The company won €10,000 ($11,200) cash, a year’s free access to an incubation space within the Basque technology park network and potential investment funding of up to $560,000.
Addressing concerns that using data to make development and production decisions could be viewed as anti-artistic, Krause explained that, “Cinema never stops being a business, and the key is to make a movie that is profitable so that creators can continue filming and producing new art.”
After a brief merienda, a Spanish not-yet lunch break, Deluxe Spain lead matte painter Lucía Peralta, a veteran of productions like “Game of Thrones” and “Aquaman,” gave an in-depth Masterclass on her artform.
“Platforms already have all this info, and we saw this as a democratization of that data,” she added.” />
Other pitches came from Irish startup Volograms, which transforms video taken from various angles into volumetric holograms which can then be inserted into 3D production.
“We are creating a tool that takes decision making beyond a human response to individual experiences and bases it on the performance of hundreds of films across many markets,” said Largo’s Javier Krause after accepting the award.
Finally, jury head Vanessa Ruiz Larrea, communication director at Deluxe Spain, announced LargoAI as the day’s big winner.
Dibulitoon, the Basque production company behind the upcoming 3D animated feature “Elcano & Magellan: The First Voyage Around the World” provided a VR presentation of their transmedia strategy for the film.
Rapid-fire presentations followed the pitches from 2deo, the audiovisual laboratory of San Sebastian’s Tabakalera; Gosho, a 3D and VFX company; Tecnalia, a local tech company with more than 1,800 employees; Vitoria-based communications company Alegria Activity; Vicomtech, a local graphics, visual computing and multimedia research center; and San Sebastian TV producers Pausoka.
“If we can provide one more element that helps them find success, I don’t see that as getting in the way of art,” he said.
SAN SEBASTIAN  —  Swiss artificial intelligence and data analytics company LargoAI won Sunday’s first-ever San Sebastian Film Festival Zinemaldia & Technology Startup Challenge.
AR software which allows for studio-level post-production inside a virtual setting, Flow Cut removes the need for equipment beyond a computer and VR headset.
And is an already-running SVOD platform which uses blockchain to ensure that copyright holders of streamed content are compensated when their content is viewed.
Spanish Shield by Brave is an AI age verification system which integrates into digital content distribution platforms and uses device cameras to limit age-restricted content.
“We were three jurors; one from research and technology, one from the business side and me from audiovisual sector,” she explained to Variety. “While all five projects were fantastic, when considering each point of view, this project best addressed issues in all three areas.”
From early in the screenwriting process through development and production, the software can help predict audience responses. Evaluated on a country-by-country basis, it can also be used in distribution planning. LargoAI’s software provides data-driven filmmaking strategies, similar to those used by major VOD platforms which aggregate and often horde their own user-driven data.

Developing.” />
2.7 billion people use at least one of these apps every month. Monthly actives were 2.41 billion at the end of June, which means that both daily and monthly active user metrics grew 8% year-over-year. Facebook also announced solid growth numbers for the quarter, disclosing that it reached 1.59 billion daily active users on its core platform in June. Altogether, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, or Messenger are now being used by 2.1 billion people every day.
Facebook investors had their eyes firmly on the company's Q2 numbers Wednesday, ignoring anything and everything that could have clouded the pretty picture: The company's stock went up as much as 4% in after-hours trading after it revealed that it once again beat the expectations of the market in its most recent quarter.
Facebook still generates the vast majority of its revenue with advertising, with mobile advertising 94% of all of the company’s ad revenue. However, the company is also growing its non-ad revenue to $262 million for the quarter, up from $193 million in Q2 of 2018.
"In June 2019, we were informed by the FTC that it had opened an antitrust investigation of our company," the company said. "In addition, in July 2019, the Department of Justice announced that it will begin an antitrust review of market-leading online platforms." That's despite the fact that Facebook used its earnings release to warn that it continues to be under investigation by regulators.
Analysts had expected earnings of $1.87 per share on revenue of $16.51 billion.
Facebook’s earnings report came hours after the FTC announced a settlement with the company that includes a $5 billion fine over privacy charges, as well as the formation of an independent oversight board. Facebook had anticipated that fine last quarter, setting aside $3 billion for a future settlement in Q1. Those two investigations come in addition to a separate FTC privacy investigation.
Its net profit for the quarter was $2.62 billion, compared to $5.1 billion in Q2 of 2018. The company generated $16.62 billion in revenue in Q4 of 2019, compared to $13.23 billion during the same quarter a year ago. This translates to diluted earnings of $0.91 per share ($1.74 in Q2 2018).
Earnings were impacted by the allocation of another $2 billion towards that $5 billion FTC fine, as well as $1 billion towards potential tax liabilities stemming from a current dispute about the accounting of stock-based compensation. Without those, earnings per share would have been $1.99.
“This is an important milestone,” Zuckerberg said during Wednesday’s earnings call, while at the same time cautioning that it would require some time to scale this part of the business. This includes VR hardware revenue; Facebook introduced its wireless all-in-one Oculus Quest headset in Q2.
Zuckerberg painted the settlement as a positive step during the company’s earnings call, saying that it paved the way for Facebook to develop products under a clear framework going forward. “I expect it will take us longer to ship new products,” he said. However, he also cautioned that it would take some time to implement, which could have some impact on product development.

Check out the demo Leo posted below on how he tied his physical space to a VR space that's not modeled after his apartment, in which gaps are used to keep users away from objects that should be avoided. The user can make full use of the space they're in, without being led straight into objects that the VR world can't account for, like a coffee table that's in the way or having to go into a separate room. This is a pretty exciting experiment, as VR use that is tied to accurate dimensions in the real world ("location-based AR," as Leo explains) means movement in, say, a VR video game will feel less restrictive.
For more on the Oculus Quest and the future of VR, check out this Variety feature.” /> Leo gave a quick step-by-step of his process on Twitter.
"My rooms were completely empty, so I thought, 'What if I used VR to visualize what different furniture options would look like before I actually buy the pieces?'" "The first steps date back two years, when I moved into an apartment in San Francisco," Leo told Digg.
So how did he do it? To make a long explanation short, Leo first took many photos of his empty San Francisco apartment to create a photogrammetry scan of the space.
Leo then used Unreal Engine 4 and assets from the Unreal Marketplace (Assetsville Town pack, specifically) to put the virtual furniture in his virtual apartment space with accurate dimensions compared to his real space and furniture.
Leo then posted videos and explanations on Twitter, as spotted by Digg. Virtual reality developer Mohen Leo decided to recreate his apartment in VR using Unreal assets to use with his new Oculus Quest, and the results are pretty dang cool.

It's the kind of thing you really need to see for yourself, so check out the short video demonstration below. Using his phone as a camera, under his nose, Leo tracked his movement around his actual apartment while walking "virtually" through his VR-recreation of his apartment.

Both approaches unite in that they very much depend on a view of the real world, provided either through phone cameras or translucent glasses. Microsoft, Magic Leap and some other AR startups have been building and selling headsets that offer a glasses-like form factor, complete with AR games and enterprise applications.
Will consumers have a switch on their smart glasses that will allow them to block out the real world and transition to a VR experience? What that convergence will actually look like is a lot harder to fathom, especially as the device form factors are still very much evolving. Will their futuristic mixed reality contact lenses ominously turn black whenever they ask a voice assistant to transport them to a VR world?
After all, tracking and video pass-through rely on always-on cameras, which could result in companies ingesting huge amounts of visual and spatial information. That kind of fluid transition between different modes of immersion also comes with a lot of challenges around safety as well as privacy.
But with its integrated tracking, the Quest can also teach us a thing or two about the future of virtual and augmented reality. Facebook’s new Oculus Quest headset is a great gaming device that simplifies virtual reality (VR), doing away with the need for an expensive PC and external tracking hardware.
It also hints at the another possibility for the convergence of AR and VR: Users of future headsets or glasses may not just have a switch to choose between AR and VR, but also make that transition as they physically move through space. But even with those visual constraints, walking up to a Quest guardian and sticking your head through it feels like a profound transition from one world to another.
Check out the Quest Guardian in action in this YouTube video:
But even in VR, users do have to be mindful of the real world — especially if they don’t want to accidentally crash into their living room bookshelf. Facebook’s new Oculus Quest suggests another possibility. The Quest is still a true VR device, and Facebook doesn’t pretend to offer any AR capabilities with it.
Virtual reality (VR), on the other hand, has been all about immersion, with dedicated headsets like the Quest as well as Facebook’s Oculus Rift, HTC’s Vive and Sony’s Playstation VR system offering users access to immersive games and stories. All these devices completely block out the real world, transporting users into virtual living rooms, space stations or even into the middle of an animated movie.
But to truly be prepared, we might have to follow their work closely, and at times even walk up to their virtual boundaries, ready to take another step.” /> Luckily, we’ll have some time to figure out those issues while companies like Apple and Facebook work on their future mixed reality hardware.
That experience of the real world lurking just beyond the borders of your VR playspace is oddly fascinating. The cameras are primarily meant to track the controllers used with the headset, as well as the position of the headset itself in a 3D space, making it possible to lean into VR experiences, and reach out for virtual objects. The Quest uses its integrated cameras for video pass-through, which explains why the images are as low-fidelity as they are.
It is especially popular on smart phones, with companies like Snapchat, Facebook, Apple and Google all shipping technologies that enable AR filters, lenses and similar effects. Those two areas of immersive computing have long proceeded on separate tracks. Augmented reality (AR) overlays digital objects over a view of the real world.
Upon first putting on the headset in a new environment, users get to see a grayscale, low-resolution view of the real world, and are then being asked to map out their play space. Take a step back, and you are back in VR. After that first setup, a grid appears every time a user is in danger of leaving that play space when in VR. Go further, and the Quest switches back to the grayscale view of the real world. The Quest solves this issue with what is being called a guardian system.

