Field of view: A Facebook headset could be just around the corner

Your weekly roundup of all the VR & AR news, games and recommendations
Field of view: The week in VR and AR
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Good, you're here — welcome to Field of view, the place where we round up the latest news in AR and VR, as well as give you the odd video and game recommendation.

Ahead of MWC 2018 in Barcelona next week, it's been a pretty busy week for the space. We've been getting the lowdown on Intel's True VR Winter Olympics coverage, as well as an inside look at the BBC's VR news storytelling, while the Asus' Mixed Reality Headset finally saw a release.

Charged Up: AR may be the next big thing, but don't forget about VR

Elsewhere, Qualcomm teased its reference design Snapdragon 845 headset, which points to several key features set to become staples of headsets within the industry over the coming year.

But what else has been going on this week? Well, read on to find out.

Read this: News bits

Facebook hardware could be imminent

After Facebook unveiled its own AR platform at its F7 conference last year, and has continued to fuel expectations within VR, we now have our biggest hint yet that the social media giant is on the cusp of releasing some hardware.

That's after Andrew Bosworth, Facebook's head of virtual and augmented reality products and hardware, told Twitter that the company would be sharing "the biggest AR/VR news from Facebook to date" at its upcoming May event.

Essential guide: Facebook's augmented reality plans

So, what does ol' Zuckerberg and his consigliere have in store for us? Well, since Oculus Go is already announced, and is expected to be on sale by the time F8 rolls around, there's a strong chance that Facebook is hinting at its own hardware here. After all, as we mentioned, F7 represented a push into software, so the timing would appear right to potentially join that up with some kind of headset.

Whether that's VR, AR or a mix of the two realities (or, hey, maybe nothing at all) remains to be seen, but this is certainly a space to watch over the coming couple of months.

Magic Leap hints at retail push

We finally, finally got a look at what Magic Leap has been working on just before the start of the new year, with the company's futuristic goggles in line to launch later in 2018.

And after a job advert for a 'director of store design' appeared online, it appears as though the secretive startup is gearing up to get the technology in the hands of potential users. As UploadVR indicates, rather than its own brick-and-mortar stores, Magic Leap would appear focused on pop-ups, and potentially its own kiosks within bigger stores.

Read next: All the details on Magic Leap's mixed reality goggles

And since the Magic Leap One is expected to initially go on sale for wild amounts, in the region of $1,000, it would make sense for the company to cater for those outside the know.

Microsoft HoloLens gets the museum treatment

We've seen plenty of examples of HoloLens showing off its capabilities within industry and education, but Microsoft has now revealed that the technology is set to enhance museum trips.

Those visiting Japan's Kyoto National Museum, and the Kennin-ji, the oldest Zen temple in Japan, will now be able to access an experience led by the headset, with holograms of historical figures and artwork details beamed onto users throughout their visit.

Field of view: A Facebook headset could be just around the corner

Home runs are coming to headsets

Out of all the professional sports leagues embracing VR, Major League Baseball is perhaps the one most committed to the technology. Not only have we seen plenty of live VR broadcasts of the sport, and players using the platform to train, but now MLB Home Run Derby, the game debuted at the All-Star Game, is coming to users of PS VR and HTC Vive.

There's no details on pricing or release date just yet, but we do know that prospective sluggers will be aiming to hit home runs in Marlins Park, Progressive Field in Cleveland and Nationals Park in Washington, with more stadiums set to be added over the course of the season.

Watch this: Damming the Nile

As we mentioned up top, we spent some time this week in the new BBC VR app for Samsung Gear VR, which will see several storytelling projects come to headsets over the coming year. Kicking off the project is Damming the Nile, a two-part 360 documentary detailing the geopolitics currently surrounding the Nile. Throughout the half-hour piece, you'll journey from Ethiopia to Sudan and Egypt exploring the region and sitting in on interviews with ministers.

It's certainly early days for VR news storytelling, and so the quality is very typical of mobile VR, but this is an excellent example of where the space could be heading.

Play this: Knockout League

A sneaky good workout for those with a HTC Vive, Knockout League is now jumping into the ring with PS VR, Windows Mixed Reality and Oculus Rift headsets. You'll take on the opponents of varying skill levels, from a Drederick Tatum-like heavyweight to, well, and octopus with a top-hat on.

It's good, simple fun, and easy to get lost in the heat of battle thanks to the responsive controls. Just don't go, you know, accidentally punching surrounding members of your house when fighting back on the ropes.


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