Field of view: Google just bought VR studio Owlchemy Labs (huzzah)

Your Friday roundup of VR news, games and recommendations
Field of view: The week in VR

Welcome to Field of view, our weekly VR roundup of the week's news and recommendations - if you're in the wrong place, now's your chance to leave.

The biggest news this week came in the form of Microsoft's Mixed Reality controllers (they're sparkly) and the standalone Pico Goblin VR headset.

Elsewhere, US editor Hugh Langley got to grips with efforts to untangle the mess that is rules and regulations around VR. If you want something with a bit more heart, check out Husain's feature on how we can use VR to relive memories. Cue adorable grandma.

Read this: News blips and tidbits

Google's new purchase: Owlchemy Labs

Well, this is nice news. Owlchemy Labs, the Austin, Texas-based VR studio which made Job Simulator - one of VR's big hits in terms of downloads so far - as well as the recent Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality, has just been acquired by Google.

We don't know much Google paid but we presume Owlchemy will now sit alongside Tilt Brush, the VR painting app that Google also owns, as well as in-house stuff like Google Earth VR. Job Simulator racked up downloads for a few reasons: it was bundled with some VR headsets, it's really simple to start playing even for non-gamers, and it makes good use of handheld controllers and room scale tracking. And it's just fun.

Relja Markovic, engineering director for VR and AR, wrote in a blog post: "Together, we'll be working to create engaging, immersive games and developing new interaction models across many different platforms to continue bringing the best VR experiences to life."

Steam 360 video is in beta

You can now watch 360-degree videos on SteamVR headsets. Well, in beta. Valve has brought out a new player, coming to desktop soon too. Check out the first batch of videos - Alien Covenant, Lego Batman etc - here.

Watson x Star Trek

This is pretty cool. IBM's Watson is powering voice commands in Star Trek: Bridge Crew, Ubisoft's next big VR title that's gearing up for launch. It doesn't have its own AI character or anything but it will be the tech behind, for instance, voice conversations with non-player characters. We can't wait to try it out.

Jaunt's VR ads deal

It's kinda unclear what this means at this stage but Jaunt, the company behind some high quality 360 videos, has just struck a partnership with a 360 advertising company called Omnivert. When it comes to VR ads, we actually can wait so no rush guys. Still, the VR film and experience-making industry needs to make money somehow- solutions on a postcard please.

Mixed Reality PC - what you need

One of the draws of Microsoft's Mixed Reality is that the headsets won't require such beastly PCs to run on. The minimum requirements are now out and essentially it means you don't need a gaming PC: Core i5 processor, HD Graphics 620, 8GB of RAM. See the full list here.

Watch this: The Protectors

Fresh from Tribeca Film Festival, this is Kathryn Bigelow and Here Be Dragons' 10 minute VR documentary about rangers in Garamba National Park who are trying to protect elephants from poachers. Once you've watched it, check out our piece from the Tribeca panel where Bigelow was joined by Hillary Clinton as well as our roundup of the best VR films on show.

Play this: Hungry Shark VR

One for Daydream headset owners, here's a casual $4.99 mobile port that's exclusive to the platform. Because not everything needs to be ground-breaking new forms of gaming to be fun. It's from Ubisoft's Future Games of London studio and you basically just swim around eating stuff. Plus there's a Sandbox mode for exploring the ocean. Here's some more Daydream apps and games when you've had enough of this.


Shop for VR headsets on Amazon

Oculus Rift
Oculus Rift
$399
PlayStation VR
PlayStation VR
$449.99
HTC Vive
HTC Vive
$599.99
Samsung Gear VR
Samsung Gear VR
$112.85

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