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VR Ears Kickstarter Nears $200K in Last Week for Enhanced Audio on Quest, Rift S, & More

Rebuff Reality has taken its latest VR accessory, VR Ears, to Kickstarter with the hopes of bringing an enhanced audio solution to all major headsets, including those with sub-par or no integrated audio like PSVR, Quest, and Rift S. In its final week, the project is well past its goal as it closes in on […]

The post VR Ears Kickstarter Nears $200K in Last Week for Enhanced Audio on Quest, Rift S, & More appeared first on Road to VR.

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Rebuff Reality has taken its latest VR accessory, VR Ears, to Kickstarter with the hopes of bringing an enhanced audio solution to all major headsets, including those with sub-par or no integrated audio like PSVR, Quest, and Rift S. In its final week, the project is well past its goal as it closes in on $200,000.

Update (May 15th, 2020): In its last week on Kickstarter, the VR Ears crowdfunding campaign has raised $181,000. While the project has blasted past its $30,000 goal and may well reach around $200,000 by the end, it will likely fall short of the next stretch goal at $250,000.

Still, the overwhelming success of the campaign shows the demand for better audio on headsets which either have sub-par audio solutions (like Rift S and Quest) or those which have no integrated audio at all (like PSVR).

It remains to be seen how well the VR Ears will actually perform in the audio department, but we’ll be looking forward to testing them once they become available.


Update (May 5th, 2020): The VR Ears Kickstarter has reached $155,000, or 518% of its $30,000 goal. Though the project is well funded, the next stretch goal (a 30% discount voucher for a carrying case) is still a fair distance away at $250,000. With 16 days left though, it’s not out of the question that the campaign gets there.


Update (April 27th, 2020): The VR Ears Kickstarter has more than quadrupled its $30,000 goal, now with just over $125,000 pledged by backers of the project, with more than three weeks remaining in the campaign.

The campaign met its first stretch goal at $100,000, unlocking a 30% discount voucher for VR Ears headstrap (which allows the accessory to be used like a regular pair of headphones without a VR headset). The headstrap will cost $30 before discount.


Update (April 22nd, 2020): The VR Ears Kickstarter has more than doubled its $30,000 funding goal right out of the gate. With 28 days remaining of a 30 day campaign, the project is 247% funded with $75,000 pledged and rapidly approaching its first stretch goal at $100,000 (see below update listing all stretch goals).

757 backers have bought into the project so far. The $80 ‘Super Early Bird’ tier has sold out all 500 units. The $90 ‘Early Bird’ tier has sold 218 of 2,000 units. If that tier sells out, this will leave only the uncapped $100 ‘Kickstarter Special’ tier (and above).

See the original article below for more background on VR Ears and the Kickstarter project.


Update (April 21st, 2020): The VR Ears Kickstarter launched today, aiming to bring an ‘off-ear’ headphone accessory to many major VR headsets. The company behind the project, Rebuff Reality, is aiming to raise $30,000. The company has confirmed that the off-ear headphones will support Rift CV1, Rift S, Quest, original Vive (only with DAS), Vive Pro, Vive Cosmos, PSVR, Valve Index, and Pimax headsets which use the rigid head-mount.

Prices for the clip-on audio accessory start at $80 for the first 500 backers, $90 for the next 3,000, and $100 thereafter. Rebuff Reality says that after the Kickstarter the headphones will retail for $150. The company expects the $80 batch to ship starting in November and the $90 and $100 batches expected in December.

The VR Ears headstrap, which allows the headphones to double as a normal pair of headphones without attaching to a VR headset, looks to be available after the Kickstarter as an additional accessory.

Just a few hours after the campaign launched, the VR Ears Kickstarter has already reached 70% of its goal. With 29 days remaining in the campaign, it seems certain to succeed. Rebuff Reality seems confident too, as it has already outlined stretch goals far exceeding the initial $30,000 goal:

  • $100,000 – 30% discount voucher for VR Ears headstrap accessory
  • $250,000 – 30% discount voucher for VR Ears carrying case
  • $500,000 – 30% discount voucher for 5ft charging cable
  • $750,000 – 30% discount voucher for VR Ear boom mic accessory
  • $1,000,000 – All of the above accessories included for free with any Kickstarter purchase of VR Ears

The original article, which explores the audio landscape of VR headsets and the ‘off-ear’ approach to headset audio, continues below.

