The made-for-VR Oculus Touch controller definitely won’t launch with the …

25 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

All posts tagged Galaxy Note 5.

Okay, that’s not quite true, but there wasn’t a peep about the news everyone wanted: A release date and price. No price or exact release date, but Oculus VR did provide a broader look Thursday at apps for its first virtual-reality headset, going on sale early next year. “Minecraft,” Netflix, Twitch, “Sonic the Hedgehog” and new artistic tool Medium will be top apps in the Oculus Store, the Facebook-owned technology company announced at a its developers’ conference in Hollywood.

Samsung Electronics Co. and Facebook Inc.’s Oculus VR unveiled a new version of the Gear VR headset Thursday, aimed at bringing what executives said was the “power of virtual reality to the mainstream.” To reach the masses, the headset will be priced at $99 and work with the full slate of 2015 Samsung Galaxy phones: Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 Edge+, S6 and S6 Edge.Samsung vice president Peter Koo announced the headset Thursday at a developer’s conference for virtual reality technology company Oculus in Los Angeles.

Before the Oculus Rift, game studio Owlchemy Labs was possibly best known as the creator of Smuggle Truck (the rejected iOS physics game about undocumented immigrants) and Snuggle Truck (the accepted iOS physics game about stuffed animals.) But in 2013, the studio released Aaaaaculus!, a virtual reality adaptation of a skydiving game it created with Dejobaan Games in 2011. After nearly three years of asking and being met with a stony “We’ll have more on that at a later date,” or some other such PR non-answer, we’re…still waiting.

Overly expensive, a lack of content, a slightly-cumbersome headset—all of these were real problems that made Gear VR an impressive demo device but a poor value proposition for normal people. Now, the studio is preparing for the release of Job Simulator, an offbeat virtual reality toybox about (usually badly) performing jobs like cooking and convenience store management.

Oculus was content to spend Oculus Connect 2015 speaking in grander terms—talking about being at the beginning of something big, changing the world, et cetera. But at Oculus Connect on Thursday, Samsung’s Peter Koo came on stage to announce a brand new Gear VR, which I guess we’ll call “Gear VR 2015” from now on. The headset looks largely the same as its predecessor, though Samsung claims it’s 22 percent lighter and “much more comfortable to wear.” Also, the side-controls (used for navigation and volume) look a bit more defined.

It’ll require a computer with a strong graphics card, and the company plans to work with desktop manufacturers such as Asus and Dell to put “Oculus Ready” stamps on compatible machines. The big news though is that when Gear VR 2015 ships in November (pre-Black Friday, says Peter Koo) it’ll be compatible with all of Samsung’s flagship 2015 phones—the Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+, and Note 5. In fact, the one big piece of concrete news is actually fairly disappointing: Oculus Touch—the alternative controller that allows you to use your hands in virtual reality—won’t be ready until Q2. Iribe also cautioned Rift adoption would “start small” but grow into “something incredible,” with millions experiencing virtual reality for the first time next year. Meaning, in other words, that it won’t be ready for the Oculus Rift’s launch, a possibility that Oculus founder hinted at when the made-for-VR Touch was revealed earlier this summer.

Gear VR is embracing its media side and bringing Netflix and Twitch streaming to the device, with more content providers (Hulu, et cetera) coming in the near future. The company also said its Touch controller would go on sale after the Rift, and that it would come with an app called Oculus Medium for painting, sculpting and designing in 3D. So never brand us as like, “They’re the veterans of VR development!” We’ve seen and worked with a lot of hardware, and we feel like we’re starting to get a sense of what the space feels like and what it’s like to develop for it. I’m not sure it’s enough to enable the sort of walking-around VR the HTC Vive is built for, with its 15 by 15 foot range, but we’ll need some hands-on time to know. The big challenge facing Oculus Touch is convincing enough consumers who already own a Rift with its packed-in Xbox controller that they need this presumably-expensive peripheral in order to convince developers they should support it.

Watching video game competitions on Twitch puts viewers in a virtual living room, with the ability to interact with avatars of friends. “Minecraft,” the popular game owned by Microsoft Corp., will be in 3D, too. That’s a tall order, and it gets taller with every dollar you tack on to the price and every day the Touch is delayed past the Rift headset’s launch. There will never be a time. [Oculus chief scientist] Michael Abrash’s talks are always about where we need to be to hit it, from a very scientific angle.

Like our eyes have 16K resolution per eye, and that’s where we can actually start — we can’t see any smaller of a detail when I look at a single hair of your head. But for now, I think we have to hit that quality VR experience to sell people, because I’m not a fan of having an experience that doesn’t quite sell people as their first experience.

But then there’s this laziness curve that happens, and you’re sitting there like three hours into bowling, and you just go like “Meh.” You could reduce the amount to trick the game into thinking that you did the operation property. We’ve been thinking about ergonomics a lot, and just like a product designer or an interior decorator, you wouldn’t want to put lots of shelves in your home that are very high-use very high up. It’s kind of like when people said, “Oh, will mobile games completely eradicate other gaming?” It’s just another form factor — the best games in VR are going to be the ones you can’t do anywhere else. I think the thing that’s different between mobile and what’s happening here with VR is that the scale between shitty mobile and the best mobile experience is like — how good can this mobile experience be?

It’s like the same argument you’d use against ‘Why were 3D TVs a failure?’ Because it only gave like a 2 percent increment over what could have been better about your TV viewing experience. I’ve never tried anything like that.” We are further away from having good AR than most people think — or that marketing departments of various AR companies want you to think. With the limited set of things you can do with that tech, I don’t know that it will live up to people’s vision of what they hoped AR would be in the next year. We have totally hit the Holodeck level — you’re in a white box that is 10 x 10, and now you’re in a totally different world, and you can walk on the surface of the moon, or you could explore an entirely new virtual world and feel like those objects are actually solid.

Holodeck-level shit is actually happening.” It’s enough to impress people that I haven’t seen anyone come out of an Oculus Touch demo or a Vive demo and say “Meh.” It’s a good sign.

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