Location-based entertainment spaces of the future may also use these same kinds of transitions for mixed reality experiences, effortlessly allowing users to walk into and out of immersive worlds. And while the Quest currently uses a guardian system to keep you safe in VR, future guardian systems may be outward-facing, and alert you that immersion is just a step away. Entering one area of your home may trigger VR mode, while another may lead to a transition to an AR experience.
After all, consumers don’t buy one phone for voice calls and one for video chats, and they don’t have two separate laptops for word processing and spreadsheets. That notion, also known as mixed reality, makes a lot of sense. Experts have long predicted that these two paths of immersive computing will eventually converge, with one device offering both virtual and augmented reality experiences.

In 2018, the video games market generated $131 billion, with mobile gaming outpacing revenue made by pc and console gaming.
More and more games are shifting towards the free-to-play with optional in-game purchases, in part due to the success of games like "Fortnite."
Looking ahead, the biggest revenue drivers anticipated continue to be mobile gaming, as well as innovative technology like cloud gaming and VR gaming.
Ed Thomas, GlobalData's principal analyst for Technology Thematic Research commented in the press release detailing the new report, and explained how innovative technologies contribute to the business growth of the video games industry.
Since PlayStation Now began offering a download service for its games in September, play time per user increased.” /> Network limitations do seem to be a concern for consumers, currently, as a slow connection could hamper the gaming experience.
Streaming games, also called cloud gaming, will see more growth in the future. Sony recently shared that its game streaming subscription service, PlayStation Now has increased in popularity and led to increased revenue for the company in the past year. Other companies, including Microsoft, are already developing their own cloud gaming platforms.
“Today’s video games industry is in the throes of a huge transformation from a product-oriented business to an as-a-service model," Thomas said. "At the same time, new technologies like 5G, cloud, and virtual reality will usher in a new phase of innovation, while new business models like support for in-game micropayments are already changing the economics of gaming.”
"Major games companies are racing to become the Netflix of games, driven by rapidly increasing viewership on existing streaming channels. “Cloud gaming is evolving into a global phenomenon," Thomas explained. However, latency and bandwidth limitations will serve as a brake on the development of mobile gaming services. The maturing of cloud technologies and development of 5G will reduce these network issues, creating an increasingly competitive market in which several leaders have already emerged.”
The video games market could become a $300 billion industry by 2025, with the growth of mobile gaming and innovative offerings, like cloud gaming, according to a new report from GlobalData.

While this latest wave of VR excitement has been marked by billion-dollar investments, a broadening swath of different sorts of headsets, and an impressive array of games and experiences stripped down to its basics, virtual reality isn’t much more than a high-tech form of stereoscopic postcard.
It also serves as a reminder that virtual reality, despite all of the buzz, remains in its relative infancy, flooded by games that would play just fine — perhaps even better — without the addition of VR. Ultimately, it’s a reminder that great games plus VR doesn’t make for an even better experience, but rather a more annoying one. It’s a fun little diversion but quickly loses its charm after spending a few minutes with the goggles pressed to your face as you try to play games that require quite a bit of dexterity. Going into either “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” or “Super Mario Odyssey” and selecting VR mode, simply splits the screen and gives you a 3D view of the action.
Placing the Joy-Con controllers in the camera body is how the device senses your desire to zoom in and lets you take pictures. The completed camera has a lens that can rotate, making clicking noises as it “zooms” and “unzooms” and spots for both Joy-Cons. Once complete, the Switch is slid into place in the goggles and the goggles are then attached to the camera. Then, camera in hand, players can drop into an ocean to explore the deep, quietly sneaking up on fish and other creatures to snap pictures with the camera.
It’s once you start diving into the bigger creations — elephant with motion-trunk, bird, camera with zoom and thumping blaster — that you get a true sense of what Nintendo has created.
Nintendo’s latest Labo Toy-Con release — a series of cardboard meets software kits created for the Nintendo Switch — proves that point.

The $80 set comes with the pre-scored cardboard and instructions to create attachments for your Switch that function as a sort of gun, a bird, a camera, a wind pedal, an elephant, and VR goggles.
While the experience of creating these toys always left me marveling at their design, I was equally unimpressed with just how little I could do with them once the construction was complete.
Players can use the included software to create their own little games that can make use of the accessories, but it would have been nice to have access to more to play directly from Nintendo with the package.
The Nintendo Labo Toy-Con VR kit comes in a couple of varieties. You can pick up a starter kit for $40, and expansion sets for $20 each, or you can get the entire collection for $80.
So if you want to blast your way through an alien-infested city, for instance, you need to slide the Switch into the Toy-Con Blaster. If you want to take photos of sealife underwater, you’ll need to slide the Switch into the Toy-Con Camera. Once built, each form factor unlocks a set of games that you play while your face is pressed up against the back of the construct.
For fans looking for a kit that has you building not just the hardware for play, but the software, this is probably a good fit. Those looking for a completed Nintendo experience are likely to be disappointed.” />
I found the process relaxing and a fun way to explore the charming design of each device. The camera, for instance, makes use of cardboard gears and cogs and cleverly shaped cut-outs to turn the flat sheets of compressed paper into video game-powering origami.
Ultimately, the task of building the peripherals becomes the highlight of the experience, leaving Nintendo’s toy-like games feeling more like colorful afterthoughts than the sort of engaging experience fans of the company have come to expect. While the Nintendo Labo Toy-Con VR set is an intriguing idea, the included software simply doesn’t deliver enough experiences to make the purchase and the time invested worthwhile for most.
The final draw for the VR kit — playing two full-blown Nintendo games in VR — delivered the same mingling of excitement and disappointment as the cardboard creations and its games.
Whether you’re willing to accept that fact and embrace the novelty and frivolity of cardboard VR powered by short silly games will determine just how much you might enjoy Nintendo’s Labo Toy-Con VR kit.
It’s this last experience, an add-on for those who already own those two games that make it obvious just how toylike VR continues to be. They also, as of April 25, allow you try your hand at playing two of the Switch’s most popular games — “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” and “Super Mario Odyssey” — in VR. It’s likely the first item you’ll create, though, are the VR Goggles, which give you access to some very basic games, that are more akin to viewing experiences than a full game.
The Blaster, the largest of the selection, looks a bit like a cardboard bazooka and features a cocking and firing action that thumps the gun in your hands as your chase down aliens.
Modern VR adds motion to that trick of the mind, and the ability to interact, stereo sound and a few other bits and pieces, but it’s still fairly simplistic. Creating a sense of 3D by laying two images next to one another has been around since the 1800s.
Leave it to Nintendo to so effortlessly underscore the obvious: Virtual reality in its current state is not much more than a toy.
The Labo VR goggles are made of stiff cardboard and feature a hard plastic nose card, a set of lenses and space to slide the Switch into place in front of them. The goggles are fairly straight forward, taking the least amount of time to create a rather mundane, handheld VR headset. In this regard, what you’re getting is essentially a beefier form of the Google Cardboard headsets that helped to turn countless smartphones into subpar VR machines. The result is a fairly modest, but still fun little VR headset. Once in place, players can either use the attached Joy-Cons as they held the contraption up to their face, or tap on the top right corner of the cardboard for simple interactions. Part of the delight found in the Nintendo Labo kits is the experience of not just building the cardboard constructs, but marveling at the ingenuity that went into designing each creation.
The included mini-games are fun, interactive little oddities, but don’t provide much more fun or take up much more time than the process of creating the peripherals needed to play them.
All of these cardboard peripherals take quite a bit of time to put together.

