Recapping the top stories covered on the VRScout Report, a weekly live video show and podcast discussing the best in VR, hosted by Malia Probst. You can enjoy the full audio recording below:
In this Episode 29 of the VRScout Report, we talk Snapchat and the upcoming Spectacles, Palmer Luckey’s political controversy, the price of the Oculus Touch controllers, brainwaves that choose your virtual date, Hulu and HuffPost RYOT team up for serialized VR content, and more… Special thanks to our guest Julia Sourikoff, Head of VR and 360 for Tool.
1. SNAPCHAT LETS THE SPECTACLES OUT OF THE BAG
Snapchat finally announced their hardware play and changed the company name to Snap, Inc. A camera-enabled pair of Snapchat-linked sunglasses, Spectacles will allow you to record up to 10 seconds of video from your POV with just a tap. The camera features a wide angle lens which will record video in a circular format, and the glasses will be available this fall for $129 and limited distribution and available in black, teal, or coral. As more than 60% of the 13-to-34-year-old smartphone users are on Snapchat, and the platform boasts 150M daily users – this stylish device will no doubt have an active userbase. Although the announced functionality is simple, Spectacles could be laying even more groundwork for Snap, Inc. to eventually release an augmented reality device eventually. Will you get a pair?
2. THE WEIRD SAGA OF PALMER LUCKEY AND DONALD TRUMP
Palmer Luckey, the 24 year-old founder of Oculus, has gotten embroiled in a political controversy. The Daily Beast reported that Luckey raised money for a pro-Trump non-profit called Nimble America, which is dedicated to influencing politics by trolling and bringing Internet memes to real world situations (an example is a billboard in Pittsburgh featuring a cartoonish image of Hillary Clinton, with the caption “Too Big to Jail”). After Luckey’s company was bought by Facebook for $2B in 2014, his reported net worth is $700M – so he has plenty of money to play with. Luckey has since posted on Facebook, saying he only gave $10K to Nimble America because it has “fresh ideas” for communicating with young voters and that he is actually planning on voting for Gary Johnson. Although Oculus (and some of its other executives) have released statements saying that Luckey’s purported political views do not reflect those of the company, quite a few VR developers and studios have withdrawn support for the Oculus platform…. unless Luckey steps down.
3. A PRETTY PENNY FOR THE OCULUS HAND CONTROLLERS
The price of Oculus Touch, the hand controllers for the Rift, has been revealed via a GAME store display in the UK – and the intuitive data input devices will cost you about $200 in the U.S. Although higher than many Rift owners wanted (remember, this cost is in addition to the $600 Rift itself, which was released earlier this year and included Microsoft Xbox controllers), the $200 price point still puts the overall cost of the Oculus Rift setup on the same level as the HTC Vive, which included controllers upon launch and is priced at $800. An additional camera sensor will be included with the Touch to improve positional tracking for the system, and no official shipment timing has been announced other than it will be in Q4 – although insiders say to expect the controllers to start shipping as early as late October.
4. WHEN YOUR BRAINWAVES CHOOSE WHO YOU DATE
Although somewhat unknown in the U.S., dating simulators are a popular activity (and business!) in Japan. Virtual dating games offer you a chance to practice your mojo – and the Noha Love Checker (translated to the “Brainwave Love Checker”) is a VR game in which you put on a headset with special sensors. You are introduced to a cast of female characters, and your brainwaves determine which character you take on a virtual date. Although no hardware specifics or release date has been announced, this is a quirky twist on serious applications of VR and neural recognition networks – like MindMaze, which combines neuroscience, brain-computer interfaces, and virtual reality for therapeutic use cases.
5. HULU AND HUFFPOST RYOT PAIR UP FOR SERIALIZED, VR-ONLY SHOWS
Hulu has announced a partnership with HuffPost RYOT (RYOT, an immersive journalism company, was acquired by the Huffington Post earlier this year) to bring a comedy show and a world news show to the Hulu VR app. A sketch comedy series, “Virtually Mike & Nora” will star Nora Kirkpatrick from The Office and Mike O’Brien from Saturday Night Live – the duo co-created the show and will also write and direct it. “The Big Picture,” the world news show, will be hosted by Oscar-nominated filmmaker and HuffPost RYOT co-founder Bryn Mooser and will explore key world issues. Both shows are interesting experiments in serialized content and will be distributed exclusively on the Hulu VR app, which is available on the Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR.
NBC TEAMS UP W/ ALTSPACE TO STREAM PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE IN VR
TIME INC LAUNCHES VR PLATFORM
SONY PARTNERS WITH CONTENT STUDIO REALITY ONE
MICROSOFT NABS MARK BOLAS, RENOWNED VR PIONEER
SEE (AND SMELL?) KATE MOSS IN A VR PERFUME AD
PUBLICITY STUNTS AND ALMOST-NAKED MODELS
NAVY DIVERS EQUIPPED WITH AR HELMETS
GOOGLE DAYDREAM SDK NOW AVAILABLE
NIKON’S 360 CAMERA IS $499 AND AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER
SASHA GRAY THINKS VR PORN IS TOO MUCH
CHECK OUT MARS WITH BUZZ ALDRIN AND THE HOLOLENS