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Bandai Namco Partners with HTC to Bring Anime Content to Viveport

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HTC announced it’s partnering with Bandai Namco Pictures, the animation studio and production company, to ostensibly bring a number of its properties to Viveport, HTC’s VR app store and subscription service.

It’s not clear in what capacity Bandai Namco’s anime will arrive on Viveport, however the company says its going to roll out “new immersive animations and virtual social interactions” targeted at both hardcore gamers and causal users in the next few months.

Bandai Namco Pictures is known for producing a large portfolio of properties including Aikatsu!, Battle Spirits, Tiger & Bunny, Gintama, and Sergeant Keroro.

The companies bill the partnership as a way for HTC to expand its intellectual property portfolio, while broadening Bandai Namco Pictures’ reach into VR.

President of Viveport Joseph Lin says “anime content”—no specifics here—will be available on Viveport.

Ozaki Masayuki, president and CEO of Bandai Namco Pictures, says the deal will allow them to “create an environment where fans can enjoy experiences together, transcending physical limitations, as if they were diving directly into the world of our creations from anywhere in the world.”

Again, it’s not exactly clear what the companies have lined up, however it seems like it could be anything from a social platform with livestreaming 2D anime, bespoke anime-inspired VR games, and possibly also VR versions of card games Aikatsu!, Battle Spirits.

The partnership is said to initially focus on “the integration of animation content, development and distribution resources from both companies, ongoing collaborations on new animation and IP development, and robust exploration of new business opportunities.”

The post Bandai Namco Partners with HTC to Bring Anime Content to Viveport appeared first on Road to VR.

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AR/VR

Immersive LBE Virtual Reality experience ‘War Remains’ comes to National WWI Museum and Memorial this month

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In Virtual Reality News

May 11, 2021 – War Remains, an immersive experience from MWM Interactive (MWMi) will this month debut at its new home, the National WWI Museum and Memorial located in Kansas City, US. Presented by ‘Hardcore History’ podcaster Dan Carlin, War Remains is an immersive virtual reality (VR) experience that transports viewers to the Western Front of the First World War where they can witness history unfold from a soldier’s point-of-view.

War Remains is a location-based experience (LBE) that places attendees in a 25ft x 25ft space and equips them with a VR headset. The space effectively acts as a physical set, thereby allowing viewers to interact with what they are witnessing virtually in the physical world, adding to the immersion of the experience. Although a relatively small space, according to Brandon Padveen, Associate Producer at MWM Interactive, the experience actually feels enormous due to the techniques that were used to create the experience and trick users into thinking they are in the vast trench networks on the frontlines of WWI.

The VR experience was produced by MWMi, directed by Brandon Oldenburg, and developed by Flight School Studio, with audio designed by Skywalker Sound. Throughout the experience, Dan Carlin leads audiences into the trenches as an active battle scene rages on around them. Through a combination of visual effects, sound engineering, and the guidance of Carlin’s voice, audiences get the opportunity to experience a moment in history. 

“Virtual Reality creates other dimensions. The medium allows the storyteller to engage the audience in a way that previous storytelling genres haven’t been able to tap into. The engagement level is so much higher because the audience is 100% involved. It’s an active not passive experience,” said Carlin. 

As well as the digital animation and physical interaction aspects of the experience, another hugely important part is the sound. Ethan Stearns, Executive Vice President of Content at MWM Interactive, said that originally, the team wanted the experience to be “so loud and uncomfortable that people wouldn’t really want to be in a headset.” Obviously, this wouldn’t be something that viewers would reasonably want to experience, and understandably, MWMi couldn’t really push things to a level that the real soldiers of WWI went through. Instead, the team had to look at how it could emulate how loud the trenches would have been in a different way. This emulation was achieved through clever sound design methods including the integration of speakers into the walls of the physical set, thanks to the work that Skywalker Sound carried out.

MWMi has gifted the War Remains LBE to the National WWI Museum and Memorial. Stearns added: “We want War Remains to continue to be experienced, and there is no better permanent home than the National WWI Museum and Memorial.” 

