Field of view: HTC Vive Focus update brings calls and PC games to headsets

Your roundup of the latest virtual and augmented reality news
The week in VR and AR
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Gather round, readers, it's time for yet another barnstorming edition of Field of view - your one-stop shop for the latest news in alternate realities.

And boy oh boy, has it been going off this week. We spoke to Parisian studio DV about fooling senses through VR and compared the Oculus Go and Lenovo Mirage Solo. In the crowdfunding circles we saw both good and bad news - startup OSSIC announced it's shutting down, while exciting AR startup ANTVR smashed through its Kickstarter goal.

For all the news you may have missed, as well as a couple of recommendations for your VR headset, read on below.

Read this: Get your news here

Vive Focus users set for big upgrades

Even though the HTC Vive Focus isn't getting a global release until later this year, HTC announced a number of updates heading to its platform at the Vive Ecosystem Conference this week - and it's particularly good news for its standalone users.

Coming soon, Vive Focus owners will be able to wirelessly stream PC VR games from Steam and Viveport, with either the standard Vive Focus controller, an Xbox One controller, or a third-party controller paired to the PC being used to control the action. It remains to be seen just how performance will be during streaming, but we'll be sure to test this out once the feature rolls out to the headset.

First look: We test out the HTC Vive Focus

That's not the only thing coming to the standalone device, either. If you're the owner of a compatible HTC smartphone, you'll now be able to sync it up with the Focus and receive notifications, texts and even calls on the headset - meaning there's finally a way to avoid taking it off every time you hear the buzz of your phone.


Microsoft hints at peripheral for... basketball

When it comes to AR and VR, Microsoft has already proven itself to be one of the industry's forward thinkers. And a patent shared by Digital Trends indicates it could be preparing a peripheral to help boost immersion through its headsets.

Originally filed in 2017, Microsoft details a device called the 'electrostatic side clutch', an arm-worn accessory that brings haptic feedback to users and lets them feel resistance when interacting with the virtual world. As the image below shows, this system could also comprise of a glove, and be used to, well, play a game of virtual hoops.

There's no telling if this will ever make it to the mass market, since it's only a patent at this stage, but the applications for this kind of technology would pretty much be endless. And, yes, that includes the glove replicating the basketball leaving your hand as you shoot the winning three-pointer in a game of NBA 2K.

Field of view: HTC Vive Focus update brings calls and PC streaming to headsets

Google and LG team up on leading display

Wait, come back! Okay, we understand that getting the vapours for a headset's display isn't easy, but Google and LG have teamed up to create something, which could seriously affect how we view things through headsets in the future.

After initially teasing the collaborative project last year, Google unveiled at Display Week 2018 (yes, a real thing) a high-resolution OLED display that triples the pixels-per-inch (PPI) count of what we currently have from the likes of Oculus and HTC.

Are you ready for the specs - are you? Well, the display features an 18-megapixel resolution, 1443 PPI and a 120-Hz refresh rate. And it all comes together to form a 4.3-inch, 4,800 x 3,840 prototype panel that's technically the world's highest resolution OLED-on-glass display ever made.

As 9to5Google point out, there's no official estimation regarding when we can expect to see this actually come to consumer-facing devices, so, at least for now, you'll simply have to imagine what those dizzying specs will be able to provide when ready.

Oculus Mobile Store is getting DLC

With the arrival of the Oculus Go, the Facebook-owned VR giant is ramping up support for its mobile platform. Announced on its Oculus Developer blog this week, the company revealed that it will now allow developers to build support for DLC into their VR games.

There's no word on timings for when DLC will be a regular feature of the Mobile Store, with it currently going through beta testing, but it's a move that helps legitimise the headset as a genuine gaming device - one that will match the big players and keep users coming back for more of what they enjoy. Even if, you know, it may end up costing them more money.

Watch this: Road Runner storms onto AR

First appearing on screen together in 1949, Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote have been performing their chase routine since before augmented reality was even dreamt up. And now your boy Wile E. finally gets to fail in the medium.

That's after Abhishek Singh - the same developer that brought you that crazy, real-life Super Mario Bros. level in AR - brought the Looney Tunes characters to life through the power of ARKit, complete with the same familiar music, pause and inevitable 'meep meep' as the Road Runner leaves the chaser in the dust. This. Is. What. It's. All. About.

Play this: Archangel: Hellfire

Multiplayer VR shooter action, you say? Skydance Interactive has beefed up its VR mech game with a multiplayer mode that uses the Oculus and HTC controllers to act as your mech's arms and puts locomotion to good to use to help you traverse the environments and wage robot war.

There's six new mechs to pick from and controls have been refined to make combat more slick. The full update won't roll out until next month, but Oculus Rift and HTC Vive owners can get free access to the early beta now through the Steam and Oculus Stores. So, what are you waiting for? Go get shooting.

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