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HTC to Sell Shanghai Phone Factory for $91 Million, Invest Proceeds in VR Business

Despite its major role in the growing VR space, HTC’s overall business continues to struggle financially, posting significant losses over the last two years. Working to turn things around with a restructuring of assets and priorities, the company is facing the sale of a smartphone factory in Shanghai. The proceeds from the $91 million sale will largely funnel toward the company’s Vive VR business, according to China Daily. On Wednesday, HTC’s board made the decision to sell the factory to Shanghai Xingbao Information Technology as part of an effort to return the company to financial stability. According to HTC, the sale of the nearly 1.3 million square-foot factory and the land on which it’s built will not have an impact on the…

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Epic Games Busts ‘Robo Recall’s’ $10 Million Myth

Good news. Robo Recall, one of the best looking games available on a VR headset today, actually cost a lot less to produce than the rumored $10 million. It’s certainly a compliment to the small team at Epic Games responsible for the game that the notion of a $10 million production budget was so widely spread and accepted. Robo Recall is great, but, it turns out, not $10-million-great. The Origin The suggestion of a $10 million budget started with an interview with Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney at last year’s VRX conference where he addressed the fact that Oculus had offered to fund production of game so that it could be published for free on their platform, saying that “Oculus is…

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‘Raw Data’ Early Access Review, Now with Oculus Touch Support

Raw Data, a first-person combat game from Survios currently in Early Access, is one of the most fast-paced and exciting games out for HTC Vive and Oculus Touch right now. Far from being a simple shooting gallery, Raw Data gives you an impressive range of abilities and physical agency, making you feel like you’re in real danger. And if you can master the controls, you’ll feel like a superhuman badass too. Raw Data Details: Official Site Developer: Survios Publisher: Survios Available On: HTC Vive (Steam), Oculus Touch (Home) Reviewed On: HTC Vive. Oculus Touch Release Date: July 15th, 2016 (Vive) – March 16th, 2017 (Touch) Note 03/16/17: The article has been updated to include impressions of the game’s recent support for Oculus Touch. You’ll find those impressions in a section at the…

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Analysis: Latest VR Ready GPUs Benchmarked and Compared with NVIDIA ‘FCAT VR’

While it’s been possible to run basic benchmarks on VR-capable GPUs for a rough understanding of performance, NVIDIA’s new FCAT VR tool allows detailed logging and analysis of runtime data captured from any VR app on any GPU. We’ve thrown the latest VR Ready GPUs at the tool to see what we find. While the FCAT VR tool is developed by Nvidia, the company insists it is headset and GPU agnostic, and meant only to capture data. The tool itself doesn’t contain a benchmark; according to the company, the tool logs information directly from the VR runtime. For each frame, FCAT VR can read if a properly rendered frame is shown on the headset, if a frame is dropped, or if the frame…

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Oculus Publishes Touch CAD Files for Custom-made Accessories

Oculus has provided the ‘Touch Accessory Guidelines 1.0’ for download, which contains 3D CAD files of the Touch VR controller. This data can be used to help designers and manufacturers create new accessories that integrate with the Touch hardware. Available for download on the Oculus developer website, the Touch Accessory Guidelines 1.0 include technical drawings and STEP files of the controller’s exterior surfacing and battery compartment. In addition, it includes data for the Rock Band VR connector, an adapter included with every Oculus Touch package, enabling the design of devices which could use the adapter to attach a Touch controller. SEE ALSO Oculus Touch Insides Revealed in Detailed Teardown   You can take a look at the CAD files here for…

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On the Hunt for VR’s Killer App with Vive’s China President, Alvin Wang Graylin

Everyone in the VR industry can envision a world in the next 10 years that’s radically changed by virtual reality. From healthcare, education, social, training, cinema, gaming, and more, VR has a lot of Killer Use-cases. But it seems most of the industry is in agreement that the Killer App—a single, platform-defining piece of software that compels buyers—has not yet arrived. Vive’s Alvin Wang Graylin weighs in on how we might come to find it. We’re featuring insights on the hunt for the killer app from virtual reality’s leading companies. Today we hear from Alvin Wang Graylin, HTC’s China President of Vive. Alvin Wang Graylin Graylin is the China President of Vive at HTC leading all aspects of the Vive/VR business in…

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Google Job Listings Point to New “Mass Production” AR/VR Hardware in the Pipeline

Google launched the Daydream View headset late last year, the company’s first virtual reality hardware product. As a smartphone clip-in headset, the View is a relatively simple device which leaves the bulk of the work up to the host smartphone. A slew of recent job postings however suggest significant new AR/VR hardware in the works from Google.   Last time we checked in on Google’s job listings, the company was seeking a number of new hardware related positions, including an Electrical Engineer for the company’s AR/VR team who could “Lead electrical hardware development for consumer electronic products from concept into production,” and had “experience supporting high-volume overseas manufacturing builds.”   SEE ALSO Google Daydream Review: Casual VR Closes the Gap  …

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Tobii Recommends Explicit Consent for Recording Eye Tracking Data

The eye tracking company Tobii had some VR demos that they were showing on the GDC Expo Hall floor as well as within Valve’s booth. They were primarily focusing on the new user interaction paradigms that are made available by using eye gazing to select specific objects, direct action, but also locomotion determined by eye gaze. I had a chance to catch up with Johan Hellqvist, VP products and integrations at Tobii, where we discussed some of the eye tracking applications being demoed. We also had a deeper discussion about what type of eye tracking data should be recorded and the consent that application developers should secure before capturing and storing it.   LISTEN TO THE VOICES OF VR PODCAST…

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‘Waltz of the Wizard’ ‘Ghostline’ Analytics Reveal Some Surprising Player Behaviour

Aldin Dynamics has released a detailed breakdown of user data gathered during over 300,000 sessions of Waltz of the Wizard gameplay. Launched in May 2016, the motion-controlled VR game was developed with the insights gained from using Aldin’s own data visualisation tool Ghostline. Dedicated to VR software development since early 2013, Aldin Dynamics is one of the most experienced studios in the world, launching software on Oculus developer kits and Gear VR. In May 2016, their motion control game Waltz of the Wizard launched on Steam for free, and quickly became a popular showcase for the HTC Vive, having seen over 300,000 sessions from over 100,000 players. It is currently the highest-rated VR app on Steam. However, the wizardry is…

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Korix Claims to be the First PSVR Title to Run Natively at 120Hz

Korix a visually-minimalist VR RTS headed to PlayStation VR claiming to be the first title to run natively at 120Hz on the headset.   While the PSVR display supports a 120Hz refresh rate, most games on the platform run at 60Hz and use a technique called asynchronous reprojection to inject interpolated frames to bring the output up to the 120Hz rate. The headset can also run with a native 90Hz refresh rate (matching the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive). According to developer Mark Taylor, Korix will be the first game on PSVR to run natively at 120Hz, on both PS4 and PS4 Pro. The game, which is soon to get an official release date, is a “retro styled real-time strategy [game] crossed with…