Original Article (April 17th, 2020): Since the consumer VR industry kicked off in 2016, more and more headsets are heading toward integrated audio solutions. While the original Vive and PSVR launched without any on-board audio (expecting the user to plug in included earbuds, or their own headphones), both have since made moves to rectify that. HTC launched the Vive Deluxe Audio Strap (AKA DAS) which improved the fit of the headset and added on-board audio, while an updated version of PSVR eventually added more convenient earbuds.

The latest headsets from Oculus—the Go, Quest, and Rift S—all have speakers hidden inside their headstraps. While this is convenient because there’s no headphones to get in the way when putting the headset on, all three leave us wishing for better quality and positional audio accuracy, both of which bring big boosts to immersion.

Valve’s Index headset seems to have found an ideal solution; its ‘off-ear’ audio design means the headphones aren’t in the way when putting the headset on, but at the same time they offer excellent audio quality with high volume and great positional accuracy.

SEE ALSO
Index’s ‘Off-ear’ Headphones Are Its Most Surprising Innovation

VR Ears is a third-party audio accessory aiming to emulate the Index off-ear audio design and bring it to pretty much any VR headset out there thanks to a clip-on approach. The company hasn’t said exactly which headsets it will support, but it has teased compatibility with PSVR, Vive DAS, Rift S, Quest, Pimax, and it can even be used as a standard pair of headphones without a VR headset.

Rebuff Reality, the company behind several other VR accessories, is bringing VR Ears to Kickstarter on April 21st, starting at 10AM PT (you local time here). The company hasn’t yet announced how much they hope to raise for the product, or the expected shipping timeline, but that will be made clear when the Kickstarter launches next week.

Despite emulating the off-ear audio design of Index, there’s no telling what kind of quality VR Ears will bring to the table. Valve invested substantial time into developing the headphones for Index—including the use of some novel drivers that VR Ears are unlikely using—so we’ll be interested to see what the final product ends up sounding like.

Either way, VR Ears has the potential to substantially improve both volume and positional audio accuracy over the likes of Go, Quest, and Rift S, thanks to the use of much larger drivers and the ability to position the speakers directly adjacent to the ear.

The post VR Ears Kickstarter Nears $200K in Last Week for Enhanced Audio on Quest, Rift S, & More appeared first on Road to VR.

Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/vr-ears-kickstarter-rebuff-reality-vr-headphones-quest-rift-s-psvr/

AR/VR

Waltz of the Wizard hand-tracking hands-on: Magic in your hands

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Oculus Quest owners can now wave their hands in the air to wield magical forces, play music on a xylophone by just pressing their fingers against an invisible instrument, turn dials by pinching their fingers together and move across large distances by pointing where they want to go.

Waltz of the Wizard from Aldin Dynamics was one of the first generation of room-scale consumer VR games from 2016 to work with fully tracked controllers. Now, it becomes one of the first games to adapt those features to Facebook’s open-air, controller-free hand-tracking system on Quest. Facebook rolled out v17 of Quest’s system software this week and with it the first Oculus-approved games compatible with the experimental input system. The latest update or Waltz arrives alongside The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets as the two become the first full games with the feature. While the latter is largely a stationary game, Waltz uses a “telepath” movement system and gesture recognition to bring the game’s magical playground to a completely new input system.

I spent some time with v17 on my Quest in a well-lit room with the latest version of Waltz of the Wizard, testing the new input system and its limits on current hardware. If you have a Quest, make sure you have v17 of the Quest software, and you can download the game’s latest version now to test it yourself.

If you don’t have Waltz of the Wizard or a Quest, though, how does the controller-free hand-tracking hold up? Here’s a look at what I experienced.

An Imperfect But Exciting New Start For VR Interaction

I captured the video above showing 11 minutes of continuous gameplay on Quest after spending roughly 45 minutes familiarizing myself with the gestures Aldin Dynamics is using for controller-free interaction.