“We are extremely grateful to MWMi for the gift of War Remains. This experience is unlike anything that Kansas City has hosted before,” said Matthew Naylor, President and CEO of the National WWI Museum and Memorial. “War Remains will allow the viewer to immerse themselves in the trenches of WWI and experience it with all of their senses, reaching them on both an educational and emotional level.” 

War Remains premiered to international acclaim at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2019 and later opened for a limited run in Austin, Texas. It went on to win the “Out-of-home VR Entertainment of the Year” award at the VR Awards. The experience will be hosted in the National WWI Museum and Memorial’s Memory Hall and will be open to the public on May 27, 2021. Due to the graphic nature of the content, viewers must be at least 14 years of age. 

For more information on the War Remains experience, click here.

Image / video credit: www.worldwar1centennial.org / MWM Interactive / YouTube

About the author

Sam Sprigg

Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he covers news articles on both the AR and VR industries. He also has an interest in human augmentation technology as a whole, and does not just limit his learning specifically to the visual experience side of things.

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Report: Next-gen PSVR Said to Have 4.1MP Per-eye, Eye-tracking, & Head-mounted Haptics

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A report from UploadVR, citing “multiple sources,” claims that Sony’s next-gen PlayStation VR 2 headset will bring a big jump in resolution, along with eye-tracking, IPD adjustment, and even head-mounted haptics.

UploadVR today reported that “multiple sources” shared details about the PSVR 2 headset after Sony revealed info to partners. Here’s the key info claimed in the report:

  • 4.1MP (2,000 × 2,040) per-eye resolution
  • IPD adjustment dial
  • Eye-tracking capable of foveated rendering
  • USB-C tether to PS5
  • Inside-out tracking
  • Head-mounted haptics

Road to VR has not been able to independently verify details of the report, though several sources says that these sorts of leaks tend to be the result of details shared with third-party developers.

Resolution

At 4.1 megapixels (2,000 × 2,040) per-eye, PSVR 2 would have one of the highest resolution displays among consumer VR headsets today, beat out only by the HP Reverb G2. This would dwarf the 1.0 megapixel per-eye of the original PSVR.

Headset Megapixels per-eye Released
PSVR 1.0 2016
Rift CV1 1.3 2016
Rift S 1.8 2019
Vive Pro 2.3 2018
Quest 2.3 2019
Index 2.3 2019
Quest 2 3.5 2020
PSVR 2 (rumored) 4.1 After 2021
Reverb G2 4.7 2020

IPD Adjustment

The report also claims the headset will have an IPD adjustment dial which will allow users to change the distance between the lenses to match the distance between their eyes. Doing so increases comfort and clarity by making sure the ‘sweet spot’ of the lens is closely aligned with the center of the eye.

The original PSVR didn’t have a physical IPD adjustment, and generally didn’t seem to need one thanks to optics which gave the headset a fairly large sweet spot. The addition of an IPD adjustment on PSVR 2 could signal a major change in lens design; the original PSVR was one of the only headsets in the category to not use fresnel lenses.

Eye-tracking

The report from UploadVR also says the headset will be equipped with eye-tracking, which can bring a host of benefits to a VR headset, but to date we haven’t seen any consumer VR headset equipped with eye-tracking. Beyond foveated rendering (which can allow the headset to render a sharper view only where the user is looking), eye-tracking could pair well with the purported IPD adjustment, as the eye-tracking could be used to measure the ideal IPD value of the user.

Inside-out Tracking

The PSVR 2 is also said to use inside-out tracking, which means the headset will use on-board cameras to track its location and the location of the controllers. This is the same approach used by headsets like Oculus Quest.

Sony has yet to reveal PSVR 2, but it has already shown a clear look at the next-gen controllers | Image courtesy Sony

This would also be a big shift, as the original PSVR relied on the PS4 camera for tracking, which ultimately limited the headset’s tracking quality and range. This limited tracking made the headset more restrictive for developers, and less convenient for users. Inside-out tracking, on the other hand, stands to bring 360° tracking and the potential for ‘room-scale’ playspaces to the headset.