Nintendo debuted a trailer showcasing the soon-to-be-added VR content in "Super Mario Odyssey" and "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild."
"Super Mario Odyssey" gets three new mini-missions where players are tasked with collecting music notes and Coins to complete objectives in VR. The Cap, Seaside, and Luncheon Kingdoms will be available to explore in virtual reality as well, though the video doesn't elaborate on what, if any, extra VR-enabled activities can be done there.
However, you can toggle the new feature on and off no matter where you are in the game and do not have to start a new game to take advantage of the VR Goggles. Prerendered cutscenes are not compatible with "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild," and thus players will be limited to action that happens in the overworld.
"The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild" also has a new series of features involving the Nintendo Labo VR Kit, though they're a bit more understated than those in "Super Mario Odyssey." Using the Toy-Con VR Goggles, players can toggle on and off VR camera controls with a quick trip to the game's menu. The entirety of Hyrule can be traversed and explored while using the goggles.
The free updates for both "Super Mario Odyssey" and "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild" will be available as free updates on Thursday, April 25 exclusively on Nintendo Switch.” />

and elsewhere. and Toronto. The company currently operates 11 such locations, with VR centers in Las Vegas, Santa Monica, Calif. The Void is one of a number of startups operating ticketed VR experiences in malls and movie theaters around the world. It has announced plans to launch additional locations in Hollywood, New York, Washington, D.C.
The Void is coming to San Francisco: The location-based VR startup is getting ready to open a new outpost in the Westfield San Francisco Centre mall on the city's busy Market street this summer, Variety has learned. There's no word on the exact launch date; The Void didn't immediately respond to Variety's request for comment.
The Void hasn't officially announced the planned San Francisco location yet, but its future outpost near the Westfield food court already features posters teasing a summer launch.
 ” />
The company has partnered with Disney and Lucasfilm's ILMxLab on a number of location-based VR experiences, including "Ralph Breaks VR" and "Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire." In addition, it has also produced some original content in-house, like its horror-themed "Nicodemus" experience. All three were featured in posters at its future SF location.

Last week, Gearbox dropped a teaser trailer that ends with the phrase “Mayhem is coming.” The video was entitled “Mask of Mayhem” and the description included a link to the “Borderlands” website. “Borderlands 3” was officially confirmed with a splashy trailer during developer Gearbox’s annual PAX East talk on Thursday.
"Borderlands 3" will release September 13, according to a tweet from the official "Borderlands" Twitter account that has since been deleted.
The deleted post shows a few seconds of "Borderlands" footage followed by the Epic Games logo. It also appears "Borderlands 3" will release on the Epic Games Store, based on a second deleted tweet grabbed by user Wario64.
Pre-order now for the Gold Weapon Skins Pack!" The tweet, which appears to have been unintentionally published on Monday, states "Mayhem is Coming September 13.
All of the DLC to date for “Borderlands 2” is coming to the VR version of the game for free, as well as a new HD upgrade coming to the other existing games.” /> The studio previously announced a remastered and improved version of the original “Borderlands” coming to PC for free, and to consoles.
The official release date for "Borderlands 3" will be revealed on Wednesday, the developer previously confirmed.

The announcement came as a part of Sony's first ever State of Play broadcast.
You can, right here at Variety. Sony is showing off new titles and footage of already announced games for PlayStation VR and PlayStation 4 on Monday. Want to watch for yourself?
Sony revealed "ReadySet Heroes," a new dungeon crawler for PlayStation 4, on Monday.
So, if you got through it fast, you'll be more powerful when it comes time to take on the other team. Reaching the end of the dungeon triggers a brawl between the two teams. Described as a fast-paced multiplayer game, the twist for this dungeon crawler is that as you are making your way through the dungeon, so is another team.
With cute characters to pick from, this dungeon crawler looks like a fun ride. Sony says the combat feels "crunchy," so if you want to see what they mean, you'll have to wait until later this year when the game comes out. There's no release date just yet, so stay tuned.
Sony also showed off VR titles during its State of Play stream on Monday, including "Iron Man VR," "No Man's Sky VR" and "Five Nights at Freddy's VR: Help Wanted."” />

Nintendo’s take on VR is one that doesn’t seek to replace reality but elaborate on it in surprising, albeit temporary, ways. We do not live on a spaceship.
Nintendo’s vision for VR is a pointed rebuke of what has been seen as the ideal experience: an all-encompassing escape to some secondary world other than our own. The stated goal of so much VR has long been “immersion.” But the result has been something closer to seclusion.
What was Gunpei Yokoi’s Ultra Hand–an extendable arm with pincers and Nintendo’s first consumer-grade toy–but a kind of cobbled together alteration of reality? And then, according to marketing bullet points at least, you’re expected to share, physically removing the goggles and giving them to someone nearby. Whereas modern VR headsets are designed for extended, solitary use, Labo VR is purpose-built to be a toe-dip into extraordinary waters: The goggles have no strap and are meant to be held to your face. Nintendo’s Labo VR kit is better understood as a successor to its pre-video game novelties. Leave it to Nintendo to turn the stated end-goal of an entire medium and fold it inside-out.
In the meantime, Nintendo is here doing what it does best: plucking meat from a dead thing and making it palatable to a vast, underserved audience.
Much modern VR software demands that you interact with virtual objects floating in space; Oulasvirta says the disconnect players feel isn’t just due to the novelty of the behavior, but evolution itself. So games designed as short-term, shareable activities will limit discomfort. “Our hands have evolved for manipulating objects,” he writes, “not poking in the air.” Beyond the goggles themselves, Labo VR’s suite of projects asks you to clutch, twist, grab, and push real, tangible things. Research shows arms tire after ninety seconds of extension.

In the 1960s, bowling was a fad in Japan. The fad died; soon there were hundreds of empty alleyways. Nintendo has a history of reappropriating ideas. The “Laser Clay Ranges,” as they were called, were a hit. Nintendo bought them for cheap and turned them into indoor shooting galleries using the same basic technology that powered their Custom Gunman toys. So companies built hundreds of bowling alleys.
Their next big idea isn’t to rewrite the rules but remind us of where we’ve already been. And this rendition of the future does not look the same as what we’ve been told to expect. The Kyoto-based company believes the time is right to finally launch its version of virtual reality. Those three recycled ideas–the first cinematic arcade game; the first modern-day handheld; a motion gaming phenomenon–were world-beaters and industry changers.
Fourteen years earlier, in another part of the world, a company called Nintendo started selling playing cards.
His first four reasons–arm fatigue, lack of object manipulation, inaccuracy of input, unnatural gestures–are largely solved by Labo VR’s constraints. His are not the ponderings of an armchair analyst; he researches computational methods and teaches in a program devoted to the study of user interface. Days before Nintendo’s announcement, a Twitter thread made the rounds from Antti Oulasvirta, a professor at Aalto University in Finland, explaining why he feels modern virtual or augmented reality hasn’t yet hit the mainstream.
VR as we think we know it is doomed, a desert of empty bowling alleys. When George Gilder accurately described a smartphone in his book “Life After Television,” he called it by another name: a teleputer. That phrase made sense thirty years ago, but now sounds foolish and naive. What VR will become is both inescapable and unknowable. What we think of as true “virtual reality” may come to pass one day, but it won’t be called VR. The same naivete results in thinking our present reality needs to become any more virtual than it already is.
Probably not. No. Is it a niche experiment using unproven technology that’s worth paying attention to, if for no other reason than it stands to be weird and fun and different? Will Labo VR be the mainstream breakthrough virtual reality needs? Absolutely. Will it be a major platform for Nintendo going forward?
Extrapolated from this has been a bevy of predictably unimpressed reactions from gaming press and the internet at large. If you’ve written off Nintendo’s first stab at what many see as the next great leap for interactive entertainment due to frame-rates, resolutions, and other cold numbers, I suggest you refer to the entry on “Boy, Game” in the annals of history and see what you find. How will these experiences feel? Elephant. Wind Pedal.” But what will we actually do? The truth is we don’t know what these experiences will be. Camera. Bird. All we’ve seen of Nintendo’s first virtual reality games is a promotional still shot of predictably happy teens holding a series of odd, mechanical playthings. The project list reads like bad minimalist poetry: “Blaster.
They needed a virtual reality because their own was unsustainable and cruel. VR proselytizers often state the Holodeck as the final outcome for video game and virtual reality progress. If they opened the wrong window, they’d get sucked into a black void of cosmic death. But this fictional tech, first introduced on “Star Trek,” always struck me as an absurd ideal. The characters that used it lived in space.
The simply named “VR Kit” arrives on April 12th. Earlier this month, Nintendo announced the next addition to its Labo line of do-it-yourself cardboard contraptions. And their decidedly antiquarian take on the medium might just solve a number of problems that still malign this promising, but slow-to-launch, format.
It was the turn of the century, and people were tiring of the same old entertainment. Arthur Schwarz was onto something. What if, he thought, we could look through a portal to another world? What if a device could trick our brain into seeing something that was not truly there? But technology was advancing.
Schwartz doesn’t work at Oculus, or HTC, or Sony. He’s no longer there, either; Schwarz died long ago. He operated a photography shop on East 14th Street in New York City. But when his patent for a stereoscope was granted in 1903, he devised an object, and a vision, that looks like the future even a century later. But it’s no longer there, instead occupied by a branch of Chase Bank.
The Wii remote was first bandied about as an add-on for the GameCube; instead of throwing away the idea, Nintendo stuck it in the vault and relaunched the product when the time was right. The Game Boy staved off higher-powered competitors for a decade using low-tech hardware and monochromatic screens. “Donkey Kong” was built from the carcass of another, unpopular game (Radarscope). The same frugality and resourcefulness has helped chart their course through the last forty years of video game history.
Labo VR is meant to be Virtual, Reality; one and then the other, an experience apart followed by an experience together.) (Or maybe they’ve just added punctuation.
Nintendo’s vision for VR doesn’t promise some neon-flecked cyberpunk rainstorm or a sweeping digital utopia in which to live forever. Schwarz’s patent from 1903. Plus or minus a paper elephant. Instead, it looks a lot like Mr.
2.”” /> Digital Rituals is a monthly column examining the culture of video games by Jon Irwin, college instructor, freelance journalist, and author of “Super Mario Bros.