I was in a well-lit room and the hand tracking seemed vastly improved as compared with the Quest’s experimental updates since December. Still, I found myself needing to attempt some interactions multiple times and couldn’t master a few others with this amount of a practice. Taking hold of virtual objects with just a pinch didn’t always feel natural and I couldn’t get all my interactions to register as intended. You can see in the video above that it’s far from perfect. Waving my hand too fast at the wrong angle and I wouldn’t hit an object with my hand as I meant to, and Aldin’s movement system occasionally popped up when I didn’t mean to invoke it. Other times I couldn’t quite get the path it drew along the floor to go exactly where I wanted.

While regularly frustrating and clearly far from robust enough to ship as the only input system on a Quest — at least on current hardware — hand tracking still remains a remarkable demonstration and an exciting first step. Again and again as I waved my arms through the air, or let butterflies land on my fingertips, or tossed virtual objects into a bowl, I found myself remembering an all-too-familiar feeling that called back to earlier demos — turning my head in an early Rift prototype, leaning with a Razer hydra hanging from my neck for positional tracking, holding Vive controllers and walking around a room. Quest’s hand tracking in Waltz of the Wizard is the next step on that journey.

Magic in your hands

VR is indistinguishable from magic and, in Quest’s first year, only the most experienced magicians were allowed by Facebook to make money from their craft. Facebook’s curation strategy worked for dozens of magic-makers who learned through countless attempts to hone their craft how to turn a pair of handheld controllers into ninja stars, bows, guns, sabers and so many other tools and toys.

While hand tracking and Waltz of the Wizard show that, right now, the lighting needs to be just right for this new magic to work, and people need to position their hands carefully for the illusion to hold, its roll-out on Quest’s one-year anniversary is a promise by Facebook this won’t always be the case.

Controller-free hand tracking is a chance for new magicians to start making illusions that will one day bring awe to even larger audiences.

This story originally appeared on Uploadvr.com. Copyright 2020

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/venturebeat/SZYF/~3/pwVdfqp3i0I/

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Facebook opens its $1,000 Oculus Quest enterprise headset to all businesses

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Facebook announced that its enterprise-edition Oculus Quest that sells for $1,000 as part of its Oculus for Business platform is now available for all companies to purchase.

Back in January Facebook withdrew its 3DOF headset, the Oculus Go, from the business platform and began offering the Oculus Quest instead as part of a new Oculus for Business initiative. However, that was only in closed beta until now.

Facebook has some details on the Oculus for Business platform in a blog post on the Oculus website and a landing page, Oculus for Business.

When a business purchases a Quest through the Oculus for Business platform for $1,000, they’re not getting a consumer device. Instead, this Quest is specifically designed for their company with enterprise-focused features like a kiosk demo mode and two years of enterprise-quality support via phone, live chat, or email.

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Business edition Quests feature a custom operating system that doesn’t access the typical Quest store for downloading games and other consumer-facing content. Instead, businesses get unique features such as multiple device setup, the capability to load the headsets with their own content to launch directly, and even remote access.

The multi-device setup should help speed things up for businesses at events and for internal use. Using a separate version of the Oculus mobile app, businesses can set up and update several headsets at once with the app as a central hub.

When using an Oculus for Business Quest the user interface is different as well, placing company-approved content at the front and center rather than needing to sideload things or access a store that wasn’t designed for enterprise use cases.

This story originally appeared on Uploadvr.com. Copyright 2020

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/venturebeat/SZYF/~3/AO_if31iyb4/

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AR/VR

How publishing indie games is like building a band

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Guillaume Jamet is the VP of publishing and marketing at Dear Villagers, which is the indie-publishing division of game-distribution company Plug-In Digital. Guillaume joins How Games Make Money host Jeff Grubb to talk about the kinds of studios he wants to work with. He also explains what Dear Villagers looks for in games. Join us, won’t you?

Follow the show

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/venturebeat/SZYF/~3/2Cn7VsFlMxI/

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AR/VR

VR Ears Kickstarter Nears $200K in Last Week for Enhanced Audio on Quest, Rift S, & More

Rebuff Reality has taken its latest VR accessory, VR Ears, to Kickstarter with the hopes of bringing an enhanced audio solution to all major headsets, including those with sub-par or no integrated audio like PSVR, Quest, and Rift S. In its final week, the project is well past its goal as it closes in on […]

The post VR Ears Kickstarter Nears $200K in Last Week for Enhanced Audio on Quest, Rift S, & More appeared first on Road to VR.

