Welcome back to another edition of Field of View, our weekly look at everything in the world of virtual and augmented reality.
This week was all about the movies. The Sundance Film Festival kicked off, and we took a look at all the big debuts in the world of VR filmmaking. Fable Studio, made up of former Oculus Story Studio members, made its big debut with Wolves in the Wall.
Wareable verdict: HTC Vive Pro review
There was also Spheres, a VR experience that takes you inside a black hole, which was purchased for seven figures. That led us to argue that the Oscars, which announced nominations this week, really need to start recognizing and boosting VR filmmaking if the medium is going to grow and prosper.
That's not all that happened this week. We've gathered a handful of other bits from the week below.
Read this: News tidbits
HTC Vive Pro tracks hand movements
Back when HTC unveiled the Vive Pro, it didn't have much to say about the new dual camera setup on the front. It said developers would be able to use it to create new experiences, but it remained coy on details.
HTC Vive vice president Raymond Pao tells Engadget that those dual cameras can function as depth sensors and that they can actually track hand movements without addition hardware. It's only basic hand tracking, but users are able to see individual fingers, so it's an exciting development nonetheless.
The dual cameras were initially added to help scan ahead of you so that you don't bump into things in VR, aiding the Vive's Chaperone feature, but this is a nice side effect. HTC says one developer was able to use the hand tracking for a haunted house game, where users could simply use their hands to hold props, which would be transformed into in-game items.
Plex VR arrives in Daydream
Home media enthusiasts favorite platform, Plex, is finally coming to VR via Google Daydream. The new app was actually inspired by an unofficial Plex app called Plevr, and when the company's employees tried it they were so impressed they decided to build an official one.
Plex VR is on Daydream, largely because Plex things most VR is still unattainable for most people. You'll be able to watch all your Plex Media Server content in VR, and you'll be able to watch with friends. There are a couple of different viewing locations, including a super fancy apartment and a drive-in movie theater.
Vuzix Blade gets an early access program
We were impressed by the Vuzix Blade when we tried them, as they felt like a device that delivered on the promise of Google Glass but without the goofy looks.
The new Blade Edge program offers three different sets of perks, depending on who you are. Blade Edge @ Work and Blade Edge Architect are for enterprise and developer customers, respectively, and will come with an SDK, an emulator, tech specs updates and hardware. Blade Edge Engage is for consumers though, and you'll get priority for public hardware shipments and be able to "drive the early Blade application ecosystem."
To get into the Blade Edge program, you'll need to put down a $250 deposit toward the $1,000 Blade Edge kit that comes with developer tools and a unit.
Vive Focus getting 8K 3D VR player
HTC's standalone Vive Focus VR headset may never make it out of China, and that's a real shame. Not only because it's a standalone headset from HTC, but because it's going to get some cool-sounding apps.
Like, for instance, Visbit's 8K VR player, which will be available on HTC's Viveport store for Vive Focus. The app will be able to play 8K stereoscopic 360-degree VR video with spatial audio support. This'll give Vive Focus users some really high quality video viewing options.
Watch this: Run the Jewels in ACL: Backstage
Austin City Limits is the longest running music show in American TV, and now there's a new VR documentary series backed by a host of big names. The VR doc was created by SubVRsive in partnership with Google and sponsored by Apple Music (Apple and Google on a project together? Whaaa). This fifth episode features celebrated hip hop group Run the Jewels.
Play this: The Inpatient
Supermassive Games, the maker of smash hit horror game Until Dawn, had previously tipped its toes into the VR waters with Until Dawn: Rush of Blood. Now it's back with a more fully featured VR game (read: not an on-rails experience). The Inpatient is a prequel to Until Dawn, except that you're in a sanatorium. Yes, a sanatorium in a horror VR game. Good luck. Available for PSVR for $39.99.
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