A recent UploadVR report suggested that the next-generation Rift will be called Rift S, and feature on-board cameras for inside-out tracking. This would help users to simplify their VR setup, doing away with the need for external tracking hardware.” />
"We don't comment on future products, but are excited about the year ahead." "Rift is still available for sale at and other channels, including Amazon," that spokesperson said via email. Asked about this, a Facebook spokesperson declined to comment on any upcoming hardware updates.
Micro Center, another authorized retailer, currently warns customers of limited availability, noting on its site: "May not be in stock at time of order. No back orders." The Rift is also listed as sold out on, and out of stock on Microsoft's online store.
"Clearing out the stock before they start selling (…) new models," one user suspected. Newegg delisting the Rift headset was first noticed by Reddit user Vanfanel1car, who previously noticed stock shortages across all retail channels. Fellow Reddit users were quick to chime in and muse that the shortages may be a sign of Facebook discontinuing the original Rift hardware.
Facebook's Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) headset has disappeared from the website of electronics retailer Newegg, fueling speculations that the company may be getting ready to introduce an updated version of the device.
Facebook announced at its Oculus Connect developer conference in September of last year that it will release a new standalone headset dubbed the Oculus Quest this spring. The company has kept mum on plans to update the Rift, which was first introduced in early 2016.
Facebook denied that report at the time, with a spokesperson telling Variety: “Yes, we are planning a future version of Rift.” Last year, Techcrunch reported that Facebook decided to cancel a Rift successor — a decision that reportedly prompted Oculus Co-Founder Brendan Iribe to leave the company.

“We are still at risk when we are traveling around,” said Williams in a recent interview with Variety. "Traveling While Black" is a moving VR documentary about racism in America from Academy Award-winning director Roger Ross Williams, which is drawing a line from the risks African-American travelers were facing back in the 1950s to modern-day police violence. “We are always on edge, we are always at risk when we walk out of the door in this country.”
premiere of "Algorithmic Perfumery," the multi-sensory space travel VR experience "Cosmic Sleep," "Munduruku: The Fight to Defend the Heart of the Amazon," a multi-sensory VR experience produced in collaboration with Greenpeace, and the civil rights VR documentary "I Am A Man."” /> Other VR experiences shown as part of the Story Arcade include "Jurassic Flight," a flight simulator that leverages a robotic motion platform, the U.S.
Tickets can be reserved online, and start at $100, offering access to all experiences except "Chained." Combo tickets that also include "Chained" are going for $150. The Story Arcade space will be open to the public for about a month.
Manhattan is getting a location-based virtual reality (VR) pop-up, courtesy of Future of Storytelling: The temporary Story Arcade will open its doors in the Starrett-Lehigh building this coming Saturday, and host a number of VR experiences, including Felix & Paul Studio's "Traveling While Black," Fable's "Wolves in the Walls" and MWM Interactive's immersive theater VR production "Chained: A Victorian Nightmare."
"Chained: A Victorian Nightmare" first premiered in Los Angeles in December. “No one will have the experience that you just had.” The Victorian era VR experience incorporates live actors, who improvise to create a unique story for each and every participant. “There is no pre-recorded dialogue of any kind,” said "Chained" creator Justin Denton in an interview with Variety in December.
"Wolves in the Walls" is a VR adaptation of Neil Gaiman's children's book by the same title that also doubles as a first step towards autonomous avatars in VR. The experience's main character Lucy interacts with the viewer, acknowledging their presence and treating them as her imaginary friend.

The Quest is one of the first such all-in-one headsets to support positional tracking, which allows users to lean into a VR experience, as opposed to just look around at a 360-sphere. Demos shown at Oculus Connect included a Wii Sports-like tennis game, a popular VR shooter ported from the company's high-end Oculus Rift headset, and more.
Two filings for the headset's touch controllers passed the FCC on Monday, roughly 45 days after the headset itself made an appearance in a similar regulatory filing. Facebook is getting ready to launch its Oculus Quest virtual reality (VR) headset soon, if a duo of new FCC filings is any indication.
The device is a so-called all-in-one VR headset, meaning that it won't require a PC or phone to power VR experiences. Facebook announced at its Oculus Connect developer conference in September that it would release the Oculus Quest headset in early 2019.
Oculus Quest is going to sell for $399 when it becomes available this spring. Separately, Facebook is reportedly working on a revamped version of its Oculus Rift headset, which could ditch the current tracking hardware for an inside-out tracking solution similar to that shown off with the Quest.” />

But the chain quickly found that the numbers didn’t add up, and decided to shut down its VR efforts last December. Imax, for instance, tried to build out its own VR initiative, with trial locations housed in a handful of theaters around the globe. Cinemark isn’t the first theater chain looking to location-based VR to bring audiences used to spend time with video games and streaming back to the movies. Those efforts haven’t always worked.
“Terminator Salvation: Fight for the Future” is a little less complex than some of the other location-based VR experiences from companies like The Void and Nomadic, but it’s still unlike anything you’d get from trying VR at home. “You will remember the first time you've ever done anything like this for the rest of your life,” said Spaces co-founder and CEO Shiraz Akhmal.
“Where people may fall short is rushing to market with something simple that's more home-based,” said Akhmal, referencing the fact that most of the VR experiences available at Imax’s now-shuttered VR centers were also available for the home VR market. “This is something that you just can't do at home,” he said.
“You don't really have to be a gamer to come in and enjoy this,” said Cinemark marketing and communications senior vice president James Meredith. Players can work on their high score by shooting as many terminators as possible — but it’s also fine to just ignore the points. It’s also an experience that sits squarely between casual fun and video game play.
Unlike in other location-based VR experiences, Spaces gives each group of players a dedicated guide who helps them with their objective, and talks them through the more challenging parts of the mission. Each participant gets a video highlight reel emailed to them once a group is done with the 12-15 minute experience. But even with that guidance, there’s still enough time for senseless robot shooting, as players get to explore a stage with physical props freely, without and wires tying them down.
“Terminator Salvation: Fight for the Future” allows up to 4 players to enter the world of the “Terminator” franchise, and fight as rebels against the robot overlords. this weekend. Cinemark and Spaces, the VR startup that spun out of Dreamworks 3 years ago, opened one of the Bay Area’s first location-based virtual reality (VR) experiences in San Jose, Calif.
Spaces then uses those face scans to customize their avatars in VR, making it easier for friends to recognize each other. Visitors are first asked to scan their faces with the help of customized iPads. After strapping on a VR backpack, and putting special sensors onto their hands and feet, they put on an Oculus headset, and enter a VR world, where they are tasked with a special mission in service of the resistance. The experience is being housed in the foyer of the Century 20 Oakridge and XD theater.
“The idea is just to take a look and see how well that this is working,” he said. “How big it's it's going to grow, I don't know. Still, Meredith seemed cautious not to overplay his company’s commitment to the new medium. It's going to be interesting to see.” />

Developing.” />
HTC first announced the Vive Pro headset at CES 2018, and has been positioning it as a device for prosumers and professionals. “We entered the market extremely well, it was well received by enterprise and professionals,” said HTC Vive Americas general manager Dan O’Brien.
HTC is adding eye-tracking to its high-end headsets: The company introduced  a new version of the Vive Pro, dubbed the Vive Pro Eye, at a press conference at CES in Las Vegas Monday.
Viveprort Infinity, as the service is being called, will give consumers unlimited access to a catalog of more than 500 apps and games. "Think of it as your Netflix in VR,” said Viveport president Rikard Steiber. In addition to the Vive Pro Eye announcement, HTC Vive also unveiled the next version of its Viveport VR subscription service.
It promises increased speed of VR interactions, and more efficient use of computing resources. The headset will also enable what is known in the industry as foveated rendering, which means that it renders the areas of an experience where users currently look in high-resolution, while rendering areas that are out of focus at lower resolutions.
There is no word yet on how much the Vive Pro Eye will cost, but it is supposed to launch in April.

