Facebook Unveils New Collection of Virtual Reality Advances

At Oculus Connect, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and AR/VR head Anthony Bosworth showed the next version of the Oculus Quest, which will offer hand-tracking without controllers or external sensors. Also unveiled is Horizon, a new form of social VR to rival VRChat and Rec Room; it will go into a closed beta in early 2020. Horizon provides tools for the user to build her own environments where people can congregate for multiplayer games. Other long-term plans include AR glasses, Live Maps and “shared spaces.” Continue reading Facebook Unveils New Collection of Virtual Reality Advances

VR Gaming Turns to Cryptocurrencies for Buying Virtual Assets

VR games and cryptocurrencies are joining forces. Social virtual reality company High Fidelity, co-founded by “Second Life” creator Philip Rosedale, began developing a blockchain for in-game cryptocurrency and intellectual protection in 2017. Now the company has debuted Avatar Island, a VR shopping center for avatars created by digital artists around the globe, and will accept payment in a new cryptocurrency running on blockchain. Rosedale notes that Linden Dollar for “Second Life” was one of the first digital goods currencies. Continue reading VR Gaming Turns to Cryptocurrencies for Buying Virtual Assets

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

Metaverse: Mozilla’s WebVR Helps Create Immersive Internet

With more focus on the so-called “Immersive Web” touted by Google, Oculus, Samsung and Microsoft, Mozilla’s free JavaScript API WebVR is experiencing a bump in popularity. WebVR is prized for its ability to enable immersive experiences without downloads or installs. Now, Mozilla is using WebVR to create an immersive version of the Internet dubbed Metaverse, a term first used in the 1992 sci-fi novel “Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson that described a virtual domain without physical or social status limitations. Continue reading Metaverse: Mozilla’s WebVR Helps Create Immersive Internet

Second Life Creators to Launch Virtual Reality Project Sansar

For 13 years, San Francisco-based Linden Lab has been presiding over Second Life. Now, the company is about to create a virtual reality network, dubbed Project Sansar, to provide an environment for individuals and businesses to experiment in VR. Sansar has been constructed to be incredibly scalable and immense, which could be either exciting or daunting to potential users. Linden Lab hopes it’s the former, and that people will use Sansar to build innovative VR worlds for problem-solving and social interaction. Continue reading Second Life Creators to Launch Virtual Reality Project Sansar

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

Digital Hollywood Panel Discusses Interfaces and Future of VR

An all-star panel of futurists and inventors featuring John Underkoffler, CEO & chief scientist, Oblong Industries; Philip Rosedale, CEO of High Fidelity and founder of virtual world “Second Life;” Berkeley academic Jack McCauley, founder & president of McCauley Labs and a co-founder and chief engineer of Oculus; and Richard Marks, director of PlayStation Magic Lab looked above and beyond the introduction of VR to articulate an array of visions and technical challenges yet to be mastered. The panel took place at Digital Hollywood and was moderated by ETC project manager Philip Lelyveld. Continue reading Digital Hollywood Panel Discusses Interfaces and Future of VR

Virtual Reality Startups Define Diverse Facets of New Medium

The tech world is awash in virtual reality startups, each of them focusing on developing different aspects of the new medium. Oculus VR, which was purchased by Facebook last year for $2 billion, has made great strides in several areas, including its virtual reality head-mounted display Oculus Rift, but is also working on Oculus Cinema, a consumer-facing movie-watching app. Other companies are creating avatars, virtual worlds and virtual games, and a camera that allows viewers to go on tours of homes for sale and hotel rooms. Continue reading Virtual Reality Startups Define Diverse Facets of New Medium

Second Life’s Linden Lab Debuts New Virtual Reality Project

Linden Lab, which innovated the virtual world Second Life in 2003, is entering virtual reality with Project Sansar. The company has been working behind the scenes to build virtual worlds for Oculus Rift and other VR headsets, and relies on its experience with Second Life to inform Project Sansar. Second Life is user-centric, allowing players to create and explore virtual landscapes of their own making. Project Sansar, on the other hand, allows brands to build VR worlds and link to them from websites or third-party apps. Continue reading Second Life’s Linden Lab Debuts New Virtual Reality Project

OnLive Shifts Strategy Beyond Simply Streaming Games Online

OnLive, a startup that provides users with online video game streaming, is shifting its strategy to allow users to play games that are purchased from other services, as well as access games without being connected to the Internet. OnLive’s original goal was to enable users to play sophisticated games over the Internet, and eliminate the need to buy hardware or install software to play them. OnLive’s service could be compared to Netflix, but for video games instead of movies. Continue reading OnLive Shifts Strategy Beyond Simply Streaming Games Online

NSA and GCHQ Monitor Gaming Activity, Search for Terrorists

The National Security Agency and its UK sister agency GCHQ have been deploying real-life agents into fictional worlds like “World of Warcraft” and “Second Life,” collecting gamers’ chats and even attempting to recruit potential informants, according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden. The agencies claimed that real-life terrorists might be playing and plotting within these games, suggesting that the gamer communities may provide intelligence on terrorist activity. Continue reading NSA and GCHQ Monitor Gaming Activity, Search for Terrorists