Field of view: The BBC is hitting the brakes on its VR projects

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The week in AR and VR
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Welcome to Field of View, your weekly roundup of all the big news in the virtual and augmented reality realms.

We've already a sizeable piece of news in the shape of the not so surprising reveal by Google that Daydream VR is dead. That follows the recent news that Samsung Gear VR was also off the menu for all of those involved in the project.

Read this: The best VR headsets 2019

Away from the Google news, we've got details about the BBC's future VR plans, a potentially groundbreaking new VR headset and more. So, let's get into it.

VR and AR news

The BBC closes its VR team

Field of view: VR projects hit the brakes at the BBC

The BBC has long been a supporter of VR, having produced a range of educational and entertainment experiences since it decided to embrace the immersive platform.

Sadly, though, it looks like some of these have struggled to find the required audiences. According to the very tail-end of a recent blog post, the corporation is going to disband its VR Hub team, the group responsible for most of its VR experiences and software.

This doesn't necessarily mean that the BBC is done with VR forever, but does indicate that the technology still isn't quite at the point where it's easy to put out content.

The BBC's VR experiences were well-received, but apparently reached tiny audiences relative to their cost. Nonetheless, the blog post did say that it would continue to licence existing experiences, so nothing should be disappearing just yet.


Varjo Technologies claims "human-eye" resolutions

Field of view: VR projects hit the brakes at the BBC

VR headsets aren't all about resolution, but at the same time, it's a pretty pivotal metric. Finnish company Varjo Technologies has two headsets it's excited about, the VR-2 and VR-2 Pro, which it claims have resolution to make the gods weep - up to 4K resolution per eye.

Read this: The best virtual reality headsets to buy

Of course, in the world of VR basically only the Oculus Quest marries good specs with accessible pricing. The VR-2 Pro costs a staggering €5,995, while the VR-2 is a lower but still super expensive €4,995. With those prices, the headsets are obviously more of an enterprise solution, but pack some interesting tech that could trickle down to consumers.

The headsets have eye-tracking of Varjo's own design, with hand-tracking provided by UltraLeap built-in, making controllers unnecessary. Eye-tracking is still far from widespread, so makes for an intriguing VR headset package.

Playstation VR turns 3, prompting a Sony sale

Field of view: VR projects hit the brakes at the BBC

It seems like only yesterday that Sony was debuting its sleek white headset, but the past week actually marks three years since it released.

That means Sony's keen to make some noise, and is celebrating the anniversary with a big sale on PS VR titles. You'll find the full range on Sony's blog, and can score up to 60% off a range of titles. It also confirmed that the most-played PS VR game so far is Playroom VR.

Read next: The best Playstation VR games to play

Finally, Sony has opened up a little bit on some forthcoming projects, including the exciting rhythm game Audica, and enigmatic explorer Paper Beast. Given we've got reason to believe that there could be a second-generation PS VR on the way, the future's looking bright for Sony's platform.

Microsoft says it will try to bring Flight Simulator to VR headsets

Microsoft's latest generation of the storied sim Flight Simulator looks, unsurprisingly, like its most photorealistic yet, with live weather patterns and light conditions determined by sophisticated AI.

Now, the team has stated that it's going to be pulling out the stops to try to get support for VR headsets into the game. It says that it will be working to get in in time for launch, but if not that it could come afterwards.

For now, we'd assume that means for the PC version of the game, although, as we discovered last week, Microsoft does look like it has plans for virtual reality on the next Xbox.

Try this: Learn about the Mona Lisa in VR

Field of view: VR projects hit the brakes at the BBC

Say what you like about the Mona Lisa (and people sure do), it's the most famous painting in the world for a reason.

The Louvre museum in Paris has a big new exhibition launching, a retrospective on the titanic career and musings of Leonardo da Vinci, and it's brought VR into the fold for it. As part of the exhibition, visitors will be able to don an HTC Vive to enjoy a 7-minute experience called Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass.

The good news is that you can download an extended version of the experience from the VIVEPORT when it launches early next week, until 24 February 2020 - so if you can't make it to the exhibition, this can be a consolation.


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