“This year, Vive has set out to bring everyday computing tasks into VR for the first time,” said HTC Vive vice president Michael Almeraris in a statement. “Through our exciting and innovative collaboration with Mozilla, we’re closing the gap in XR computing, empowering Vive users to get more content in their headset, while enabling developers to quickly create content for consumers.”
Mozilla’s Chief R&D officer Sean White told Variety in September that the goal of Firefox Reality was to simplify the development of immersive media experiences across a wide range of devices. "VR and AR need to be about experiences, not applications," he said.” />
And while that announcement focused on HTC's high-end VR headsets, it stands to reason that Firefox Reality should be making its way to Windows Mixed Reality headsets as well as the Oculus Rift as well. But on Monday, Mozilla announced that it was making the jump to the desktop as well.
Firefox Reality was initially released on Android-based VR headsets, including Oculus Go, Google Daydream and HTC Vive Focus as well as other headsets using HTC's Vive Wave platform. Mozilla officially announced Firefox Reality as a browser for VR and AR headsets in April of last year.
Users will be able to install any other browser, and change their preferences to make that app their default browser. Through the collaboration, Firefox Reality will be pre-installed as the default browser on HTC Vive devices.
Mozilla's virtual and augmented reality browser Firefox Reality is becoming the default browser on HTC's Vive VR headsets, the two companies announced at CES Monday. With the move, Firefox Reality is also taking the jump to the desktop, and becoming available on HTC's Vive and Vive Pro headset.

The upshot is that there is already a newer generation of PC-based VR headsets capable of running high-end games and experiences without the need for external tracking hardware. The device retails for $500, but has been on sale for as little as $300. Best-liked among industry insiders is Samsung’s new Odyssey+ device, which integrates tracking directly into the headset.
The only notable exception is Sony’s PlayStation VR, which has to be plugged into a PlayStation game console. Most high-end VR headsets also require external tracking hardware, which makes setting them up a lot more cumbersome. But with the better experience also comes more complex technology: Nearly all current high-end VR headsets require powerful gaming PCs to run VR games and experiences.
It also comes with a great screen with a better resolution than some high-end headsets currently on the market. The good news for VR beginners is that Facebook ditched everything that was bad about entry-level headsets when it introduced its $200 Oculus Go headset earlier this year. The Go is an all-in-one headset that doesn’t require a phone or PC to run VR experiences. And with a price tag far below what you pay for a premium phone, the Go is still the best choice for anyone looking to take first steps in VR.
The bottom line: If you want to experience high-end VR and have a compatible PC, get a Samsung Odyssey+.
There are some good reasons for going down either path, and some great devices for both casual and more engaged users. That’s in part because VR headsets are in general still split into two categories: Cheaper entry-level devices that are primarily geared toward media consumption, and more expensive high-end headsets that require external hardware, but also offer more immersive experiences.
We decided to break down the pros and cons of both categories, and take a look at upcoming hardware, to help you with your decision.
The bottom line: If you want the next generation of immersive VR and can wait a few more months, hold out for the Oculus Quest.” />
An odyssey worth taking: The case for gaming VR
Giving it a go: The case for entry-level VR
Lenovo first tested the waters for this with the Mirage Solo headset earlier this year, which already offered the ability to lean into VR experiences. But without a tracked controller and with limited app support, the Mirage Solo ultimately fell short of expectations.
However, demos given to press at the company’s recent Oculus Connect developer conference were impressive, and showed that the Quest can deliver fun immersive gaming experiences without the cables and other hardware requirements that come with a PC-based solution. Next up is Facebook’s Oculus Quest, which promises full tracking of both headset and controllers for just $399. The Quest is supposed to ship early next year, so we don’t have any full reviews of the device yet.
A quest worth waiting for: Next-generation all-in-ones
Over the years, the Samsung headset has received an external controller and a few other cosmetic updates. But there have been no major technical advances. Inserting your phone into the Gear VR is still a bit cumbersome, and the device’s immersive qualities are still fairly limited when compared to high-end VR headsets. Fast forward to 2018, and the Gear VR looks a bit dated.
What’s more, the first generation of high-end VR headsets feels a bit dated at this point: Facebook’s Oculus Rift, for instance, has a lower screen resolution than the company’s entry level Go headset. HTC launched a Vive Pro with a higher screen resolution this year, but is positioning it as an enterprise product with a price tag of $1400 for a full-featured bundle.
The good news is that there are now many more VR headset choices available than just a year ago. Or maybe you finally want to make the jump into virtual worlds yourself? Are you looking to give someone a VR headset this holiday season? The bad news is that choosing one that fits your needs hasn’t exactly gotten easier.
The latter is true for all entry-level VR headsets, and has to do with a lack of what is known in the industry as positional tracking: The Gear VR and similar headsets know when you turn your head, but these devices have no way of determining whether you lean into an experience, or even take a step forward.
After all, why watch a movie on a small phone screen, when you can instead fire up a virtual big-screen TV, and even connect to your friends over the internet to have their avatars join you in your virtual living room for a VR movie night? Still, there are plenty of great apps for entry-level headsets, and media consumption in VR is a surprisingly great experience, especially while traveling or otherwise away from a TV screen.
All you had to do was supply your phone, which doubled as the headset’s display and computing power. It’s been four years since Samsung first introduced the Gear VR as an entry-level VR headset. At the time, the proposition was tempting: For roughly $100, Gear VR offered a chance to experience 360-degree videos, casual VR games, and media consumption apps that made it possible to watch regular movies in virtual theater-like settings.
The bottom line: If you don’t need high-end VR gaming, buy an Oculus Go.
High-end VR headsets like Facebook’s Oculus Rift and HTC’s Vive do offer positional tracking, and as such are capable of delivering much more immersive experiences than Samsung’s Gear VR or the Oculus Go. This not only makes VR gaming a lot more fun, but also allows users to make their own 3D paintings and step into immersive narrative worlds.
And while improvements over the past two or three years have largely been incremental, VR hardware is about to take a major leap with a new generation of standalone devices that offer high-end tracking, but don’t require a PC. Here’s the thing about VR: A better device is always around the corner.

Unity's win will be celebrated at The Technology and Engineering Emmy Awards on April 7, 2019 in Las Vegas.” />
Video game engine creator Unity will receive an Emmy for its collaboration with Disney on the "Baymax Dreams" shorts, the Unity Blog announced Wednesday.
The technological mastery is demonstrated in the behind the scenes look at the shorts, but also explained by Unity in the blog. The creators built and reviewed various art and characters in virtual reality (VR) during the conceptual process, which allowed for "higher fidelity review cycles and more creative inspiration around environments and style," according to the Unity Blog.
The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences is awarding the "broadcast-quality" two-minute shorts in its Technology and Engineering Emmy Awards held in January. Unity is receiving recognition for its "excellence in engineering creativity that has materially affected the television viewing experience," according to the Unity Blog.
All of the "Baymax Dreams" shorts are available to watch on the Disney Channel's YouTube Channel:  Baymax Dreams of Bed Bugs, Baymax Dreams of Evil Sheep, and Baymax Dreams of Too Many Baymaxes,
Once it came time for the Unity team to create the third episode, the pipeline process developed was so efficient that they were able to complete the entire episode in just three weeks.
Other Unity features put to use on the Baymax shorts include Timeline, Cinemachine, and Post-Processing Stack V2. For example, this unique approach allowed for Unity graphics engineer John Parsaie to create Baymax's "night light" glow, for which he used Unity's High Definition Render Pipeline.

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An updated version of this headset was released last month, making it less likely that we will see significant VR hardware news at the event. The company since partnered with Samsung on a high-end VR headset powered by an external PC, dubbed the Samsung Odyssey.

