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Inside VR & AR

Inside VR & AR (Jan 30th, 2019)

1. The capital city of New Zealand is the star of a new VR experience. "WellTown" puts users in a virtual version of Wellington, seeing the city's scenic vistas, experiencing its culture and even "swimming" with a right whale in Wellington Harbour. The regional tourism department is hoping WellTown will help attract visitors and perhaps new residents. "It shows off how beautiful our city is, our creativity, and our quirky hipster vibe," a spokeswoman said. — VRSCOUT

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2. Oculus on Tuesday tweeted a tease of a new VR game. Sanzaru Games, which has developed a couple of other VR games with Oculus, was tagged in the tweet, and responded only with "Soon!" While there's no official word yet from either company on what the game will be called or when it will be released, but Sanzaru set up an invitation-only Discord channel called Project Forge. ROAD TO VR

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3. VR funding platform Kaleidoscope announced at the Sundance Film Festival that it is relaunching. The platform is now free to join, and has an independent review committee to approve new members and manage the community. Members can add projects for which they are seeking investment and other opportunities.— VRFOCUS

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4. VentureBeat takes a look at the potential for augmented reality in 2019. More AR integrations, better multiplayer capabilities for games, and AR advertising are all on the list. The platform will have even more room for growth as it moves beyond mobile platforms. — VENTUREBEAT

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5. 1800Flowers will let customers send AR-enhanced messages for Valentine's Day. As of Feb. 1, iPad or iPhone users will be able to choose an ARKit-created Valentine-themed video or photo message. Who says romance is dead? — MOBILE MARKETER

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6. VR Focus has an interview with the CEO of VRTuoso, which aims to be the "PowerPoint of VR" presentations. 

7. The International Animated Film Association has added a category to its Annie Awards for VR films, and a studio for judges to experience them. 

8. From r/virtualreality: An Oculus Quest description is showing up on the Best Buy website.

9. An analysis by Road to VR finds monthly connected VR headsets on Steam grew exponentially.

10. Check out the video of this 1992 news report on VR. 

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This newsletter is curated by freelance journalist Kim Lyons, whose byline has appeared in The New York Times, Columbia Journalism Review and other local and national publications. Find her on Twitter: @socialkimly

Editing team: Lon Harris (editor-in-chief at Inside.com, game-master at Screen Junkies) and Susmita Baral (editor at Inside, recent bylines in NatGeo, Teen Vogue, and Quartz. Runs the biggest mac and cheese account on Instagram).

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