Field of view: Apple continues to make moves on augmented reality smartglasses

News and recommendations from the week gone by

Welcome to Field of view, the place where we round up all the the latest news from the worlds of VR and AR.

It's already been a fascinating week for the space, with a strong suggestion that the Apple AR glasses will launch in 2020 followed by an announcement of a Nintendo Switch Labo VR kit landing in April.

Read next: The best VR headsets you can buy in 2019

However, there's plenty more to catch up on, so read on below for everything you may have missed from the past week.

Read this: VR and AR news

Field of view: Apple continues to make moves on augmented reality smartglasses

Apple granted another patent for AR smartglasses

We just alluded to the latest report indicating a timeframe for Apple's AR exploits, and now a patent outlining the kind of technology we can expect has surfaced, courtesy of Patently Apple.

The latest filing – one of multiple we've seen granted over the past few years – relates to the company's rumoured AR headset, though is actually one the Cupertino company inherited when it acquired German company Metaio.

In truth, there's nothing particularly groundbreaking about this particular patent, but it does highlight, again, the company's continued work in the area. Details are fairly slim in the patent description, though the AR glasses are outlined in basic detail:

"The user then sees a view of the real world through the semi-transparent data glasses and objects of the real world augmented and blended with virtual information," the filing reads.

It all forms part of the bigger picture Apple is painting within the space – one we've kept a track of in our Apple AR investigation.

Field of view: Apple continues to make moves on augmented reality smartglasses

Viveport announces Infinity VR launch and price

Viveport Infinity – the subscription service that gives unlimited VR action to Vive and Oculus headsets – has been given pricing and an official release date by Vive.

Essentially acting in a similar way to your regular Netflix or Spotify subscription, Viveport Infinity gives users what the company calls "unrestricted access to the service's library of over 600 apps and games" and "exclusive membership benefits, such as the revamped Viveport Video application."

The service will launch globally on 2 April and will either cost punters $12.99 a month or $99 for a year.

And with plenty of VR titles still remaining relatively expensive, this gives regular users the opportunity to dive in and out of games without the fear of purchasing/owning something that doesn't live up to the price tag. It's a new take on bringing games to headset owners, but a gamble that could very well pay off.

Valve appears to cut back on VR division

Gaming giant Valve has confirmed its decision to lay off several full-time employees and contractors, as reported by The Verge.

It's not yet official which team the workers were involved in, though a Reddit thread, commented on by an apparent anonymous Valve employee (the same one that leaked a prototype headset last year), appeared to shed some light on the situation:

"They fired like half the Valve hardware team recently. Not leak related. Wonder how long it’ll be until the remainder get the Jerry treatment,” the comment reads, with a hint towards Jeri Ellsworth, the Valve designer who was let go in 2013 after the company decided to go down the VR route, instead of focusing on the AR headset she’d been developing.

After this latest development, what does the future for Valve hold? Well, it's too early to know, but the initial signs either hint towards a reload or a permanent cut back on its ambitions. The company has already stepped away from Vive somewhat, so the latter does appear likely, but we'll be looking to get more details at the Gaming Developers Conference in San Francisco next week.

Watch this: Harry Potter: Wizards Unite

After the teaser trailer for Harry Potter: Wizards Unite dropped a few months ago, us mere Muggles were left wondering just how developer Niantic (the same company behind the wildly popular Pokemon Go) was going to bring AR to the wizarding world.

Thanks to an update on the Wizards Unite site, though, we now have more details (and the gameplay previews shown above) to give us an idea of what to expect. It appears the premise of the game will work in a similar way to Niantic's previous creations, with a light backstory helping fuel the wider game:

"A calamity has befallen the wizarding world, causing artefacts, creatures, people, and even memories to mysteriously appear in the Muggle world. Witches and wizards from across the globe must come together to solve the mystery of The Calamity, overcome the confounding chaotic magic that surrounds these 'Foundables' and return them to their rightful place, keeping them safe from Muggle eyes," it reads.

That's all there is for now, but you can pre-register for the game on Google Play, with the iOS version dropping later. Wizards Unite is set for release at some point in 2019.


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