Whare hasn’t been publicly announced yet; a Samsung spokesperson said that it would get a a "soft roll-out" at the conference, adding that it wanted to use the event to "uncover early market signals and feedback from potential audiences and industries." The project has been described in job listings as a set of “cross platform developer services that will power multi-user, shared AR experiences and applications at scale” meant to “enable a new generation of augmented reality applications.”
AR cloud technologies like Project Whare help developers with to create such persistent AR experiences for phone-based apps, but Samsung is clearly already thinking beyond the phone.
One of them is Project Whare, an AR cloud initiative the company quietly has been working on out of its Samsung Next incubator. But aside from such eye candy, Samsung is also going to use the event to highlight more cutting-edge AR developments.
However, VR won't be completely absent from Samsung's developer conference: Italian VR game studio Symmetrical revealed on Twitter Monday that it will show off its VR horror game "Gates of Nowhere: Inferno" with an arena-style multi-player setup.
Samsung isn’t the only company working on such an AR cloud, with game developers like Niantic, tech giants like Google, AR headset manufacturers like Magic Leap and a number of smaller startups all working on the same basic idea: To take AR beyond simple phone camera filters, developers need to be able to make sense of the real world, store persistent digital information related to that world, and make it available to multiple users at the same time.
Not one but two sessions go into details about how to create AR emoji for Samsung’s handsets, something that Disney done for some of its most popular characters.
Samsung’s director of XR developer relations Farsh Fallah suggested during an appearance at the Virtual Reality Strategy conference in San Francisco last month that the company may show off a full-blown AR headset at the event. It’s unclear whether Samsung has any plans to actually turn this into a product aimed at consumers, but anything shown at the conference is likely to be a prototype.
“This infrastructure will support all developers in the AR community with a shared global management platform for AR assets,” according to one such job listing.
The conference’s schedule lists a total of six sessions related to the subject, with one promising attendees help to become “a superstar AR developer.” But aside from voice, Samsung is also going to shine a spotlight on another nascent technology: augmented reality (AR).
It followed up with a number of iterations, and disclosed in early 2017 that it had sold over 5 million units of the device. Samsung’s new focus on AR comes as the company moves its virtual reality efforts from phone-based technology to high-end headsets. The company released one of the industry’s very first mobile VR headsets, the Gear VR, in late 2014. Gear VR received its last major update in March of 2017.
Samsung will give us a first glimpse at its plans for augmented reality (AR) at a developer event this week. The company is expected to unveil an AR Cloud service dubbed Project Whare, and may even preview a dedicated AR headset.
The Korean consumer electronics giant is holding its annual developer conference in San Francisco this Wednesday and Thursday, where it will focus on voice and artificial intelligence. Samsung even invited Spike Jonze, the director of everyone’s favorite dystopian AI film “Her,” to make its own fledging voice efforts look cool.

Prompted by disappointing headset sales, VR companies have been increasingly focused on location-based entertainment as a gateway to mass-market adoption. This includes Facebook’s Oculus subsidiary, which has quietly been working on building a portfolio of location-based VR experiences to popularize its own VR headsets.” /> That idea is not new.
“Because of the sense of scale, it was not something you could ever do in your living room. It was something that was much larger than you, and kind of epic in its volumetric scale.” “We did it with controlling the light, controlling the wind, controlling the sound, controlling the temperature, and it made it feel more real,” said Caraeff.
to demonstrate a first example of location-based entertainment powered by its Magic Leap One headset. The company used L.E.A.P. Santa Fe, N.M.-based arts collective Meow Wolf showed off its Navigator, a giant robot vehicle that attendees could interact with via a combination of touch screen displays and superimposed AR imagery of distant galaxies.
While that experience is much smaller in scale, and designed for in-home use, Magic Leap hasn’t given up on large-scale experiences either. The Hoff experiment has been part of ILMxLAB’s four-year partnership with Magic Leap, which ultimately resulted in the announcement of “Star Wars: Project Porg” this week.
“We think that market, those location-based experiences, is huge,” said Magic Leap chief content officer Rio Caraeff in an interview with Variety on the sidelines of the company’s first L.E.A.P. developer conference in Los Angeles this week.
“We think that's gonna be how a lot of people try the stuff for the first time,” said Caraeff, adding that the company is actively working with partners on other location-based AR experiences. Ultimately, this could lead to consumers familiarizing themselves with Magic Leap, which could eventually result in purchase decisions, he argued.
The seven-minute demo of the Navigator was just a first taste for Meow Wolf’s plans to incorporate AR into future attractions. In the company's upcoming Denver outpost, attendees will be able to freely roam the space wearing Magic Leap’s headsets, and interact with multiple art pieces, including the Navigator showed off this week. The arts group, whose funders include “Game of Thrones” author George R.R. Martin, currently plans to open this AR-powered exhibition by 2020.

Magic Leap is taking some cues from one of the latest trends in virtual reality: The maker of the Magic Leap One headset is looking to use location-based entertainment to get consumers familiar with its technology, and ultimately prepare them to buy its headsets once a mass-market version is available to the general public.
A promotional video for Meow Wolf's Navigator, which the arts collective built in partnership with Magnopus.
But while the Navigator came together in a matter of weeks, Magic Leap has been toying with the idea of location-based AR for much longer. This involved turning a warehouse next to Magic Leap’s corporate office into a replica of the ice planet Hoth, complete with AT-AT walkers breaking through the ceiling and life-sized Snowspeeders whizzing through the air. In 2016, the company cooperated with Lucasfilm’s ILMxLAB on an internal project known as the Hoth experiment.

“Everyone at Sunsoft is enamored with this type of quick, strategic, multiplayer gameplay, so we brought our passion for the genre and combined the best characteristics of VR, MOBAs and RTS games into 'Dark Eclipse,' a game that’s both familiar and eye-catchingly innovative.”” /> “With 40 years in the business, we’ve seen many gaming trends come and go, but few have been as exhilarating as VR’s expansion and mainstream acceptance,” said Sakakibara.
Players will choose whether to fight to save or end Oldus. The game universe, Oldus, was once "peaceful and prosperous" before natural disasters ravaged the land and an eternal darkness, called Dark Eclipse, took over.
25, developer Sunsoft announced Wednesday. "Dark Eclipse" will be the first multiplayer online battle arena type game for the PlayStation VR when it releases on Sept.
While it will have the MOBA elements adored in popular games like "League of Legends" and "Dota 2," "Dark Eclipse" will also have real-time strategy elements and boasts an "easy-to-learn control scheme that allows players to drag and drop characters" which seems ideal for quick strategy change-ups.
Shohei Sakakibara, a producer and project leader at Sunsoft, commented on the studio's excitement for the new game.
"Dark Eclipse" will be completely free-to-play, and can be played using a dualshock or PlayStation move controller.

All three episodes of "Spheres" are playing for the first time at a festival and are competing in Venice. "Battlescar," which previously played at Tribeca, is screening out of competition.” />
"Gloomy Eyes" is a real-time animated VR series directed by Jorge Tereso and Fernando Maldonado, the duo behind the 2012 animated short "Shave It." Set in 1983, "Gloomy Eyes" centers on a zombie who is an outlaw and has access to things humans don’t see or understand. In his world, zombies have been around for almost a decade but are being hunted down and hiding in the forest. The three-part series is being produced by Atlas V, 3DAR and Arte.
All these projects are being backed by France's National Film Board (CNC).
Atlas V is attending Venice with Eliza McNitt's "Spheres," an interactive journey inspired by the iconic “Pale Blue Dot” image of planet Earth and exec produced by Darren Aronofsky (with the voices of Jessica Chastain, Patti Smith and Millie Bobby Brown), and "Battlescar," an animated series narrated by Rosario Dawson, about a Puerto Rican living in New York City in the late 1970s.
Altas' production slate also includes Jan Kounen's mystical experience, "Ayahuasca," as well as Clement Deneux's "Untold Stories," a documentary series being produced with the BBC and Arte, which will feature well-known directors exploring passion projects that never got made.
Atlas V, the Paris-based VR powerhouse whose "Spheres" and "Battlescar" are playing at the Venice Film Festival, is developing and producing several new projects with international talent, including "Gloomy Eyes," "Crusoe" and "Fortune."
"Fortune" is produced by Atlas V, Arte and Canada's NFB. "Fortune" is a documentary series in augmented reality that will be directed by Brett Gaylor, whose credits include "RiP: A Remix Manifesto," about copyright issues in the information age. "Fortune" will explore in a playful and modern way what lies behind currencies and the power of money in our society.
Atlas is also developing "Destiny," a VR documentary to be directed by Andres Jarach ("El Gaucho"), about a kid who doesn't like to eat but who grows up to become the famous chef Pierre Gagnaire.
"Crusoe" is being produced by Atlas V, Film France and Onze Cinq. "Crusoe" is being developed by Jalil Lespert, the director of "Yves Saint Laurent" and "Versailles," and Pierre Zandrowicz, who previously helmed "I, Philip." A re-imagining of the classic tale of Robinson Crusoe, the room-scale experience follows an exile into a spiritual and poetic world where the user interacts with others.

One of the 180VR videos recorded with the Mirage camera: Parisians celebrating their country's World Cup win.
Offloading images and videos to the Google 180VR phone app can take some time, and the camera occasionally disconnected, making it a bit of a prolonged endeavor. There’s also a magic-window option that essentially pins the 180-degree scene, allowing you to pan back and forth by moving your phone left and right, which actually makes for a fun viewing experience. But ultimately, the app provides a great first look at the footage, complete with the option to export it to YouTube, Google Photos and other apps.
In the final video, that blind spot is blurred out and grey or black, depending on the app you view it with. And then there was the issue of the blind spots. That takes a bit of getting used to, but you can make peace with it over time. The Mirage camera records video with 180 degrees, which basically means that it captures everything in front of and next to you, but not anything behind you.
But the Mirage camera, and VR180, just didn’t seem the right solution to capture my vacation videos. But for me, these playback issues, as well as the challenges to actually capture footage that was enjoyable to watch, raised questions about VR180 as a consumer format. Granted, that’s not Lenovo’s fault. I’m sure VR180 is a great addition for YouTubers who play to the camera and now have one more tool to record engaging and immersive videos.
I’m sweating, dizzy, and nauseous, and my phone is warning me that it is overheating. What a way to relive my vacation.
Lenovo recently sent me a review unit of its new Mirage camera, which takes 180-degree 3D photos and videos. I decided to bring the camera along to my family’s recent trip to Europe to put it to the test and figure out how well it works as an everyday point-and-shoot.

