Inside XR - May 10th, 2019

Inside XR (May 10th, 2019)

Augmented Reality War Games / Immersive Theme Parks / Nike Fits Shoes with AR

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1. The success of the Oculus Quest hinges on Facebook's ability to build a compelling library of quality VR games and experiences. Patrick Lucas Austin reviews the standalone VR headset which will be released on May 21, and is impressed by its functionalities, saying that the HMD is also comfortable enough to wear for the duration of its three-hour battery life. However, the crux of the problem that the company is trying to tackle is that the majority of current VR games provide short bursts of entertainment, but finding console-caliber games is taking some time. – TIME

2. Elizabeth Ballou dives deep into the competitive world of Ingress. The Augmented Reality mobile game developed by Pokémon GO makers Niantic - has built an incredibly loyal and fiercely competitive community, where individuals commit significant time and resources to it. It uses geolocation functions similar to Foursquare, but places them in the context of a sci-fi story about factional intrigue: to seize territory, players go to different physical locations where they find the game portals. Mitu Khandaker, a game design professor at NYU, believes the thrill gamers get from it is similar to what geocachers get from exploring and interacting with strangers around a shared playful experience. She relates the story of Meng, a woman who spent years traveling around the world in order to fulfill complex location-based missions, planning and coordinating actions with hundreds of individuals. – VICE

3.  – Follow Friday: Nathaniel de Jong - AKA Nathie

Nathie is one of the top influencers in the VR space, with a YouTube channel where he tries out and reviews just about every type of immersive gear out there. His videos are often helpful in getting a feel for what  these devices - and the experiences they facilitate, actually feel like. 

He updates content on his various feeds very regularly, so following him across his different channels such as Instagram, and the Freality Podcast channel is a good way to keep up with the latest developments in the industry and coolest hardware releases. Nathie also gets invited to all the major industry events and which yield entertaining reports. One of my personal favorites is the video of his visit to the VR Star Theme Park in Nanchang China, the world's biggest Virtual Reality arcade. Find him on Twitter @NathieVR 

4. Theme parks are losing enthusiasm for VR roller-coasters. While some early adopters such as Legoland Florida are persisting with the idea (which combines real-world rollercoaster rides with VR panoramas), upgrading their equipment and persisting with the offering, others such as SeaWorld Orlando have abandoned it altogether. Chris Kraftchick, regional director of the American Coaster Enthusiasts, explains that the rides themselves were enjoyable, but cleaning the headsets made turnaround times unacceptably long. He anticipates that AR will be the next big thing for the industry, as it doesn't suffer from the setbacks of relying on cumbersome goggles and it is possible to have the content in pop-up areas around the parks such as restaurants and shops as well as rides. –  ORLANDO SENTINEL

5. Rob Enderle argues that the HoloLens has now transitioned from a proof of concept into a real product that has become a real solution for business and takes us a significant step closer to a virtual future.– COMPUTER WORLD

6. The BBC is giving people across the UK the chance to try out virtual reality at their local library. A number of experiences will be part of the demo sessions at more than 40 libraries as part of the BBC’s VR Hub programme. These include a documentary series set in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and a reconstruction of being onboard a Lancaster bomber during an air raid on Berlin during the Second World War. – THE IRISH NEWS

7.  Nike is introducing an AR app to measure your feet for the right fit. The company claims that over 60% of people actually wear the wrong size shoe, so it is introducing Nike Fit as a feature of its official Nike app. It scans your feet using a smartphone camera that collects 13 data points and maps the foot morphology of both your feet in seconds. – DROID LIFE

8. A teacher is using a grant to allow her students to travel in VR. The $5,342 Sioux Falls Public Schools Education Foundation grant is being used at Washington High in South Dakota to purchase 5 Google Expedition virtual reality devices, 15 viewers, a teacher tablet, router and storage and charging cart. The setup, Britt Samson believes, will allow her students to 'visit' a new country with their classmates, regardless of income.– ARGUS LEADER

9. Google Maps can now give you walking directions in augmented reality. Julian Chokkattu is impressed with the new AR Mode on Google Maps and gives step-by-step instructions on how to try it out - If you've got one of Google's Pixel phones, that is– DIGITAL TRENDS

10. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame will use AR to help in its fundraising. The hoop shrine is collaborating with Imagination Park Entertainment of Vancouver and Los Angeles to deliver AR personal messages to supporters. Scott Zuffelato, the hall’s vice president of philanthropy, says they are also developing scavenger hunt games that fans could play inside an attraction like a ballpark or museum. – MASS LIVE

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); Susmita Baral (senior editor at Inside, who runs the biggest mac and cheese account on Instagram); and David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

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