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Inside VR & AR

Inside VR & AR (Jun 11th, 2019)

1. Upload's Showcase was the first event at E3 entirely dedicated to Virtual Reality games. Sony's decision to skip the conference this year left the industry without a platform to showcase the next big things coming to the immersive content space, so UploadVR stepped in to fill the gap. The E3 VR Showcase gathered many of the biggest studios in VR, featuring over 35 VR gaming announcements and averaging 15,000 remote viewers. Charles Singletary writes for Forbes that the range of experiences on display demonstrates how VR has earned some long-overdue respect on gaming's biggest stage. – FORBES

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2. Beat Saber has agreed to a landmark licensing deal with  Imagine Dragons. At E3, Beat Games announced an expansion pack for the popular music rhythm VR game, which includes 10-tracks from the Grammy-winning band's "Night Visions," "Smoke + Mirrors," "Evolve" and "Origins" albums. This is the first time major labels have partnered on an expansion pack for the VR game. The pack goes on sale for $12.99 next Monday for all major VR platforms. – CNET

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3 - Spotlight: Women in VR - Leen Segers

By Alice Bonasio

Leen Segers is the founder and CEO of LucidWeb—a VR and AR startup based in Brussels which is working to make immersive content more accessible. 

In the last decade, Leen has worked with various startups in the consumer media and tech space, but she immediately fell in love with VR when she tried it for the first time in 2015. She believes that the future of mobile video lies within virtual and augmented reality which should be available on the devices we already have — meaning mobile and desktop — to trigger, educate and guide viewers better in the upcoming device shift to wearables or HMDs.

In 2016, Leen founded “Women in Immersive Tech Europe (WiiT)”—an initiative for women working in VR and AR in Europe, to create connections and opportunities that will convince them to stay in the industry and help them thrive. “Women have always been early pioneers, we were strongly represented in the early times of cinema and computing and something very similar is happening now in VR and AR,” she says.

According to Leen, immersive content being produced and shown at festivals like Tribeca and Sundance is impressive but it often stays limited to festival goers and gamers, as there are distribution issues and the industry is still very niche and elitist. She believes the shift towards spatial computing is coming, however, much as the first device shift happened in 2007 and 2008 when lots of websites designed for desktop computers had to create mobile websites. She believes that WebVR and WebAR  platforms like the one she's building will bring about the next wave that will take us from 2D flat websites to 3D interactive immersive experiences.

Every Tuesday we'll shine a spotlight on the female trailblazers making their mark in immersive tech. If you have a story you think we should feature, just hit reply to this email or tweet me @alicebonasio

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4. The new Angry Birds movie will push collaborative multiplayer experiences on the PlayStation VR. This expands on Rovio's strategy of investing in immersive content which saw them launch Isle of Pigs earlier this year. The Angry Birds Movie 2 VR: Under Pressure will be available exclusively for the PSVR this summer, and puts players in a situation where they must pilot the pigs’ enormous yellow submarine while simultaneously working alongside fellow crew members to keep the vessel afloat: one player in VR takes on the role of captain and is tasked with navigating the large submersible through a variety of undersea hazards; meanwhile three other players—viewing the action on a TV via PSVR's Social Screen platform—must work together to keep the ship functional.– VRSCOUT 

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5. Microsoft unveiled its next-generation Xbox at its E3 keynote, with no mention of VR. Codenamed "Project Scarlett," the new consoles will be out in 2020, but while Sony recently confirmed that PS5 will support the existing PSVR, and also teased what a next-gen headset might look like, Microsoft has refused to confirm whether it plans to support integration between Xbox and its broader mixed reality strategy.  – ROAD TO VR

6. Augmented reality has the potential to disrupt the visual effects industry as immersive backdrops become a powerful tool for storytelling in film. Actors and directors could save months of post-production and millions of dollars in costs by using AR to visualize their sets, make performance-based choices and thus eliminate post-VFX shots. – VENTUREBEAT

7. Google Maps has added visual information of natural disasters to its SOS alerts feature. It is expected that this will eventually integrate with the new augmented reality navigation mode on Google maps which was showcased at this year's I/O.  –DIGITAL TRENDS

8. A pop-up version of San Francisco's Unreal Garden opens today at E3. Produced by Onedome and built on the Enklu platform, the large scale mixed reality installation uses multiple technologies to create an interactive social experience.  – GAME INDUSTRY

9. Neal Stephenson shared his vision for the future of augmented reality. The Seattle-based sci-fi author of Snow Crash, which became canonical for the VR community, currently serves as Chief Futurist for Magic Leap. But he makes it clear that we still have a way to go before the gap between technology and his imagination is bridged.– YAHOO FINANCE

10. Circus Roncalli has replaced its performing animals with holograms. The 3D holographic images from 11 ZU850 laser projectors fill an arena measuring 32 meters (105 feet) wide by 5 meters (16 feet) deep with 360-degree visibility for the entire audience. – BORED PANDA

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This newsletter was written and curated by Alice Bonasio, a journalist and consultant obsessed with the immersive technology space, including AR/VR/MR/XR and any other acronyms that fit into the realities spectrum. Over the past 15 years, Alice has advised a wide range of start-ups and corporations on digital transformation and communication strategy and is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Tech Trends. She also regularly contributes to publications such as Quartz, Fast Company, Wired, Playboy, The Next Web, Ars Technica, VRScout and many others. Follow her on Twitter @alicebonasio

 

Editing team: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside), David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology), and Bobby Cherry (senior editor at Inside, who’s always on social media).

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