One of the Mirage's photos, displayed in non-VR mode.
All over my camera roll: Videos of my chin and ears, as I'm trying to figure out whether the camera is recording or not.
Unless you watch the videos with Google Photos, which is the default photo and video viewing app on Google’s Daydream VR platform. Once during my test, Google Photo’s repeated jumpiness also caused my phone to overhead, leading to the repeated display of warning messages. That’s because Google Photos automatically shifts the video to be centered again whenever you look too far left or right, which inevitably leads to the clip jumping back and forth in front of your eyes until your stomach churns.
Another video taken with the Lenovo Mirage camera.
Wearing a headset, most of these clips were dizzying and uncomfortable. Tempted by the small size of the Mirage, I had often treated it like a point-and-shoot camera, and recorded quick and short clips everywhere, sometimes even while walking around. The videos were another story. Turns out that VR videos, even in 180 degrees, are really, really hard to get right. What’s more, the 3D effect was often barely noticeable, especially when filming anything further away.
Lenovo opted on an all-white design for the Mirage camera, and someone decided that this color scheme would look good with light blue and light green led lights to indicate the mode the camera is set to, as well as whether it is currently recording. The same can unfortunately not be said for the camera’s other status indicators. And while not having any display or viewfinder feels awkward at first, it’s something that you can get used to fairly quickly.
But viewed with a VR headset, the videos offer the ability to explore scenes in full 180 degrees, and in glorious 3D. Photos taken with a VR180 camera can also be viewed in 3D with a headset, browsed in 180-degrees on your phone, or exported into a square shot that looks a bit like an Instagram photo taken with a fisheye lens.
I do wish my phone would offer an option to record 3D photos similar to those taken by the Mirage camera, but I don’t think I need the same for video clips — and I definitely don’t need a camera that doesn’t even have a noticeable red light to tell me when it is recording.” />
But the real test for a VR camera is to put on your headset — and that’s when things went sideways. The photos taken with the Mirage actually looked great, especially when I had captured people in closer proximity, as the 3D effect really made if feel like I was there again.
The Mirage is one of the first cameras to support Google’s VR180 format, which is meant as a kind of hybrid video format for both virtual reality and 2D viewing: 180VR videos that are uploaded to YouTube play on phones and desktop computers just like regular videos, without the cumbersome panning that’s necessary to watch 360-degree video recordings. Before I explain why the results made me feel queasy, a few basic facts about the device: Lenovo first announced the Mirage camera alongside its standalone VR headset at CES earlier this year.

In practice, this means that the Mirage camera works a bit like a oldschool film camera. On my vacation, I took lots of snapshots and short video clips without knowing how the results would look like until much later. Photos can be downloaded over Wifi to your phone, where they are being imported into Google’s VR180 app. In theory, you can also use your phone as a real-time viewfinder — but really, who wants to juggle two devices at the same time while taking vacation pictures?
This forced me to frequently raise the camera to my ear to listen for the barely audible sound it makes when you start to record something, resulting in countless weird clips of my chin and ears in 3D. That choice looks great indoors, giving the whole device a subdued. almost etherial design. But outdoors, and especially in direct sunlight, it’s close to impossible to see which light is glowing in which color. It’s really hard to fathom how Lenovo didn’t catch this flaw before shipping the device.
A Lenovo spokesperson told me earlier this year that the company didn’t include the ability to view your footage in real-time for two reasons: First, with a 180-degree field-of-capture, everything in front of the camera is by definition in frame. The Mirage camera sells for $300, and is equipped with two lenses on the front, and a plain back without any display or viewfinder. And second, adding a display would have made the camera significantly more expensive.

It shows kids in 1989 dissatisfied with the limitations of their Marvel-inspired Halloween costumes. The new launch trailer appears to be aimed at adult players (which is understandable, considering how expensive a VR setup is). Flash forward to launch day, July 26, and the now-grown Marvel fans get to live out their adventures in VR.
Doctor Strange
The bundle includes the headset and touch controllers, used by players to wield their Super Heroes’ abilities, such as "blasting enemies with photon beams, or slicing away with dual katanas" among other abilities.
"Marvel Powers United VR" is available for pre-order now, and comes out July 26.” />
Familiar faces will be among the 18 playable characters in the lineup. We already knew about Black Panther and other fan-favorites, but now we've got the full lineup:
Captain Marvel
Black Bolt
Black Panther
The trailer, sure to tug at a potential player's sense of nostalgia, also shows off some gameplay.
The Hulk
Captain America
"Marvel Powers United VR" gets a new launch trailer and Oculus Rift bundle, just a week before its launch.
Black Widow
Rocket Raccoon
The 10 locations for the upcoming title are Sakaar Arena, Knowhere Marketplace, Asgard, Jotunheim, The Palace of Attilan, Downtown New York, the Dark Dimension, the X-Mansion Hangar, Halfworld, and Wakanda.
For anyone who feels like the action presented is enough to make the leap to VR, a bundle was also announced Thursday at San Diego Comic Con, and will be $399. The bundle comes with a digital download of the game.

“They did great stuff with 'Mad Max' and know vehicles and combat,” he said. “There needs to be a lot of quests to do, but also there needs to be some ‘What if I took that and take it over there to see what it will do?’”” />
Developers Avalanche, especially after their work on the “Mad Max” game seemed like a good match.

“This is Todd saying, ‘I want to do a thing, a mobile Elder Scrolls that feel like a console experience but on your phone and then bring it to every other platform,” Hines said. “That seemed awesome so OK, do it.”
“ “Until we talked to Avalanche and saw they could take it to the originally place id (Software) wanted to go. “We didn’t have anyone who had that ability that could bring what we thought would be exciting to 'Rage,'” Hines said.
You can also customize your city or take on other players in an arena.
Hines noted that while the game had driving and vehicular combat, the original game wasn’t the sort of open-world title that was intended.
How can one devine how Bethesda picks what to spend time on creating and when to do so?
Take, for instance, “Elder Scrolls: Blades.”
Hines said that Todd Howard just said he wanted try to do something different with the Elder Scrolls franchise.
“The basic idea is still that we work on the kind of things that our devs are excited about making on the platforms that make sense,” Hines said. “If that’s console great. If that’s PC great. If it includes VR great. If not OK.”
How the game came about is typical of how Bethesda decides what to work on.
But instead of launching on a console or PC, it will hit this fall as a free-to-play iPhone, iPad and Android game. Revealed during the company’s E3 showcase earlier this week, “Blades” will be Bethesda’s latest entry in its popular Elder Scrolls role-playing game franchise.
Looking across Bethesda Softwork’s recently unveiled portfolio of games – from old-school shooter and RPG to VR experiences and AAA mobile game – it might be hard to connect the dots between those titles.
It was about pairing the right person or studio with the right game and idea. In some ways, Bethesda’s decision to revive "Rage" and develop a sequel nearly eight years after the first hit followed the same path.
The ultimate goal is to bring the same game to other platforms too, from PC to console.
Finally, the game has the Abyss – an infinitely replayable mode in which daring heroes push their limits floor after floor in a never-ending dungeon, where enemies become deadlier and deadlier as you progress.
During my time with the work-in-progress game, the controls felt like they could use a bit of work to tighten the responsiveness, but it was a fun way to play and worked equally well whether playing in horizontal or vertical mode.
“But it felt like it never delivered on the promise of being able to go all over the place and do stuff everywhere.” “I had a lot of fun playing it, it needed an ending, but it was fun,” Hines said.
The title has high-end graphics, rich environments and a robust line-up of magic, gear and skills. Despite its launch on mobile, the game is meant to be a massive first-person role-playing game.
That’s simple said Pete Hines, Berthesda’s senior vice president of marketing, and it really hasn’t changed much in the company’s more than 30 year history.

Facebook just re-released a virtual reality (VR) classic for its new Oculus Go headset: "Henry," the animated tale of a hedgehog who just wants to be loved, was released for free for the Go Monday.
For its Oculus Go release, it got remastered to play on lower-powered hardware, thanks to new technology developed by Oculus CTO John Carmack. "Henry" has been produced in Unity, and was originally optimized for PC-based VR playback.
"Henry" was the second VR short produced by Oculus Story Studio, an immersive storytelling unit that was ultimately closed as Facebook focused on cooperations with third-party companies instead. Some of the original team members of Story Studio have since moved on to form Fable, an immersive studio that premiered its first project at Sundance earlier this year.” />
It was awarded an Emmy for best outstanding original interactive program that same year, becoming the first VR piece to win such an honor. The film became available on the company's Oculus Rift VR headset when it started to ship in early 2016. "Henry," which is being narrated by Elijah Wood, first premiered in July of 2015.

