Virtual Reality Gaming isn’t coming, it’s already here. With the introduction of Google Cardboard and the Daydream VR platform, Oculus and HTC discrete VR headsets and GearVR headsets for even smartphones like the Samsung’s Galaxy S7, the first tentative steps towards virtual reality gaming are being taken. With Facebook announcing its buy-in of virtual reality technology for a whopping $2 billion, Google has responded with its own VR system, a simple piece of cardboard that can turn your Android phone into a neat virtual reality headset. This all proves that VR gaming is here to stay. Already, the range and quality of available games is encouraging.
After spending the past ten days in Hollywood, we met with numerous industry members who are working on next generation of Virtual Reality content. There’s little doubt that we are witnessing the dawn of a new medium, with Hollywood leading the charge when it comes to content development. As an industry, we need immersive experiences that will show what VR brings to the table and so far, there are two experiences one should go through: WeVR’s “theBlu” for HTC Vive and Crytek’s “The Climb” for Oculus Rift. For a pure enjoyment, theBlu experiences simply are the best way to immerse a person in virtual reality,
Back in October 2015, we had a conversation with an senior industry executive close to HTC. In that conversation, the soft-spoken executive claimed that HTC’s virtual reality group will go through a major change, and that the future for Vive will be “what the Radeon Technologies Group spin-off was for AMD, but (HTC) will go beyond that.” According to our source, HTC was used as a logistics and legal vehicle to jump-start the new company, which will go much further than a simple headset designer and manufacturer. Thanks to Digitimes, we learned that Chinese-only newspaper Commercial Times confirmed the upcoming spin-off from none other than Cher Wang herself. The CEO
Even though it ‘still makes phones’, HTC is in the process of reinventing themselves. The company was the first of major technology companies to replace “Mobile First” with the “VR First” corporate approach, putting themselves in an advantageous position while the giants such as Samsung are slow to change their path, which we covered exclusively here. High Tech Computer Corporation, which is the full name of the company started its life as a computer manufacturer (HTC 1.0), quickly moving to the world of Windows Mobile PDA’s (anyone remembers Personal Digital Assistant craze of early 2000s?) and manufacturing brilliantly designed smartphones (HTC 2.0). HTC 3.0 is all about Virtual Reality, and the
At the CryTek event today at GDC 2016, Basemark unveiled VRScore, a VR benchmark. This is a first ultra-demanding, high-resolution, high-texture benchmark coming from the team that worked together on numerous iterations of Futuremark’s 3DMark. They spun of from Futuremark, developing ‘Basemark’ benchmark for mobile devices, and now are entering the dynamic VR scene. “From the first moment sitting down with the Crytek team through the development of VRScore, we’ve been thoroughly impressed with their talent and hard working,” said Tero Sarkkinen, founder of Basemark, “Today, we together put the fruits of this collaboration for the first time for the general public to see and I am
On Thursday, Manus VR said that pre-orders for the first Manus glove developer kit (DK1) will open its doors in Q2 2016. For $250, the kit will contain one pair of VR gloves, two wrist-mounted holders for the HTC Vive controller, various cables, plug-ins for the Unity and Unreal engines, an open-source SDK for five operating systems, and a demo game for each of those platforms. The kit will ship out to customers in Q3 2016. Currently compatible with only the HTC Vive VR headset, the Magus gloves will work on Android, Windows 7 and newer, Linux, Apple’s iOS and Mac OS X platforms. According
The HTC Vive VR headset is slated to go retail on April 5. Based on Valve Software’s SteamVR platform, the Virtual Reality device packs OLED screens with a resolution of 1080×1200 per eye, and more than seventy sensors. Unlike the upcoming Oculus Rift, the Vive can work in a space of 15 feet by 15 feet, allowing users to move around the virtual world. However, the headset will cost a meaty $799 and require a somewhat beefy PC to support it. So what if you don’t have an extra $799 to spend on VR? There’s always the Samsung Gear VR for $99, but that requires a
