YouTube introduces heatmaps in VR

 

In a recent YouTube Creator Blog, it was announced that hot and cold heatmaps would be introduced for 360 degree and VR videos that have over 1,000 views.

This new feature was implemented to help creators pinpoint how viewers engage with specific elements of their content, from how long their attention is being held to what parts of the video they’re looking at.

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Ubisoft VP: ‘We’re trying to figure out what is fun’ about VR

Ubisoft has become known for jumping into new game technology in a careful, measured manner, and VR is no different.

At an intimate Ubisoft press event last night, company leaders talked about upcoming games, two of which are new virtual reality titles: the multiplayer shooter Space Junkies and the psychological thriller Transference.

For VP of digital publishing Chris Early, Ubisoft’s careful foray into VR is about getting into a potentially huge market on the ground floor, and having dev teams that know how to make quality VR games once the young VR market becomes more financially viable.

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Hardware company Seagate enters VR with Grab Games partnership

Known for developing data storage hardware, Seagate has announced a collaboration with software company Grab Games to create visual data management system within VR.

A prototype is being shown during the E3 conference in Los Angeles, which lets users access and move data with their hands while wearing a VR headset.

While wearing the headset, users can reach out using controllers to access data that takes the shape of a sphere. Upon interacting with it, the sphere “opens” to display personal data like photos, music, videos or other digital files.

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Nintendo characters make their VR (arcade) debut with new Vive-driven Mario Kart

This week Bandai Namco revealed a virtual reality version of Mario Kart, Mario Kart Arcade GP VR, that will make its debut in a VR arcade the company is opening in Tokyo, Japan next month.

The game appears to mark the VR debut of one of Nintendo’s flagship franchises, though it’s important to note it’s licensed by Nintendo and developed by Namco — just like its non-VR predecessor, Mario Kart Arcade GP.

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Virtual Reality is Being Used to Train Retail Associates

Walmart has incorporated VR into their training program after being inspired by athletes who used the technology during practices to simulate in-game scenarios to test their skills and reactions.

After seeing the success that football players had with using VR to practice real-life scenarios in a controlled environment, senior director of central operations at Walmart Brock McKeel applied the same technology to training associates.

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Study Shows Virtual Reality Has Appeal Among U.S. Game Enthusiasts

Based on data gleaned from a study recently conducted by the research company Nielson, virtual and augmented reality experiences and devices seem to be on the rise when it comes to appealing with not only game enthusiasts, but general consumers as well.

Judging by the graphs (embedded below), it’s clear that the average consumer outside the label of “gamer” (which is defined as consumers who play video games on at least one gaming-capable device) show interest in VR technology, with the Samsung Gear VR taking the most recognition.

34% of the population recognizes the Gear VR because of its marketing being in tandem with Samsung’s mobile devices, and headsets are often offered for free if purchased with the phone.

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PlayStation VR Has Sold Over 1M Units Worldwide

Sony has sold over 1 million PlayStation VR headsets worldwide, according to the company’s global game development boss Shawn Layden.

He broke the news during an interview with Time, and explained that the $399 headset has been sold out since launching in October.

Given sales totaled 915,000 all the way back in February, it’s hardly surprising to hear the device has finally hit the million mark.

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HTC Subscription Service Viveport Adds More Titles to its Library

HTC’s subscription service Viveport recently added over 75 new titles to its library, bringing the amount of original content available for subscribers to more than 150 VR experiences.

Launched back in April of 2017, the service charges a monthly fee of $6.99 and allows consumers access to five titles of their choice, which can range from VR games to tools like Google’s Tilt Brush.

Each month, subscribers can opt to switch out their library and swap out titles or keep ones that they have already chosen. Viveport is available in 30 countries, with 12 new titles being released in the West.

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SteamVR Tracking upgrade to include support for more than two base stations

A Valve engineer published a blog post yesterday outlining some changes that are coming to its SteamVR Tracking system, including a prediction that the system will soon be able to support more than two base stations.

This could potentially open up new avenues of SteamVR game design to explore, since the system will presumably be capable of tracking larger and more complicated spaces as more base stations are used.

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Angry Birds 2 Lead Programmer Opens VR Studio to Fuel ‘Social Action’

Angry Birds 2 lead programmer Jonas Johansson has established a new virtual reality studio to create “social action” games.

Christened ‘Neuston,’ the new Stockholm-based opening has actually been up and running since last year, but its existence had been kept a secret until now.

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