USB-C Tether

The UploadVR report says the headset will connect to PS5 via a USB-C tether, which could conveniently plug into the existing USB-C port on the front of the console. It would be a big win if the headset can use a single cable straight into the console for power, video, and data, because the original headset’s breakout box and many cables are quite cumbersome.

Head-mounted Haptics

Perhaps the most unexpected part of the report is the mention of head-mounted haptics. PSVR 2 would be the first consumer headset to include this sort of feature, which would ostensibly allow the headset to vibrate or rumble in order to provide extra feedback to the user. Combined with the DualSense adaptive triggers in the headset’s new controllers, this could make the next PSVR one of the most hapticly-capable VR systems to date.

Beyond just offering more immersion, head-mounted haptics have even been shown as a potential avenue for improving comfort while in VR. Apple has also been looking into the idea of head-mounted haptics to aid navigation in virtual spaces.

– – — – –

If true, this is a good deal of info to know about the headset already, even before it has been officially revealed. Sony has said previously the headset won’t launch until sometime after 2021, so it seems it will be a while yet before we get other essential details like a price and release date for PSVR 2.

The post Report: Next-gen PSVR Said to Have 4.1MP Per-eye, Eye-tracking, & Head-mounted Haptics appeared first on Road to VR.

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PS5 VR leak hints at massively upgraded next-gen 4K model

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In late March, Sony confirmed that it is working on a next-generation PlayStation VR headset that will launch at some point for the PS5 console. Though we’re still lacking many official details at this time, Sony did reveal the controllers that will come with the next version of its VR product, ones that’ll sport the same kind of innovation seen … Continue reading

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Burger King & Rovio Partner On AR Angry Birds Game

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Scan select Burger King items to access an interactive WebAR experience based on the immensely popular children’s franchise.

Rovio Entertainment, the developer behind the hit mobile game series Angry Birds, today revealed a new partnership with Burger King to deliver a brand new augmented reality experience based on the legendary franchise.

You can access the interactive mini-game experience by scanning a custom QR code located on various Burger King items, from plush toys and packing to the signage located inside select Burger King locations. This unlocks a WebAR experience accessible directly through your smartphones mobile browser; no additional downloads or third-party app required.

Image Credit: Zappar

“We’re thrilled to partner with Zappar and Burger King® to create this unique AR experience for Angry Birds fans,” said Katri Chacona, Director, Brand Licensing at Rovio Entertainment, in an official release. “The accessibility of WebAR and wide availability across thousands of Burger King® restaurants make this an incredible opportunity to connect with consumers in new ways.” 

Powered via Zappar’s WebAR technology, this interactive WebAR experience has you defending three 3D eggs from an endless wave of adorable—yet insistent—Hatchlings determined to sneak away with your unborn birdlings. Thankfully, you can tap on these annoying Hatchlings to shoo them away from your eggs. You can also slow down their movements by launching green slime throughout your environment using the tried-and-true slingshot.

Defend your nest from enough Hatchlings, and you’ll unlock a special power-up in which WebAR experience automatically switches from the front-facing camera to your selfie cam, allowing you to physically blow away these pesky baby birds and return your eggs to safety. Naturally, you’re able to capture photos of your experience to share with friends and families via social media.

Image Credit: Zappar

WebXR technology has exploded over the past couple of years, allowing companies the ability to share engaging branded content directly to customers without the hassle of third-party app downloads. Just recently, EDM megastar Porter Robinson hosted his own VR music festival, Secret Sky, powered by WebVR technology. This allowed both VR players as well as standard mobile users the chance to meet up in a custom virtual space to enjoy live music from a generous assortment of electronic artists; no app download required.

Rovio and Burger King’s WebAR Angry Birds experience can be accessed now by scanning QR codes on select Burger King items.

Feature Image Credit: Zappar

The post Burger King & Rovio Partner On AR Angry Birds Game appeared first on VRScout.

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