Social VR Platforms Proliferate in the Next Digital Land Grab

The typical VR experience is solitary, but an increasing number of companies are exploring the possibility of virtual realty in the context of a social platform. That trend was made clear by Microsoft’s acquisition of AltspaceVR. High Fidelity is an environment that lets users create their own avatars and social worlds, with a marketplace where they can buy avatars and other 3D elements. And vTime, a stationary platform, lets four people at a time engage in fully rendered environments. Continue reading Social VR Platforms Proliferate in the Next Digital Land Grab

Samsung Takes on Rift With Windows Mixed Reality Headset

Microsoft and Samsung have partnered on a new virtual reality headset, HMD Odyssey, that relies on the former’s Windows Mixed Reality, Windows 10 software for immersive computing on devices and headsets. Samsung is not the first company to base its VR headsets on Windows 10: Acer, Dell, HP and Lenovo Group are all building such VR devices. But Samsung is Microsoft’s most important partner thus far as the computing company faces Apple, Google, Facebook and other major rivals in the virtual reality/augmented reality arena. Continue reading Samsung Takes on Rift With Windows Mixed Reality Headset

Presidential Race Gets Streaming Treatment Across Platforms

Election coverage focused on presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will get a major boost from social media, streaming technology and even virtual reality. Facebook plans to live-stream the upcoming debates with help from ABC News, while a Twitter-Bloomberg partnership will bring live streams of the debates to Twitter. YouTube, meanwhile, is slated to live-stream the debates from PBS, Telemundo and The Washington Post. And starting last night, NBC with AltspaceVR began streaming election coverage in virtual reality. Continue reading Presidential Race Gets Streaming Treatment Across Platforms

Testing VR and AR as Next Wave of Videoconferencing Tools

Several companies and academic institutions are studying the use of virtual reality as a way to replace the videoconference call. Among those experimenting in the field is the NYU Media Research Lab, which showed a video of researchers using Samsung Gear VR headsets to collaborate in a simulated environment. The Bank of Ireland and U.K. utility National Grid PLC have also tried out early VR software. Skype, the Microsoft company often used for videoconference calls, is working on an augmented reality solution. Continue reading Testing VR and AR as Next Wave of Videoconferencing Tools

Virtual Reality Avatars May Soon Replace Video Conferencing

Microsoft, Magic Leap, Facebook and other companies are working on technologies that may soon make video conferencing obsolete in favor of wearable face computers that permit VR conferencing. Some idealists picture a future where everyone will communicate via a digital persona, not a huge leap for those already using social networks for professional endeavors. A solution such as AltspaceVR allows the user to create avatars that are “cautiously cartoonish,” rather than going after realism, with customizable skin and eye colors. Continue reading Virtual Reality Avatars May Soon Replace Video Conferencing

DirecTV Launches First VR App to Promote Big Knockout Boxing

DirecTV just released its first virtual reality app, BKB VR, which stands for Big Knockout Boxing. Not for use with live games, BKB VR will display the event held on June 27 at Las Vegas’s Mandalay Bay, which was recorded in 360-degree video. Available for Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR headsets, BKB VR can be downloaded on Google Play for Android phones and the App Store for iPhones. The fight footage is also available via Samsung’s Milk VR service and the Oculus Store. Continue reading DirecTV Launches First VR App to Promote Big Knockout Boxing

With New Funding, AltspaceVR Plans More Virtual Gatherings

AltspaceVR, a virtual reality chat room and communication platform, just raised $10.3 million, which it will use to work towards a business plan that could include paid virtual gatherings with celebrities. Founded in 2013, Altspace launched its VR chat room in June. Its global user base spends time on the site chatting, browsing, playing games or watching videos; the software runs on Oculus, Mac and PC desktops and 3D TVs. Users can add a Leap Motion or Kinect motion sensor to add gestures to their robot avatars. Continue reading With New Funding, AltspaceVR Plans More Virtual Gatherings

Venture-Backed AltspaceVR Creates Virtual Reality Chat Room

AltspaceVR, a virtual reality communications platform backed by Google Ventures, enables multiple users from anywhere in the world to gather and share a virtual space. Unlike the text-based chat rooms of the 1990s, AltspaceVR uses computer cameras and Leap Motion trackers to translate users’ movements, mannerisms and gestures into the virtual world. It has been described as “Second Life for the first person.” AltspaceVR, now open to the public, was founded in 2013 and is led by Eric Romo, a former SpaceX propulsion lead analyst. Continue reading Venture-Backed AltspaceVR Creates Virtual Reality Chat Room