The VR market just got a whole lot more interesting over the last 24 hours, with a new consortium that involves NVIDIA, AMD, Valve, Oculus, and Microsoft introducing the new VirtualLink specification.
VirtualLink is a new open standard for the next generation of VR headsets that will see the entire VR experience powered by a single USB Type-C connector, removing the current need of HDMI and multiple USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports for the HMD, cameras, sensors, and power.
VirtualLink uses a single USB Type-C connector that provide four high-speed HBR3 DisplayPort lanes, something that is future-proof for next-gen VR headsets. There's USB 3.1 data for high-res cameras and sensors, and a huge 27W of power on tap with the new VirtualLink specification.
Magic Leap has finally announced some of the specifications that'll be inside of its upcoming Magic Leap One mixed reality headset.
During a presentation in the last 24 hours, Magic Leap announced that Magic Leap One will be powered with an NVIDIA Tegra TX2 chip with a Pascal-based GPU. NVIDIA's original Tegra TX2 featured two Denver 2.0 cores and four ARM Cortex-A57 cores, but Magic Leap One will feature just a single Denver core, and two 64-bit A57 cores.
Inside, MLO will also pack an NVIDIA Pascal-based GPU with 256 CUDA cores. Magic Leap has said that the GPU in question is capable of pumping out 200,000 to 400,000 polygons on-screen, with the company expecting this number to increase as developers get used to the hardware.
Microsoft seemed keen to push VR into the arms of Xbox gamers, but now it seems they're putting the brakes on any virtual/augmented/mixed reality devices for their Xbox consoles.
Mike Nichols, Microsoft's chief marketing officer of gaming explained in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz: "we don't have any plans specific to Xbox consoles in virtual reality or mixed reality". He continued, saying that the PC is "probably the best platform" for virtual and mixed reality experiences, and that with Xbox "our focus is primarily on experiences you would play on your TV".
If we rewind the clock back to 2016, where Xbox boss Phil Spencer said that the named-at-the-time Project Scorpio console that later became the Xbox One X, would support "high-end VR" like the PC. Microsoft went as far as teaming with Oculus to support Xbox controllers with the Rift, too.
Tonight at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Qualcomm has debuted their brand new Snapdragon XR1 Platform. This is the world's first dedicated extended reality (XR) platform.
Qualcomm's latest offering gives mainstream users high-quality extended reality experiences while enabling OEMs to develop mainstream devices. Special optimizations for Augmented Reality (AR) experiences as well as integrating artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities will provide devices with better interactivity, power consumption and thermal efficiency.
The focuses of the new platform are to provide improvements in audio and visual technologies, as well as user interaction. Ultra high-definition 4K video resolution at a rate of up to 60 frames per second for high-quality VR HMDs will enable consumers to be immersed in their favorite movies, programs and sports.
Oculus has just unveiled its latest prototype VR headset, something it calls Half Dome. The new headset has an interesting twist in the world of VR HMDs by using varifocal displays.
These new displays move up and down depending on where you're looking in the VR world, with a tease of eye-tracking technology from Oculus in their new Half Dome prototype VR headset. Right now all VR headsets have trouble displaying items close to your eyes in a good way, with these new varifocal displays showing them much sharper and in more clarity.
Oculus has a wider 140-degree field of view compared to the Rift with its smaller 110-degree FOV, which lets you see more at the corners of your eyes in your peripheral vision. Even with all of the new tech on-board, Half Dome is the same physical size and weight of the current Rift headset.
Facebook and Oculus have announced something surprising during their F8 developer conference: Oculus Venues. Oculus Venues is a new app that Oculus made in-house that will handle live sporting events, comedy shows, and concerts that are shot and broadcasted in VR.
Facebook and Oculus partnered up with multiple companies to include content from the likes of NextVR, who have been streaming sporting events with its own partnerships with companies like the NBA, NFL, NHL, and WWE.
NextVR CEO David Cole explains: "Oculus Venues is a bold move to provide profound social VR engagement and we are honored to deliver such an important part of this new product release from Oculus. NextVR has built a passionate fan base around leading VR content experiences. Venues will satisfy our fans who want to enjoy this type of content on a massively social scale".
Oculus Venues will launch on both the Oculus Go and Gear VR headsets on May 30.
The rumors of Apple working on their own AR/VR headset have been around for years, but the most exciting rumors of their purported headset have just arrived, teasing dual 8K displays.
CNET is reporting that Apple's purported 'T288' headset rocks dual 8K displays (one 8K display per eye) but unlike Mashable who seem to not know how resolutions and pixels work (they said "Most impressive is the resolution it reportedly packs: an 8K display per eye, for a total resolution of 16K. That would be an insane amount of pixels") it is 'just' 8K per eye (7680 x 4320).
The site reports that Apple's purported headset would "connect to a dedicated box using a high-speed, short-range wireless technology, according to a person familiar with the company's plans. The box, which would be powered by a custom Apple processor more powerful than anything currently available, would act as the brain for the AR/VR headset. In its current state, the box resembles a PC tower, but it won't be an actual Mac computer".
Leap Motion has teased the future of human-computer interfaces with their new Project North Star, a prototype headset that some of the virtual world, overlayed in the real one.
North Star is a full augmented reality platform that Leap Motion says "allows us to chart and sail the waters of a new world, where the digital and physical substrates exist as a single fluid experience. The first step of this endeavor was to create a system with the technical specifications of a pair of augmented glasses from the future. This meant our prototype had to far exceed the state of the art in resolution, field-of-view, and framerate".
Inside, North Star rocks two low-persistence 1600x1440 displays at 120FPS with a huge 100-degree field of view. Leap Motion includes a "world-class" 180-degree hand tracking sensor that is "a system unlike anything anyone had seen before".
The Vive VR headset will turn two years old on April 5, and HTC is celebrating with a batch of free VR games.
Having played VR quite a bit on my Vive headset I notice that there's a third cost barrier outside of the PC gaming hardware and headset cost: the cost of the games themselves. Most VR games are about $20-30 a pop and offer limited, smaller-slice interactive experiences. Which is actually fine in terms of content, but the content-price ratio doesn't exactly match up sometimes. So I try to snag up any free games I can when I can.
If you're like me, then you're in luck: the Vive team is giving out $50 in free games from April 5-8 on its Viveport platform, as per an official Vive blog post. The games themselves don't look amazing, but if done right any VR game can be fun.
HTC has bowed to tons of feedback and will offer an Vive Pro bundle that includes sensors and controllers for $1099.
In a recent blog post, Vive General Manager Dan O'Brien confirmed the Vive Pro was essentially meant to be an upgrade for existing Vive owners rather than an entry-level option for new buyers, and that's why the company initially offered the $799 headset-only SKU.
Following a big hubbub over the $800 headset's pricing without the extra peripherals needed to actually make it work, the company will sell a Vive Pro Starter Kit for $1099. For comparison's sake the original HTC Vive launched in 2016 for $799 but included two controllers and lighthouse sensors for room-scale VR. The main selling point of the Vive Pro is its upgraded 1440 x 1600 resolution alongside built-in audio, the latter of which is missing with the original headset.
"After reading your feedback, we've realized we created some confusion that we want to address today. First, we introduced Vive Pro as an HMD-only upgrade because it represented the quickest path to market for the new headset. Since Vive Pro works with both SteamVR 1.0 and 2.0 tracking, we believed an HMD-only upgrade was the right option for the most demanding VR user, as well as VR arcades and enterprises that already use Vive," O'Brien said in the post.