Epic’s New Game Store Poses Threat to Steam’s Dominance

During The Game Awards last week, Epic Games debuted a new digital marketplace that offers a favorable 88/12 percent revenue split to game creators. By opening a new marketplace, the company may be establishing a game store competitor to Valve’s Steam, which has dominated PC game distribution for over ten years. Epic chief executive Tim Sweeney has also pledged to better support creators. Although the store’s first list of games is small, it will be part of Epic Launcher, the software required to update and play “Fortnite.” Continue reading Epic’s New Game Store Poses Threat to Steam’s Dominance

Observer Analytics Debuts Tool to Evaluate VR, AR Content

Observer Analytics unveiled its platform for quantifying virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality, to create key performance indicators (KPIs) for the industry. The platform was built from scratch to analyze the new and complex forms of engagement found in this immersive content, with the end goal of making it easier for developers to understand how users interact with their content. To create the platform, the company has raised $685,000, including a pre-seed round from Boost VC and Precursor Ventures. Continue reading Observer Analytics Debuts Tool to Evaluate VR, AR Content

NAB 2018: Artificial Intelligence Tools for Animation and VFX

Tools powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning can also be used in animation and visual effects. Nvidia senior solutions architect Rick Grandy noted that the benefit of such tools is that artists don’t have to replicate their own work. That includes deep learning used for realistic character motion created in real-time via game engines and AI, as well as a phase-functioned neural network for character control, whereby the network can be trained by motion capture or animation. Continue reading NAB 2018: Artificial Intelligence Tools for Animation and VFX

Google Unveils Poly API for Adding Free 3D Objects to AR/VR

Google just introduced Poly API, a spin-off of its recently introduced Poly, which is a large collection of royalty-free 3D objects and scenes that developers can integrate into their VR or AR apps and games. Poly API is aimed to allow developers to discover and work with assets in virtual reality. By providing such easy-to-use, high quality assets (which can be modified), Google hopes to help developers speed-up completion of AR and VR apps, thus providing more content for its Daydream platform. Continue reading Google Unveils Poly API for Adding Free 3D Objects to AR/VR

Google Debuts Spatial Audio SDK for Immersive Experiences

Google has launched Resonance Audio, a spatial audio software development kit based on technology from the company’s current VR Audio SDK. The latter was introduced with the Cardboard SDK in January 2016 and then integrated into the main Google VR SDK in May of the same year. The goal with Resonance Audio is to make it easier to develop for mobile and desktop platforms. The VR SDK audio engine already supports multiple platforms, but Google recognized that it could be “confusing and time-consuming” to work with various audio tools. Continue reading Google Debuts Spatial Audio SDK for Immersive Experiences

Disney Selects 11 Companies for 2017 Accelerator Program

The Walt Disney Company announced 11 tech and media companies will receive funding and support as part of the Disney Accelerator program, now in its fourth year. The companies will be given access to work space at Disney’s L.A. creative campus and guidance from entertainment and media technology leaders. The 2017 class covers a range of compelling areas such as artificial intelligence, eSports, messaging, online learning, robotics, video games and virtual reality. Among the 11 startups are Epic Games, creator of Unreal Engine tech, and location-based VR firm The VOID. Continue reading Disney Selects 11 Companies for 2017 Accelerator Program

Technicolor Experience Center Opens, Launches Mars Project

Technicolor officially opened its Technicolor Experience Center (TEC) for augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality last week, and announced an ambitious new project based on NASA research and images. The facility, on La Cienega in Los Angeles, launched last year and has been experimenting with immersive media. TEC has partnered with Hewlett-Packard and Nvidia to create a realistic simulation of what life could be on Mars for 1 million people. A community of engineers, designers, architects and artists will work under the direction of Technicolor to create this immersive experience. The project also involves Unreal Engine, Fusion, Autodesk and HTC Vive. Continue reading Technicolor Experience Center Opens, Launches Mars Project

NAB 2017: Technicolor Unveils Research and Trials in VR, AR

At NAB in Las Vegas, Technicolor gathered group chief technology officer Cristina Gomila, group SVP/CTO home division Jon Walkenhorst and Technicolor Experience Center head Marcie Jastrow to talk about the company’s work in immersion, 360-degree video, virtual reality and other nascent technologies. Jastrow pointed out that these are early days for virtual reality. “The technology is still rough and delivering experiences to headsets isn’t easy,” she said. Yet Technicolor has been involved in 18 VR projects in the last year. Continue reading NAB 2017: Technicolor Unveils Research and Trials in VR, AR

NAB 2017: Unreal Engine Promotes its Partner Collaborations

Epic’s Unreal Engine is best known as a game engine, but general manager Marc Petit introduced the company’s enterprise division, which focuses on everything but games. This was Unreal Engine’s first-ever NAB, but for Petit, who worked many years at Softimage and attended numerous NABs, the meeting of the digital image and the game engine was more than symbolic. He used the press conference to showcase the work of several media and entertainment partners, including VizRT, The Future Group, House of Moves and Ross Video. Continue reading NAB 2017: Unreal Engine Promotes its Partner Collaborations

Google Offers Daydream SDK and Unity Support to Developers

Having exited beta, Google’s VR platform Daydream is now available to developers who can use the VR SDK to build virtual reality experiences for Daydream-capable phones and headsets. Daydream is already baked into Android 7.0 (Nougat) and can also integrate with Unity and Unreal game engines. Apps to be available at launch include CNN, HBO, Hulu, IMAX, MLB, NBA, Netflix, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, as well as Ubisoft and Electronic Arts games. Daydream was first introduced at Google I/O in May. Continue reading Google Offers Daydream SDK and Unity Support to Developers

FOVE, a VR Headset with Eye-Tracking, Thrives on Kickstarter

FOVE, which claims to be the only virtual reality headset with built-in eye-tracking, has surpassed its Kickstarter goal by nearly $100,000 with 37 days left to go in the campaign. A $399 donation awards backers with a headset and development kit, and FOVE plans to deliver both by May 2016. Eye-tracking not only enables users to play games by aiming their eyes, it opens the door to foveated rendering, which reduces the computational demands on real-time processing and provides contextual feedback, avatar eye-mapping, and more. Continue reading FOVE, a VR Headset with Eye-Tracking, Thrives on Kickstarter

Will the iPhone 5s Lead To a Sea Change for Mobile Gaming?

Donald Mustard, co-founder and creative director of Chair, developed “Infinity Blade 3,” tried it on the iPhone 5s, and was impressed by how it played. While gaming on Apple’s new iPhone, Mustard discovered much more than he expected. The game had more color, improved resolution and better graphics. A new game-friendly smartphone may generate interest from children and teens who are gaming more on mobile devices, and at younger ages. Continue reading Will the iPhone 5s Lead To a Sea Change for Mobile Gaming?