Welcome back to Field of View, our weekly look at what’s happening in the world of virtual and augmented reality. This week was actually an extremely slow week in both worlds.
But that doesn’t mean that there’s absolutely nothing to talk about. We just refreshed our best VR apps and games for both Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR.
Besides that, there were other odds and ends that happened this week. Take a gander below at some of the other news in the world of VR and AR, plus our weekly recommendations.
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Read this: News hits
Magic Leap teams up with Grant Morrison
Magic Leap has been steadily sealing partnerships with various companies over the past couple of years. It already has Lucasfilm, the NBA, Peter Jackson’s WETA and Madefire under its belt, and now it’s gained another notable name.
Grant Morrison is one of the biggest names in comic books, having written for Batman, Wonder Woman, the X-Men, Justice League and being known for writing one of the greatest Superman stories of all time. Morrison’s company, Square Slice, has now signed a partnership to create AR experiences for Magic Leap.
Morrison is a huge get, but he’s also not an incredibly surprising one. He served as an advisor to Magic Leap in its earlier days. He’s seen the progress Magic Leap has made and is at least excited enough to tie his production company to the product.
To be clear, despite Morrison writing for some of the biggest characters in the comic book world, he can’t bring them to Magic Leap because their rights are owned by DC and Marvel. But he can create wholly original stories to the platform, which he has done before to great acclaim.
Mark Zuckerberg says Oculus Go has had a good start
Oculus Go is out and about, and it’s a pretty good gateway to the world of VR. It’s relatively affordable, it’s a good standalone headset and it’s got a good ecosystem of apps and games to keep you busy.
But how is it really doing? Facebook won’t release sales numbers, but during its recent Q2 earnings call Mark Zuckerberg said that it’s “off to a good start” and that Facebook is “making a lot of progress” in VR.
While we don’t exactly know what a “good start” is, it’s good to know that Facebook is still bullish on Oculus and VR.
Vive says VR isn’t dying
As you saw above, companies don’t really like to share how many VR headsets they’ve sold. In fact, the only numbers we really know is that PlayStation VR has moved about 2 million units – the most of any VR headset.
The lack of numbers has led to some outlets to use other ways to figure out how well VR headsets have done. Last week, Digital Trends put together a report to show that HTC Vive sales have plummeted on Amazon.
The Vive team took to its blog to repute the report, saying that analyst claims that VR is dying is “greatly exaggerated.” The reason for the steep drop in Vive headset sales on Amazon? The Vive headset has been pacing at its “highest sales velocity of all time” for weeks and weeks and is sold out.
For a product in its third year, the Vive team argues, that trajectory is unheard of. The company is ramping up production of the original Vive and units will start rolling out to retailers shortly.
Vive also points out that VR is a new technology, and that new technologies take time. Word of mouth needs to spread, so that people can see the benefits of VR and then hop on the train.
Is VR actually dying? Is Vive right? It’s hard to tell for sure until we get some hard sales numbers and can see the trends in data.
Shape-shifting display lets you touch VR
One of the big hurdles toward getting fully immersive VR is figuring out tactile feedback. So when something virtual touches you, you feel it, and when you touch something virtual, you feel it.
Stanford University’s Shape Lab is looking to solve the latter problem with the ShapeShift table. It uses a bunch of 7mm rods in a matrix, and they can all move independently up and down to recreate the shape of something that exists in VR.
You’ll be familiar with the idea if you’ve ever played with one of those pin boards. You can stick your hand in on one side, and then see your hand recreated on the other side.
ShapeShift isn’t a perfect solution, you can’t exactly pick up anything and use it, but it does simulate feeling for stationary objects quite well.
Watch this: Video Game Vehicle
Taking clear inspiration from Back to the Future, Video Game Vehicle is a 360 video from SoKrispyMedia in partnership with Google Daydream. You’re in a fancy Kia that can hop between video games. It’s a fun little video that’s one of the most creative use of VR we’ve seen in a 360 vid.
Play this: Marvel Powers United VR
The Oculus exclusive is finally out. It’s a co-op game where you can don the masks of Marvel’s most popular characters, including Spider-Man, The Hulk, Captain America and more. In our time with the game, we found it to be an enjoyable social experience that even non-Marvel fans can enjoy. It’s available now on the Oculus store for £39.99.