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Rebuff Reality has taken its latest VR accessory, VR Ears, to Kickstarter with the hopes of bringing an enhanced audio solution to all major headsets, including those with sub-par or no integrated audio like PSVR, Quest, and Rift S. In its final week, the project is well past its goal as it closes in on $200,000.

Update (May 15th, 2020): In its last week on Kickstarter, the VR Ears crowdfunding campaign has raised $181,000. While the project has blasted past its $30,000 goal and may well reach around $200,000 by the end, it will likely fall short of the next stretch goal at $250,000.

Still, the overwhelming success of the campaign shows the demand for better audio on headsets which either have sub-par audio solutions (like Rift S and Quest) or those which have no integrated audio at all (like PSVR).

It remains to be seen how well the VR Ears will actually perform in the audio department, but we’ll be looking forward to testing them once they become available.


Update (May 5th, 2020): The VR Ears Kickstarter has reached $155,000, or 518% of its $30,000 goal. Though the project is well funded, the next stretch goal (a 30% discount voucher for a carrying case) is still a fair distance away at $250,000. With 16 days left though, it’s not out of the question that the campaign gets there.


Update (April 27th, 2020): The VR Ears Kickstarter has more than quadrupled its $30,000 goal, now with just over $125,000 pledged by backers of the project, with more than three weeks remaining in the campaign.

The campaign met its first stretch goal at $100,000, unlocking a 30% discount voucher for VR Ears headstrap (which allows the accessory to be used like a regular pair of headphones without a VR headset). The headstrap will cost $30 before discount.


Update (April 22nd, 2020): The VR Ears Kickstarter has more than doubled its $30,000 funding goal right out of the gate. With 28 days remaining of a 30 day campaign, the project is 247% funded with $75,000 pledged and rapidly approaching its first stretch goal at $100,000 (see below update listing all stretch goals).

757 backers have bought into the project so far. The $80 ‘Super Early Bird’ tier has sold out all 500 units. The $90 ‘Early Bird’ tier has sold 218 of 2,000 units. If that tier sells out, this will leave only the uncapped $100 ‘Kickstarter Special’ tier (and above).

See the original article below for more background on VR Ears and the Kickstarter project.


Update (April 21st, 2020): The VR Ears Kickstarter launched today, aiming to bring an ‘off-ear’ headphone accessory to many major VR headsets. The company behind the project, Rebuff Reality, is aiming to raise $30,000. The company has confirmed that the off-ear headphones will support Rift CV1, Rift S, Quest, original Vive (only with DAS), Vive Pro, Vive Cosmos, PSVR, Valve Index, and Pimax headsets which use the rigid head-mount.

Prices for the clip-on audio accessory start at $80 for the first 500 backers, $90 for the next 3,000, and $100 thereafter. Rebuff Reality says that after the Kickstarter the headphones will retail for $150. The company expects the $80 batch to ship starting in November and the $90 and $100 batches expected in December.

The VR Ears headstrap, which allows the headphones to double as a normal pair of headphones without attaching to a VR headset, looks to be available after the Kickstarter as an additional accessory.

Just a few hours after the campaign launched, the VR Ears Kickstarter has already reached 70% of its goal. With 29 days remaining in the campaign, it seems certain to succeed. Rebuff Reality seems confident too, as it has already outlined stretch goals far exceeding the initial $30,000 goal:

  • $100,000 – 30% discount voucher for VR Ears headstrap accessory
  • $250,000 – 30% discount voucher for VR Ears carrying case
  • $500,000 – 30% discount voucher for 5ft charging cable
  • $750,000 – 30% discount voucher for VR Ear boom mic accessory
  • $1,000,000 – All of the above accessories included for free with any Kickstarter purchase of VR Ears

The original article, which explores the audio landscape of VR headsets and the ‘off-ear’ approach to headset audio, continues below.