Last week, Valve Software published the first session of its SteamVR Developer Roundtable, featuring VR developers Justin Liebregts (Cloudlands Minigolf), Andy Moore (Fantastic Contraption), Dylan Fitterer (Audioshield), Richard Stitselaar (Arizona Sunshine), Dave Walsh (Elite Dangerous), and Joachim Holmér (Budget Cuts). These “pioneers” spent just over 26 minutes talking about their experience developing virtual reality games for the SteamVR platform and the upcoming HTC Vive. The video opens up with Andy Moore talking about Fantastic Contraption, a building game for VR. He says most people don’t know how mind-blowing VR can be because they mostly see screenshots. He makes a valid point: after jumping into a
Update March 17th, 2016 16:52 GMT – The AMD R9 Nano x2 was the performance achieved by Radeon Pro Duo. We have discussed the SteamVR benchmark with Valve and they are working on expanding the benchmark score to incorporate more frames. The Fidelity test will stay just that (“Crank it up to 11”), but the benchmark will be enhanced to factor in the developments of graphics hardware. We will follow up as more developments around SteamVR happen. Original Article: Over the past three weeks, we saw two VR vendors releasing their tests to check can your machine deliver an optimal VR experience or not. As it goes, one vendor (Oculus) did
February is the month when all the major and minor smartphone vendors come to exhibit their wares in the halls of Barcelona’s BICC (Barcelona’s International Convention Centre), and two of the vendors that are expected to make a splash will be Samsung and HTC. This time, UltraPixel camera technology might make its biggest splash yet. HTC is gearing up to launch the One M10 flagship smartphone (Perfume), while Samsung is planning to launch three Galaxy S7 phones; Galaxy S7, S7 Edge and S7 Edge+. Both HTC and Samsung (S7 Edge+ only) will utilize Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor with 4GB of LPDDR4 memory and with up to 128 GB
Path of product development is often less-than-glamorous. Engineers spend thousands of working hours to improve the initial prototypes and quite often, path to great design is paved with less-than-stellar prototypes. A good example is AMD’s concept PC for VR Gaming. AMD’s CEO, Lisa Su told VR World: “When I saw the (Project Quantum) prototype system for the first time, I was far from being impressed. It looked so bad with wires and cables that I was wondering why are we spending our time on that project. It was Chris (Hook, AMD / RTG Director of Global Marketing) that convinced me to give engineers time to complete the
What started as a ‘MyStar International’, manufacturing motherboards in Taiwan and trying to penetrate the western markets – turned into a global leader in technology development and sales. Sales-wise, MSI is now more a force known for its gaming notebooks rather than motherboards, but the core business of motherboards and graphics cards is not showing any restrain. Titanium motherboards and Lightning graphics cards come with a lot of great features, and innovation is spreading throughout the company. One such example is recently announced collaboration between MSI, HTC and Valve, which went largely unnoticed (here’s a free hint – don’t put strategy announcements together with product announcements). Starting
Several weeks ago, HTC came out with a statement that their Vive VR system, which is being developed together with Valve Corporation and their SteamVR platform – is being pushed back from December 2015 to April 2016. While the company kept mum on the reasons for the delay, they insisted it wasn’t related to manufacturing issues, but rather because of ‘technological breakthrough’. On CES 2016, HTC and Valve finally released the images of completed products, and we have to admit they look quite different compared to the Vive VR setup we tested in November. Under the retail product name HTC Vive Pre, the company introduced what is a third generation of
Taiwan IT industry, for a long time the leading among all Asian nations in terms of hardware manufacturing, has had its ups and downs over the decades. Does anyone still remember FIC (First International Computer), once the world’s leading mainboard maker? Or Elitegroup as the close second, while today’s leaders, Gigabyte, ASUS and MSI were far behind? Not many do… The gigantic Formosa Plastics consortium, which owned FIC, continued down the road with VIA Technologies and HTC, showing their love for three lettered acronyms. While these two still survive, the twisted sense of marketing and PR in these companies – one of the stones around their
Developer kits will be free of charge, but supplies are limited.
Shakeup at the company as its top designer departs.
Word comes out of Taipei Friday that HTC’s Peter Chou has departed the top position at the company.
FeelReal has made the virtual reality equivalent of smell-o-vision with a curious mask that simulates the sense of smell and even wind breeze.
No Half-Life 3 reveal today, sorry.
The beleaguered Taiwanese handset maker is betting on new product lines to reverse its long decline.