Virtual reality comes to Netflix, Hulu

26 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook’s Oculus introduces $99 Gear VR that works with new Samsung phone.

Minecraft will be one of the first games to make its way onto the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset when it goes on sale in Spring 2016, it has emerged.

According to the Verge, Peter Koo, Senior VP, Samsung Mobile said that the new Gear VR will be compatible with Samsung’s whole 2015 line of smartphones which includes the Note 5, S6, S6 Edge and S6 Edge+. At $200, its last-generation headset, the Gear VR Innovator Edition, already undercut Oculus, Sony, and HTC, which are all due to release their more-expensive VR viewers—all targeted at hard-core gamers—in 2016. Of course, Google also has Cardboard—a headset made of cheap components, including its namesake material—that’s supposed to introduce the technology to the masses. The announcement marks a u-turn by Mojang, the company behind Minecraft, after its founder, Markus Persson, backed out of a partnership with Oculus VR in 2014, citing unease over Facebook’s purchase of the company. “I definitely want to be a part of VR, but I will not work with Facebook.

Samsung teamed up with Oculus, which is owned by Facebook, to overcome some of these issues, integrating an accelerometer, gyroscope, and proximity sensors. There’s nothing about their history that makes me trust them, and that makes them seem creepy to me,” he said at the time. “People have made games for Facebook platforms before, and while it worked great for a while, they were stuck in a very unfortunate position when Facebook eventually changed the platform to better fit the social experience they were trying to build.” However, Mr Persson’s departure from Mojang last year, prompted by a Microsoft buyout, apparently reopened negotiations between Mojang and Oculus, and saw Minecraft expand to several new platforms, including Microsoft’s own Windows 10 and Windows Phone operating systems. And because it’s geared toward viewing 360-degree videos—and less on processor-intensive games—it’s able to render the experiences relatively smoothly. “The reason we’re focusing so much effort and energy—and the reason we’re doing mobile and video—is because everybody has a mobile phone and everyone watches video,” Matt Apfel, vice president of Samsung Media Solutions Center, tells Quartz.

Oculus Rift – which started life as a Kickstarter project in 2012, promising to “take 3D gaming to the next level” – is currently scheduled to start shipping to consumers in the first quarter of 2016, with pre-orders beginning later this year. Still, some, like Andreessen Horowitz’s Chris Dixon, believe there’s a lot to be desired. “I believe the high end is what you need,” he tells Quartz. At that price, the upcoming Gear VR could almost qualify as an impulse buy—for owners of the Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 Edge+, S6, and S6 Edge phones, anyway. Juniper Research forecasts 30 million shipments and $4 billion in revenue from headset sales by 2020. “I think these low-barrier, entry technologies are very important,” says Adam Levin, who helped found the Virtual Reality Foundation. “Certainly there is a divide between what you can do with a computer-based experience and cell phone-based experience, but the availability of cell phones as a way into virtual reality is very important.”

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