Welcome to Field of view, our weekly dive into everything that’s been happening in VR and AR. And with MWC 2019 taking place this week, there’s been a lot to talk about.
The big one was the launch of Microsoft’s HoloLens 2, the next iteration of its augmented reality headset. Microsoft’s boosted the resolution, field of view, and added hand gesture recognition. It also flips up at the front for when you need to snap back to reality. Very nice.
Hands on: Microsoft HoloLens 2 review
Here’s what else has been going down.
Read this: VR and AR news
Oculus takes new approach to Quest games
Oculus’s new standalone VR headset, the Oculus Quest, is just a matter of weeks away – and the company is planning a different strategy when it comes to the games we’ll be playing on it.
To date, the requirements to get your content on an Oculus headset have been pretty minimal. Everything must be submitted for approval, and as long as it meets the technical and content requirements, it will get published. For the Quest, Oculus is setting the bar a bit higher, asking developers to also submit a “concept document” to explain why their game or experience will be a good one. Facebook will then decide what should – and shouldn’t – get a pass.
Oculus believes this will lead to higher quality games and experiences on the system – but it could prove a risky strategy for a system that probably won’t have a huge userbase for quite some time. We’ll see.
How long would you spend in VR?
For Jak Wilmot, it was an entire week. The intrepid VR explorer challenged himself to spend seven days in the virtual realities. Wilmot used the HTC Vive Focus’s passthrough feature to do things like eat, use the bathroom, but otherwise remained locked in, trying all sorts of VR games and experiences, and only allowing himself short 30-second breaks to switch headsets or for eating trickier meals.
“Hour 19.3 in XR: Very vivid dreams last night. My brain seemed to interpret outside noises (my neighbors) as a VR experience,” tweeted Wilmot at one point.
Now he’s out, Wilmot has shared some of his thoughts about the experience and the process of readjusting to reality. He also plans to post a short documentary about his week in VR.
HTC unveils 5G smart hub for VR
5G. It’s all the talk right now. What is it? Imagine 1G and then multiply that 5. Then divide that and count to it. Got that? Good. This week HTC unveiled a new 5G hub that you’ll be able to take on the go for all your connected needs – including VR.
“HTC is proud to bring to market the world’s first 5G mobile smart hub,” said Cher Wang, HTC CEO and chairwoman. “5G will be the game-changer for VR and AR, and the new HTC 5G Hub will seamlessly deliver the great bandwidth of 5G to our devices, driving our vision of Vive Reality—a boundless, immersive environment where human experiences will come to the forefront.”
Qualcomm also wants to put 5G on your head – in XR
Speaking of 5G and alternate realities, Qualcomm has committed to pushing VR and AR headsets to the market in 2019. It’s referring to “XR viewer” headsets, running off phones that are powered by 5G and its Snapdragon 855 processor to deliver VR and AR experiences. The headsets would connect to the phone via a tether, meaning there would be less compute power in the goggles themselves – which should in turn make them lighter and less dorky to wear. Read more over at VR Scout.
Play this: Kingdom Hearts VR
I don’t really get Kingdom Hearts – believe me, I’ve tried to – but I also fear its vast fanbase of loyalists and their lobbying power to have me cast from society – so I’ve just accepted it’s not really for me and moved on.
But when I heart there was a VR experience I’ll admit I was a little intrigued. The idea of having Buzz Lightyear beat the crap out of Donald Duck in VR truly spoke to me. Turns out, that’s not really what this is, but Kingdom Hearts: VR Experience will let you relive some of the franchise’s key experiences in glorious VR-o-vision. It’s only available on PS VR – but it is totally free, and you can download it right now. Don’t expect a fully interactive game here, more of an immersive short movie experience. Still, better than a kick in the beak.
Watch this: Stimulate? More like Simulate
Guess who’s back, back again – and this time in VR. Eminem and Oculus have teamed up for a short VR documentary on the rapper’s early days and rise to fame. The movie is called Marshall From Detroit and takes the viewer on a journey around the city as Slim himself talks about his upbringing. The short, which had its premiere at Sundance, is available now for free on Oculus Rift, Go and Gear VR. Check out the trailer above.
Hot VR headset deals
Wareable may get a commission