Field of view: Sony's next PSVR controllers could come with big upgrades

We round up the latest happenings in alternate realities
The week in VR and AR
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Welcome to Field of view, the place where we zoom through the worlds of VR and AR and bring you the latest takes from the past week.

In this week's edition, we have all the key news you may have missed, tasty deals on VR headsets and even a couple of lovely recommendations for when you're next under the lid.

Virtual escape: The best AR smartglasses

And since it's Valentine's Day, we'll also offer you this steamy tip: if you no longer love your partner and you'd rather swim through hell's blazing lava lakes than partake in the song and dance of 14 February, simply pick up a VR headset as a present and let them explore new worlds - maybe, hopefully, forever.

Read this: VR and AR news

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Patent hints at new Sony PSVR controllers

Despite being one of the most intuitive and enjoyable VR platforms, Sony has yet to really build upon the Move controllers that launched in 2010 and were made ready for the PlayStation VR in 2016. That could soon change, though, with a patent uncovered by UploadVR indicating that the company is considering upgrades.

The filings, which were published back in 2017 and granted earlier this month, appear to suggest that the glowing orb atop the current Move controllers will be dropped, with analog sticks, haptic feedback and hand recognition all featuring.

Such additions would put PSVR's controllers more into line with what we've come to expect from both Oculus and Vive, though whether we get a reveal before the PlayStation 5 is announced - likely next year - remains to be seen.

Save big on Windows Mixed Reality headsets

If you're in the market for a high-end VR headset but can't stomach the equally high asking price, you could be tempted by a couple of offers currently floating around the Acer Mixed Reality Headset and the Dell Visor.

Amazon is running what we expect are limited-time offers on both devices, as well as others from the Windows Mixed Reality range. We've also recently seen the Samsung Odyssey and Lenovo Explorer return to full price, so act fast to avoid potentially missing out.

Acer Mixed Reality Headset - save $187
Acer Mixed Reality Headset - save $187

Dell Visor - save $170
Dell Visor - save $170

Leaked Zuckerberg email outlines Facebook's VR/AR strategy

A leaked email reportedly sent by CEO Mark Zuckerberg in 2015 has given an insight into the company's strategy against Apple and Google in AR/VR.

As reported by TechCrunch, the mammoth internal email to executives within the company outlined the plan for early steps in the area, just after the company bought Oculus for a reported $3 billion. The memo was acquired by author Blake Harris, though the outlet also notes it hasn't verified its authenticity.

If it is indeed from Zuck's keyboard, it makes for fascinating reading. Alongside interest in acquiring Unity - the cross-platform developer engine - the email outlines the state of the competition, reading: "We are vulnerable on mobile to Google and Apple because they make major mobile platforms. From a timing perspective, we are better off the sooner the next platform becomes ubiquitous and the shorter the time we exist in a primarily mobile world dominated by Google and Apple.

"The shorter this time, the less our community is vulnerable to the actions of others. Therefore, our goal is not only to win in VR/AR, but also to accelerate its arrival. This is part of my rationale for acquiring companies and increasing investment in them sooner, rather than waiting until later to de-risk them further."

Facebook teases Oculus surprises at GDC

After last week brought the first mentions of the Oculus Rift S, now a blog post from Oculus co-founder and head of VR product Nate Mitchell suggests there will be surprises from the company coming in 2019.

Right now, the Facebook-owned giant is in the process of preparing the Oculus Quest (the standalone device set to sit between the Oculus Go and Oculus Rift) for launch, though Mitchell's comments perhaps point to an official Rift S teaser as early as next month's Gaming Developers Conference. Quest is expected to take the lead role at the San Francisco event, though don't be surprised if we get our first look at the next generation of Rift, too.

Try this: Pokemon GO Snapshot

Field of view:

That's right - Pokémon Go is still very much a thing, and it's just a got a neat upgrade that'll appeal to part of you that spent 300 hours trying to unlock all the secrets of Pokemon Snap back in 1999.

The folks behind the mobile AR game, Niantic, announced in a blog post that Go Snapshot will be coming to the game, allowing players to point their phone at an area through their camera and have captured Pokemon pose for photos.

We expect this will lead to try-hard fans trekking to nearby volcanos and releasing a Magmar into the wild, or heading to abandoned electricity plants with their Magneton, but don't feel too bad if you the best you can muster up is Bulbasaur on the kitchen worktop posing next to some bread.

Watch this: Evolution of Testicles

You might think this is a Valentine's Day addition - testicles, naturally, being at the very heart of romance - but Oculus' latest project is actually instead focused on raising awareness for cancer.

The Evolution of Testicles (winner of Best Social Impact VR Experience at London’s Raindance Film Festival) features actor Chris O’Dowd, mixing comedy with, well, a 100-foot floating scrotum called 'Skyballs' in the hope of raise awareness of male cancer and the importance of self-examination. You can check out the behind the scenes footage above.

And if this film doesn't get your attention, in all the glory of virtual reality, nuts to you.


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