Angeles, Nvidia showed off a variety of technologies connecting graphics and artificial intelligence, delivering 10 research papers relevant to the company’s developers, including an AI-empowered method to create realistic facial animations. The company also showed off its Isaac robots, which vet AI algorithms inside its Project Holodeck virtual environment. By doing so, the robots will be able to learn inside a virtual space for collaboration, minimizing the potential of causing problems in the real world. Continue reading Nvidia Integrates Computer Graphics and Artificial Intelligence

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