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Oculus is all systems go for the unveiling of the first consumer Rift headset on June 11 at the "Step into the Rift" event, but Sony has just announced a new game development company for all things VR development.
North West Studio is a UK-based company that will be developing content for Sony's Project Morpheus headset, with jobs listed with the studio referencing an "exciting and rare opportunity to join an ambitious new studio to create original games exclusively for Project Morpheus, PlayStation's VR platform".
Sony's new studio is located in northwestern England, where the Japanese gaming company wants to build a "small but highly experienced team who want to build great games to showcase this exciting new immersive technology". We should hopefully see what North West Studio will be working on at E3 2015 next month.
Apple Watch owners might be receiving an update to their wrists shortly, with the company pushing out the 1.0.1 update which is said to improve performance "across the board" according to Engadget.
The update to Watch will also help with third-party apps on your iPhone, which took a considerable amount of time to launch until this new patch. Engadget reports that the "difference isn't dramatic" in their experience, but "it is there". Siri voice recognition is improved with the new Watch update, as well as fitness data calculation such as calories and distance.
The interface now supports seven additional languages, including Brazilian Portugese and Turkish.
With E3 2015 just a month away now, Oculus VR has just announced a new "Step into the Rift" event for June 11 in San Francisco, where we should be introduced to the first consumer version of the Oculus Rift, CV1.
Last week we found out the recommended requirements to run the Oculus Rift, where you'll need a mid-range or better video card, and a semi-decent but not over-the-top PC to run CV1. Road to VR reports that they've "received confirmation" that the Oculus Rift CV1 runs 2160x1200 at 90Hz split over two displays, pushing a huge 233 million pixels per second.
Some might remember the tag that Palmer Luckey used during the Kickstarter for the Oculus Rift, which was "Step into the Game". This new "Step into the Rift" tease is a nice throwback to the Kickstarter campaign, as we are about to learn about CV1. The unveiling of Rift CV1 is big enough that it needs its own event, so that it won't get lost in the sea of announcements during E3 2015, which runs between June 16-18.
A growing number of companies want to break into virtual reality, and while most of the attention is on the Oculus VR Rift headset, there are opportunities for others in the market. One such company is FOVE, which hopes its hands-free virtual reality experience can yield an even more immersive experience.
"Eye-tracking is game-changing in VR," said Lochlainn Wilson, co-developer and CTO at FOVE, in a statement published by Reuters. "It allows for much more complex and subtle interaction than has been possible previously. By knowing exactly where the user is looking, characters in virtual reality can react to your gaze and return it naturally or avoid it or respond or question."
Wilson also points out that new possibilities are opened when eye-tracking is used in VR, creating "really sensitive emotional experiences" that more closely mimic real life. The headset has two built-in cameras that are able to track eye movement - scanning the eyes and tracking iris movement.
Rejoice! Oculus VR won't block pornography on the Rift virtual reality headset, in a change of pace from Facebook's typical stance on adult-themed content shared through the social networking website.
"The [Oculus] Rift is an open platform," said Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus VR, while speaking during a tech conference in Silicon Valley. "We don't control what software can run on it." It was an open and honest answer from Luckey, as panelists representing other companies with VR hardware carefully tried to dodge similar questions.
Even so, Facebook will still have full control of all apps and software available in the Oculus Store - but won't block third-party apps that provide porn. The decision means adult entertainment producers can create their own channels to release Rift-based porn apps if they choose to do so.
Casey Hudson, former BioWare executive and creative director of Mass Effect, will join Microsoft to serve as creative director for HoloLens, Xbox and "other awesome projects." Hudson will reportedly spend most of his time focused on HoloLens, serving as creative director for the blossoming project.
"I am particularly excited about working on HoloLens," Hudson said in a statement. "I was fortunate to try an early prototype of HoloLens before it was announced, and I was blown away by the technology and what it was already capable of. Walking on Mars while sipping coffee in an office setting, Skyping with a friend who can draw on the walls of my environment, sculpting an object in 3D modeling software while a hologram of it sits on a table next to me..."
This is a strong effort by Microsoft to bring knowledgeable, passionate people to HoloLens, with the company expecting big things from its augmented reality project. Hudson left BioWare last August, welcoming new challenges, though apparently took some personal time before announcing he was joining Microsoft.
There is extremely high interest in the Apple Watch smartwatch in China, helping drive sales of the wearable, according to a survey from UBS. The company previously estimated there would be 40 million Apple Watch units sold during the company's fiscal 2016, but has decreased that number down to 31 million units.
"It's finding that Apple continues to be extremely strong, the stickiness is very clear, and it's China, China, China," said Steve Milunovich, managing director at UBS, in a statement on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street." "We're finding that Apple's retention rate is very strong in China, and we're also finding that actually Apple Watch interest is highest in China relative to the other five countries that we surveyed."
Prior to the global launch of the Apple Watch, analysts expected China would have a major role in selling Apple Watch units. Consumers are frustrated with supply problems related to the Apple Watch, with eight percent of consumers claiming they may purchase a watch model.
Oculus VR announced the recommended requirements for its Rift headset yesterday, with the Facebook-owned VR company set to launch their first consumer VR headset in early 2016.
When the Oculus Rift does launch, it will not work with Apple Mac or Linux systems, at launch. Oculus VR has been working on Rift support for the Mac and Linux for quite sometime now, but the VR startup paused development of Rift support for those operating systems to get the Windows-based software ready for the launch in Q1 2016. Atman Binstock, Oculus VR's Chief Architect, explains: "We want to get back to development for OS X and Linux but we don't have a timeline".
Binstock added: "Note that almost no current laptops have the GPU performance for the recommended spec, though upcoming mobile GPUs may be able to support this level of performance". This will change in the near future, especially with 16nm GPUs and HBM right around the corner. Technology is shrinking and getting faster, quicker than ever.
Professor John Rogers, materials scientist from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, hopes his team's Biostamp prototypes prove to push biometrics to the next level. Using the Biostamp, they can monitor and identify stimulation functions, such as firing neurons.
Before the Biostamp and other competing sensors, researchers would need to use complicated and bulky helmets with large amounts of heavy electrodes. These helmets could only be worn for a limited amount of time, in a controlled environment, though the Biostamp could eliminate these hurdles.
"The history of electronics is about getting closer to the individual," Rogers recently said in a statement to CNN. "At first it was a computer down the hall, followed by a desktop, then a laptop, a phone in your pocket and a watch on your wrist. Now it could be electronics integrated the skin, bioelectronics, and fully implantable devices. To go fully into the realm of integrated electronics makes sense to me."
Oculus VR has released the recommended requirements for the Oculus Rift, which will launch in the first quarter of 2016. You'll need an Intel Core i5-4590 or equivalent, along with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 290 to get an optimal experience out of the VR headset.
The Facebook-owned VR giant has said: "The goal is for all Rift games and applications to deliver a great experience on this configuration. Ultimately, we believe this will be fundamental to VR's success, as developers can optimize and tune their game for a known specification, consistently achieving presence and simplifying development". The full specs you'll need:
- NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD 290 equivalent or greater
- Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater
- 8GB+ RAM
- Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
- 2x USB 3.0 ports
- Windows 7 SP1 or newer