Longtime horror film director Alexandre Aja is getting ready to make his mark in virtual reality (VR) with “Campfire Creepers,” a new mini series of scary campfire stories. The series is premiering at the Tribeca film festival this week, and will also come to the Oculus Rift and Gear VR headsets this weekend.

Said Aja: “VR may be the tool we have been dreaming about for so long.”” /> As for Aja, the director professed that he had caught the VR bug while working on this project. “As a director, I’m always looking for immersion,” he said. That was true even for his traditional movies, he said, but VR had the potential of bringing immersion to a whole new level.
One of the first two episodes of “Campfire Creepers” stars Robert Englund, who is best known for playing Freddy Kruger, while the second episode plays with the dynamic between camp counselors and the children they are entrusted with — and the things that can go wrong when tensions between the two groups rise in the middle of the forest, on a full moon night.
The project also received funding from Oculus. However, Aja had to shift gears a bit when the company ran out of funding, with Dark Corner picking up the slack. “Our role is to continue to elevate the craft of VR,” said Oculus executive producer Yelena Rachitsky. The work on “Campfire Creepers” began in 2017 with Los Angeles-based cinematic VR startup Future Lighthouse, the studio that was also behind the animated VR film Melita.
“We could have made something that was really traumatizing,” he admitted. That’s in part because viewers who have a headset strapped to their face can’t cover their eyes, or hide their face behind a pillow once the full moon takes effect, summoning scary creatures. Instead, Aja decided to go for what he called “a comfortable type of awe” — a more campy approach that plays with the tropes of the genre without any explicit gore.
“All storytelling started around the campfire,” Aja told Variety this week. “It’s the perfect technology for awe,” Aja said. The director, who is best known for horror flicks like “The Hills Have Eyes,” “High Tension” and “Piranha 3D,” had never done any VR work before, but said that he quickly fell in love with the medium.

But ultimately, the networks are also exploring ways to monetize AR, VR, and mobile games more directly. One approach is to bring advertisers along and have them sponsor apps and games, but Engelman said the company was also exploring other monetization models: "We are looking at all of it."
One reason that "Final Space" is getting the AR & VR treatment is Rogers' existing online fan base. "This is absolutely the kind of property to experiment with." "His brand is built on the internet," Engelman said.
As part of those experiments, TBS premiered "Final Space" on the front page of Reddit in February. Users will get access to new content every week after the show's latest episode airs. This month, it followed up with an AR app that gives fans the ability to invite Gary, Mooncake, and other characters from the show into their living rooms. The app premiered on iOS first, and is scheduled to come to Android phones in the coming days.
"It's more about creating community rather than advertisement," he said. Engelman revealed that TBS and TNT have long spent between 5% and 10% of a show's marketing budget on speculative bets, including new technologies like AR and VR. That's partially to engage with viewers in new ways.
"AR and VR are super exciting," he said. TBS also just released an augmented reality (AR) app for "Final Space," and is exploring ways to use AR & VR not just as marketing vehicles, but to actually generate revenue as well.
"We are in the early days experimental stage," Engelman said. "This is a new process which requires new muscle memory." He cautioned that TBS and TNT were still very much learning the ropes in this space.
The network is the process of producing a virtual reality (VR) pilot for what could ultimately become a "Final Space" VR series, revealed TBS/TNT executive VP of marketing and brand innovation Michael Engelman during a recent conversation with Variety. TBS has been working with YouTube personality Olan Rogers on bringing their new animated show "Final Space" to virtual reality.
” /> "You launch when it's right and ready," Engelman added. As for the "Final Space" VR pilot, there's no word yet on if and when audiences will get to see it, or whether it will actually turn into a full-blown VR series.

Maybe a “Stranger Things” ride? Now that Netflix does own a lot of original IP, and Disney is ready to enter the streaming business, does Hastings want to be more like Disney, which has been a master at making money with its characters off the screen? Embrace merchandise, and perhaps even theme parks?
Amazon hasn’t launched its VR efforts yet, but job offers and hires hint at a pretty significant commitment. Most of Netflix’s key competitors have made some moves to embrace virtual reality (VR). Hulu has developed its own VR app, for which it has been licensing exclusive content from Ryot, Live Nation and others. Virtual reality. And Disney, which is set to become a direct competitor when it launches its own streaming service in 2019, released one of the most advanced social VR experiences last year.
Netflix may not run on a device that doesn’t have a screen, but the company is still exploring how to make use of smart speakers for control and content discovery. “It’s still very early,” cautioned Netflix VP of device ecosystem Scott Mirer. Smart speakers. “We still don’t know how consumers are going to engage with those devices.”
Netflix testing a red camera in its Hollywood offices.
Netflix is known to embrace cutting-edge technology. The company not only single-handedly introduced consumers to paid subscription video streaming, it was also one of the first of its size to put all of its computing resources into the cloud. But while Netflix is often ahead of its competitors, it is also remarkably conservative in other instances, taking a wait-and-see approach with virtual reality (VR) and other new technologies.
Netflix has been an early adopter of 4K and HDR, and while the company is currently only testing cameras that are ready to be used for its productions, it also keeps an eye out for next-generation capture technologies. “That’s a very fascinating new way of capturing images,” said production technologies manager Jimmy Fusil. Like light field capture for instance, which offers the promise of capturing an order of magnitude more visual data, and then giving creatives the option to change the focus of a shoot and more in post-production.
"Stranger Things" merchandise currently for sale at Target.
Netflix CPO Greg Peters talking to journalists during the Netflix Lab Days.
Reed Hastings speaking to journalists during the Netflix Lab Days.
The same is true for Netflix’s approach to news, despite the fact that it recently launched a weekly newsy pod-culture format with “The Joel McHale Show With Joel McHale.” “We don’t do news, we don’t do sports,” Hastings said.
The streaming service is already capable of streaming video with 60 frames per second, said Fusil. Something that could come to Netflix sooner than footage captured with light field cameras are high frame rates, which are often touted as the next step to improve image quality. “Somebody has to come up with a new grammar how to use this.” However, thus far, it hasn’t really been something that filmmakers or showrunners have requested — in part because it may come with its own set of creative challenges, mused Fusil.
last week. That dichotomy between embracing the latest and greatest and holding off on some other new technologies and business ideas was also on display during the company’s Lab Days, a two-day event for which Netflix invited journalists from all over the world to its offices in Hollywood and Los Gatos, Calif.
“We’ll be doing more of that over time.”” /> However, the company already did its first merchandise deals last year, selling “Stranger Things” shirts, action figures and even a Eggo-themed “Stranger Things” card game at Target and Hot Topic. “That’s a big one for us,” Hastings said.
“That would be amazing,” admitted Hastings about the prospects of seeing Netflix IP in theme parks. “Not in the short-term,” said Hastings. “Not in the next five or ten years.” Alas, the company has no such plans.
The company’s service is integrated with Google’s assistant as well as Amazon's Alexa, allowing owners of a Google Home-type speaker or an Amazon Echo to launch the playback of Netflix shows on compatible TV streaming devices with a simple voice command. Still, Netflix has taken some steps in this space.
“What conversations do consumers actually want to engage in? But he also hinted at further plans for smart speakers and voice control. Mirer said that the company had great existing relationships with both Google and Amazon, but that it was still trying to figure out how to do discovery through voice interfaces. We don’t know,” he said. “Over time, expect more.”
“We’ll keep an eye on it, but we don’t have any plans to invest in significant content creation for VR,” said the company’s chief product officer Greg Peters last week. Netflix on the other hand has been on the sidelines, and apparently has no plans to change that. Peters reiterated a point his boss, CEO Reed Hastings, has been making for some time: VR seems like a great fit for gaming, but not so much for Netflix.
Here are some of the things Netflix wants to do, and won’t be doing, in the next few years:
In the early days of original content on Netflix, CEO Reed Hastings often said that his goal was to become HBO sooner than HBO would become Netflix — meaning that Netflix wanted to build out its slate of originals before HBO was ready to be a big player online. Theme parks and merchandise.
“No, we are not doing live sports,” said Netflix CEO Reed Hastings during a Q&A session with journalists last week. Facebook and Twitter may be spending more and more money on sports rights, but Netflix has no plans to join them. Sports and news. The company may add more sports documentaries to its catalog over time, but it has no plans to carry any live games, he said.
That team, the audio-visual group, tests the latest production cameras, displays and other equipment to understand which cameras work best for capturing HDR for Netflix’s original productions. Netflix has a team of a dozen employees just working on keeping up with current audio and video production technologies. Light Field Capture and high frame rates. “It’s important for us to understand how each camera sees the world,” said Netflix’s managing director for production technologies Chris Clark.