This week featured lots of interesting virtual reality stories. Oculus won’t be getting Facebook ads, the HoloLens goes on sale to developers, and many more.
1. Oculus is ads-free. At least for now.
When Facebook acquired Oculus for $2.1 billion, there were a lot of questions about what Facebook planned to do. Oculus was a home-grown effort from the VR community. And nobody wanted to see the movement derailed by questionable corporate interests.
Facebook is a leader in understanding how to get ads to just the right people. If you didn’t know why Facebook is so rich, it’s because companies love to pay for such pinpoint ad targeting. So it makes sense that Facebook would want to do the same thing with Oculus.
And if you thought Facebook ads targeting you based on your interests shared on your profile were bad, then having ads beamed straight in to your brain with virtual reality takes it to a whole new level of creepiness.
But Oculus and Facebook relieved some of this concern. Palmer Luckey, the young living legend founder of Oculus, confirmed that Facebook and Oculus are not doing anything with regards to advertising.
At least, for now.
2. If only she would accept a virtual diamond ring.
Virtual reality is a new medium. So there will be many “firsts”. This is the first “room-scale” VR proposal. It’s not actually the first VR proposal though, because there has been at least one before. We covered that back in April here.
But this proposal was notable since it used the cutting-edge Valve VR system. It turned the whole room in to a VR environment shared between the bride-and-groom to be. And the motion tracking controller was used to great effect to display a virtual ring. Now that is a smart man.
3. Mobile phone inventor sees bright future for VR.
Inventor Marty Cooper is widely seen as the inventory of the mobile phone. He made the first cell phone call in 1973. Now, mobiles phones have become an integral part of modern life and represent the cutting edge of technology. He probably knows a thing or two about technological trends.
Marty Cooper joins the ranks of the many visionaries who think that VR is an important technology rapidly approaching.
4. Microsoft HoloLens Development Kit: $3,000
The Microsoft HoloLens is an exciting piece of technology that many of us are watching. It is one of the best working implementations of augmented reality technology. Until now, it was still something that Microsoft was developing and it wasn’t available to anybody else.
But Microsoft made the announcement that they are releasing a development edition. The price: $3,000. Compared to the Oculus Rift development kit 2 for $350, the HoloLens price tag looks pretty outlandish. But we have to realize that this is just the state of such technology. It is very far from consumer release. Whereas the sort of technology used in VR headsets is ready for mass consumer adaptation over the near-term.
There were other revelations in these recent Microsoft announcements. Microsoft showed off a cool game that features killer robots flying around your room that you fight with a virtual laser gun called Project Xray.
This game looks incredible. But the presentation is also INCREDIBLY misleading. The field of view of the HoloLens is very small, something like 40 degrees. Think of it as holding an Ipad a foot in front of your face. That is the area that features the cool holograms. But immediately outside that area, everything is completely cut off. So you don’t see things unless you are looking directly at them and they fall within the small FOV. This is not necessarily a knock on the technology, that’s just how it is. But it is a problem with expectations since everybody assumes the experience is something like that shown in the picture above.