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Inside VR & AR (Nov 22nd, 2017)

Apple has reportedly acquired the headset startup Vrvana for $30 million. Vrvana is the maker of the Totem headset, a device that got good reviews but never shipped. The Totem uses both AR and VR technology, using pass-through cameras to recreate the real world in the display rather than transparent projection displays like the HoloLens. Vrvana CEO Bertrand Nepveu spoke at a conference earlier this year about content that blends VR and AR and the transition between virtual and augmented scenes. — TECHCRUNCH

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The Hong Kong company iVeneration has created VR burials for the deceased. The firm is expected to launch the service in early 2018. Hong Kong had a population of more than seven million people in 2016, and its cemeteries are crowded. Actual burials can cost $130,000. With iVeneration, users can create headstones and add lit candles, flowers, religious literature, and photos of the deceased. It also allows people to "bury" their loved ones in a park or a public place rather than a crowded cemetery. — VRSCOUT

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Oculus is expanding its operations in the Seattle region. The Facebook-owned VR company has more than 100 open positions listed in Redmond, Washington and an additional six openings in the city of Seattle. Sources also say that Oculus is looking for a 200,000-square-foot space for research and design in Redmond, and an office space in Seattle that is between 500,000 and 1 million square feet. Oculus established its office in Seattle in 2015, and a year ago leased industrial space in Redmond. The Seattle region is home to a variety of gaming and VR companies. — GEEKWIRE

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The VR and AR industry is hosting a few deals on Black Friday for shoppers who want to invest in the technology. Here's a look at some of the discounts available after Thanksgiving:

HTC Vive has two deals this week. The first is a Vive Fallout 4 Bundle: purchase a Vive between Friday, November 24 and "Cyber Monday," Monday, November 27 and get a free audio strap (valued at $99) and the Fallout 4 title that launches on December 12.

Additionally, Vive is offering a discount on Viveport subscriptions from November 22 through November 27 with access to 60 apps for $30 per month with a year-long contract. 

Microsoft Windows headsets are discounted by up to $100. The deal also runs through Cyber Monday, and consumers can pick up a mixed reality device for as low as $300. The discounts include:

All of these headsets are touted as mixed reality but are actually VR headsets. Microsoft HoloLens is the only headset that has AR functions. The headsets are equipped with inside-out positional tracking to enable room-scale VR without setting up additional sensors.

PlayStation VR consoles and games are also on sale through Monday. Sony announced that the PlayStation 4 1TB consoles will be on sale for $200, and that game bundles including  PlayStation VR Gran Turismo Sport Bundle ($299.99) and PlayStation VR Skyrim VR Bundle ($349.99) will be discounted by various retailers. 

Oculus Rift is also discounting its headset and Touch controllers bundle. Typically the bundles go for $399, but they will be on sale for $350 from November 23 through November 25.

Google Daydream View will be a little less expensive on Black Friday. The headsets typically cost $99 but will be available for $79 from Google or Verizon. 

Even retailers are getting in on the action. Walmart is training its sales staff using a VR simulation to help them get through Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year. Other retail companies are using VR and AR to change the way commerce and traditional shopping works. 

And if you're looking for advice about what VR apps, games, and devices you can share with your family members over the holiday, Road to VR has prepared a list for readers. 

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Enjoy your Thanksgiving and thanks for subscribing to Inside VR & AR. We'll be back in your inbox on Monday. 

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