This week was full of interesting news. In quite shocking style, HTC launched a brand new VR headset called the Link. In addition to that, Oculus’s first employee has left the company. Make sure to sign up for our newsletters found on the right side of the menu bar.
HTC is launching a Japanese exclusive VR headset called the HTC Link which is designed to be used in conjunction with their latest U11 smartphone. The Link will be the first smart-phone based VR headset capable of six degrees-of-freedom tracking. The headset comes bundled with two compatible controllers which seem to have lights on them (similar to Sony’s PlayStation VR) and an external sensor camera to track the motion of the lights. HTC pointed out that the Link is not a Vive product. They also confirmed that the release would be restricted solely to Japan, and that they have no plans to widen its distribution at the current moment.
Chris Dycus, hardware engineer at Facebook’s Oculus, left the company he helped establish for a new opportunity that he “just can’t pass up”. Dycus has been at Oculus since 2012, while it was still a startup. He was hired around the time of Oculus’ historic Kickstarter campaign for the Rift VR headset, which raised over $2 million. Dycus was the company’s first employee, hired by founders like Brendan Iribe, Nate Mitchell, and Palmer Luckey (who also left Oculus this year), prior to it’s acquisition by Facebook in 2014. It is rumored that Dycus was hired by Palmer Luckey directly and that the two were longtime friends prior to Dycus’ hire.
Hapto is currently looking into creating an intricate Haptic feedback controller that can be used on every big platform including Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard, Google Daydream, and HTC Vive. They’ll be launching an Indiegogo campaign on May 31st to create a unique VR controller that has no analogues and provides realist haptic effect. Hapto will be available for sale at $249, with a discounted early-bird price of $149 during the campaign. Hapto has promised that you’ll be able to touch, hold, throw, use, and change objects using their new defining controllers.
Jimmy Fallon has been hosting his guests on the Tonight Show with a new segment called Virtual Reality Pictionary. This is a game where you must draw pictures using Google Tilt Brush on the HTC Vive. In the past, he’s brought on celebrities such as Scarlett Johansson, Micahel Che, Dove Cameron, and Andrew Rannells. On the most recent airing he brought on Orlando Bloom (who’s promoting his new movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man Tell No Tales) and Zoe Lister-Jones (promoting her new movie called Band Aid).
Unity CEO John Riccitiello has announced that private equity firm Silver Lake will be investing $400 million into their company. This would value the company at $2.6 billion if the deal does go through, but it must first be approved by regulators. While Unity doesn’t necessarily need the capital it allows employees and some early shareholders to cash out.
“A big chunk of it is secondary and that’s because it makes sense to let employees buy cars,” said Riccitiello. “In terms of primary capital we don’t ultimately need all that primary capital—the capital is safety when we’re investing to grow as fast as we are.”
Palmer Luckey is one of the bright young minds who has contributed heavily in the VR industry. He is the original founder of Oculus VR which went on to be acquired by Facebook for over $2 billion. He has worked with many individuals in the VR community to help push the boundaries of what we know VR to be today. But in a surprising turn of events, Luckey departed from Facebook two months ago and has avoided the spotlight. While we don’t have the full reasoning behind his departure, MoguraVR caught up with Luckey in Tokushima, Japan to talk about the future of VR.
2017 has been a tremendous year so far for the VR and AR industry with amazing announcements, sales, and releases. Just a few months ago we saw the first highly budgeted VR title, Robo Recall, get released on the Oculus Rift which drew in a lot of good attention. Most people who played the VR game really enjoyed what Epic Games has done with the title and its quality output.
Looking into the future, here are some of the other highly budgeted games that’ll make it’s way on to the VR platform.