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AR/VR Weekly: One mega-corp to rule them all

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Amazon. Apple. Google. Microsoft. These four corporations, our Chris O’Brien writes, are fighting for one thing: Controlling how we interact with tech, in every single way. Google just gobbled up HTC’s phone division. Apple’s iOS 11 and ARKit have brought augmented reality to millions of phones, and an AR-enabled game has already hit the top spot in the free-to-play listings. Microsoft is working on combining AR and VR into mixed reality, and Amazon wants you to use its Echo devices to order it all with just the sound of your voice.

Sounds a bit scary, eh? I worry where AR and VR are going to fit into this … and if Apple will come out the winner here.

Apple’s release of High Sierra, its latest (and free) Mac OS software update, adds virtual reality apps to its ecosystem thanks to Metal 2. Now, remember, you need some GPU heft to run VR games and experiences, along with gear like the HTC Vive. But some of Apple’s desktops and laptops have the power to do so — though not my old Macbook Air, of course — and software designers love their Apple products.

Will this give Apple an advantage in the future? I’m not sure. But I do worry seeing this huge company move in on AR and VR. It’s giving developers access to more users — that will make many happy. But will putting these mediums’ futures in the hands of another giant corporation — as Facebook with Oculus and VR — be a good thing?

For AR/VR coverage, send news tips to Dean Takahashi and Jeff Grubb (for those that cross over into PC gaming). Please send guest post submissions to Rowan Kaiser. Please be sure to visit our AR/VR Channel.

—Jason Wilson, GamesBeat managing editor

P.S. Ping-Pong isn’t a bad idea for VR — though maybe we’ll ask Dean to try something else next time.

From GamesBeat

Stack AR is the first ARKit game to top Apple App Store’s free-to-play category

Stack launched last year for iOS and Android, but with iOS 11 rolling out to iPhones everywhere, developer Ketchapp Games rereleased the game with augmented reality. Called Stack AR, it reached No. 1 on the Apple App Store in the free-to-play games category over the weekend, according to market analyst Sensor Tower. It’s the first game […]

3 ways augmented reality will transform UX design

With Apple’s recent launch of AR Kit and Google’s announcement of AR Core, the nascent augmented reality space is set for a major battle. AR presents a brand new frontier of computing interfaces that will redefine how we interact with information. As such, the UX designers of tomorrow will need to be equipped with the right […]

Apple releases macOS High Sierra as a free download

Apple today released macOS High Sierra, a week after iOS 11. macOS version 10.13 is now available on the Mac App Store as a free download. During its WorldWide Developers Conference in June, Apple announced High Sierra, which then became available through a beta version for developers. The update brings refinements to the operating system […]

Secret Location expands Vusr distribution platform for VR apps

The virtual reality industry is fragmented. Secret Location, a VR tech company, wants to address that with Vusr, a white-label distribution platform for VR apps. It’s getting an update today that makes it easier to publish, distribute, and monetize 360-degree video and other VR content on any VR headset. Vusr can now support real-time rendered content, […]

Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft: The scramble to beat Apple, dominate hardware, and own your future

ANALYSIS: Google’s $1.1 billion acquihire of HTC’s Pixel team is just the latest example of a mega trend that is turning the tech industry upside down and has enormous consequences for the role technology plays in all of our lives. Put simply, the biggest of big tech companies have decided that to win, they must control every […]

Intel believes WiGig will be a viable option for wireless high-end VR

Intel showed off a demo this week of WiGig wireless networking technology that can connect a high-performance PC with a wireless virtual reality headset, providing a new option for doing VR without the annoying cables. The WiGig technology, which uses a short-range 60-gigahertz radio, can transfer data at fast enough rates to feed VR imagery […]

Beyond GamesBeat

The Solus Project Devs On Adapting A Non-VR Game For VR Headsets

The Solus Project from Teotl Studios and Grip Digital just recently released last week on PS4. Both the PC and console versions include VR support, making it one of the first fully-featured survival simulator experiences with full VR support on all three major headsets: Rift, Vive, and PSVR. (via UploadVR)

Blocker is a Revolutionary AR Application for Filmmakers

Much has been made of the storytelling capacities of VR and AR, but what about using them as tools to aid other storytelling media? The recent release of iOS 11 has ushered in a slate of new AR applications into the mainstream, and while many are just for escapism and fun, others have been designed to enhance our lives and work with the unprecedented functionality. Blocker sets its sights on cinema, letting creatives worldwide optimize the filmmaking process by harnessing the power of mixed reality for conception, composition, and collaboration. (via VR Scout)

Spielberg-backed VR startup grabs $20M led by AMC to bring headsets into movie theaters

Though consumer VR is off to a slow start, many believe that location-based experiences could represent a more sustainable future for the industry, giving consumers higher-quality content in an experience that’s a lot more like going to see a movie. In fact, trying out VR at the movie theater is exactly what many startups are trying to get done. (via TechCrunch)

Leak Suggests Samsung is Building a Windows VR Headset

There wasn’t any mention of Samsung getting into the Windows ‘Mixed Reality’ program when it was announced last year, which saw OEMs like Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, and Lenovo tapped to create VR headsets around the same reference design. A recent leak however, showing a rendering of a Samsung-built VR headset emblazoned with a “Windows Mixed Reality” symbol, suggests otherwise. (via Road to VR)

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