Field of view: RIP Oculus Story Studio

Your Friday roundup of VR news, games and recommendations
Field of view: The week in VR

Missed all the big VR (and augmented and mixed reality) news? Don't worry, we got you covered. Headline-grabbing stories aside, our US reporter Husain visited San Jose State University's VR lab, plus we also rounded up our edit of the 14 most awesome VR artworks created in Tilt Brush. We asked some experts about the future of VR and e-sports and explained how positional tracking works in VR and how it's going to change in the future.

We also updated our list of the most anticipated upcoming wearables with new entries including Windows Mixed Reality devices and LG's SteamVR headsets. And our Crowdfund this pick of the past seven days is VRgluv, a pair of haptic force feedback gloves on Kickstarter now.

Once you've caught up on the week's VR/MR and AR goings on, here's what else has been happening.

Read this: News blips and tidbits

Oculus is 'winding down' Story Studio

This is a bit of a blow: Oculus' in-house VR film studio is about to bite the dust after just two years. Oculus' VP of content Jason Rubin announced the news in a blog post saying that funding will still be available for non-game experiences, just from third parties: "We're still absolutely committed to growing the VR film and creative content ecosystem.... We're going to carve out $50M from that financial commitment to exclusively fund non-gaming, experiential VR content. This money will go directly to artists to help jumpstart the most innovative and groundbreaking VR ideas."

So the team that made award-winning shorts Lost, Henry and Dear Angelica as well as the creative tool Quill will be no more. Still, as Rubin points out, there are plenty of studios creating their own shorts and animations now including places run by Oculus alumni like Penrose. We'll be keeping an eye on its commitment, beyond games, though. Wonder what those half-finished projects were...

5% of Facebook engineers are working on VR

More than that, actually, by UploadVR's calculations. So out of 18,000+ employees, at least 1,000 are working on VR in some capacity. Story Studio may be dead but Facebook seems to be going full steam ahead on VR and AR. Right on.


PGA goes all in for live VR at The Players

All four days of The Players Championships, which kick off on 11 May, will be livestreamed in VR, using Intel's True VR platform for the first time. Golf fans will be able to tune in to a live feed from the 17th hole via 360 video on Twitter (another first), Periscope and Gear VR headsets.

An Intel rep told us: "We have produced VR and 360 videos from our events, but they were all post-produced and only available via VOD. Part of the uniqueness of this live VR execution is how close the cameras will be to the players themselves on the iconic 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass."

VirZoom, the weight loss bike

A game dev says he lost 50 pounds with one of those VirZoom stationary bikes and virtual reality (and changing his diet, obvs). The creator of the Soda Drinker Pro simulation pedalled his way to all that weight loss while spending hours in the VirZoom Arcade library. Nice work.

Mommy's Special Glasses

You've got to hand it to PornHub's marketing team. Mother's Day is coming up - in the US, that is - and they have the ideal present: a Mother's Day card that doubles up as a VR viewer. Something different? PornHub is actually delivering the cards free of charge.

Watch this: Chrysalis

This incredibly trippy eight minute VR music video formed part of HP's installation at Coachella. You'll come out of it, like 'woooahh man, I saw the meaning of life in there'. Then maybe have a read of Hugh's write-up of the festival's VR and AR efforts this year. Or check out more VR music videos that have piqued our interest.

Play this: The Cathedral: Allison's Diary

This creepy little $3.99 horror game for the Gear VR is actually a sequel but you can start playing from here. We don't want to give too much away but the slow, tense action kicks off with someone bashing you over the head. When you wake up, in the dark, it appears that a dog is chowing down on their remains. Nice visuals and music, a disturbing story and genuine scares. As the devs recommend, play with headphones and standing up.



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