Original Article (April 17th, 2020): Since the consumer VR industry kicked off in 2016, more and more headsets are heading toward integrated audio solutions. While the original Vive and PSVR launched without any on-board audio (expecting the user to plug in included earbuds, or their own headphones), both have since made moves to rectify that. HTC launched the Vive Deluxe Audio Strap (AKA DAS) which improved the fit of the headset and added on-board audio, while an updated version of PSVR eventually added more convenient earbuds.

The latest headsets from Oculus—the Go, Quest, and Rift S—all have speakers hidden inside their headstraps. While this is convenient because there’s no headphones to get in the way when putting the headset on, all three leave us wishing for better quality and positional audio accuracy, both of which bring big boosts to immersion.

Valve’s Index headset seems to have found an ideal solution; its ‘off-ear’ audio design means the headphones aren’t in the way when putting the headset on, but at the same time they offer excellent audio quality with high volume and great positional accuracy.

SEE ALSO
Index’s ‘Off-ear’ Headphones Are Its Most Surprising Innovation

VR Ears is a third-party audio accessory aiming to emulate the Index off-ear audio design and bring it to pretty much any VR headset out there thanks to a clip-on approach. The company hasn’t said exactly which headsets it will support, but it has teased compatibility with PSVR, Vive DAS, Rift S, Quest, Pimax, and it can even be used as a standard pair of headphones without a VR headset.

Rebuff Reality, the company behind several other VR accessories, is bringing VR Ears to Kickstarter on April 21st, starting at 10AM PT (you local time here). The company hasn’t yet announced how much they hope to raise for the product, or the expected shipping timeline, but that will be made clear when the Kickstarter launches next week.

Despite emulating the off-ear audio design of Index, there’s no telling what kind of quality VR Ears will bring to the table. Valve invested substantial time into developing the headphones for Index—including the use of some novel drivers that VR Ears are unlikely using—so we’ll be interested to see what the final product ends up sounding like.

Either way, VR Ears has the potential to substantially improve both volume and positional audio accuracy over the likes of Go, Quest, and Rift S, thanks to the use of much larger drivers and the ability to position the speakers directly adjacent to the ear.

The post VR Ears Kickstarter Nears $200K in Last Week for Enhanced Audio on Quest, Rift S, & More appeared first on Road to VR.

Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/vr-ears-kickstarter-rebuff-reality-vr-headphones-quest-rift-s-psvr/

AR/VR

Waltz of the Wizard hand-tracking hands-on: Magic in your hands

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on

Oculus Quest owners can now wave their hands in the air to wield magical forces, play music on a xylophone by just pressing their fingers against an invisible instrument, turn dials by pinching their fingers together and move across large distances by pointing where they want to go.

Waltz of the Wizard from Aldin Dynamics was one of the first generation of room-scale consumer VR games from 2016 to work with fully tracked controllers. Now, it becomes one of the first games to adapt those features to Facebook’s open-air, controller-free hand-tracking system on Quest. Facebook rolled out v17 of Quest’s system software this week and with it the first Oculus-approved games compatible with the experimental input system. The latest update or Waltz arrives alongside The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets as the two become the first full games with the feature. While the latter is largely a stationary game, Waltz uses a “telepath” movement system and gesture recognition to bring the game’s magical playground to a completely new input system.

I spent some time with v17 on my Quest in a well-lit room with the latest version of Waltz of the Wizard, testing the new input system and its limits on current hardware. If you have a Quest, make sure you have v17 of the Quest software, and you can download the game’s latest version now to test it yourself.

If you don’t have Waltz of the Wizard or a Quest, though, how does the controller-free hand-tracking hold up? Here’s a look at what I experienced.

An Imperfect But Exciting New Start For VR Interaction

I captured the video above showing 11 minutes of continuous gameplay on Quest after spending roughly 45 minutes familiarizing myself with the gestures Aldin Dynamics is using for controller-free interaction.

I was in a well-lit room and the hand tracking seemed vastly improved as compared with the Quest’s experimental updates since December. Still, I found myself needing to attempt some interactions multiple times and couldn’t master a few others with this amount of a practice. Taking hold of virtual objects with just a pinch didn’t always feel natural and I couldn’t get all my interactions to register as intended. You can see in the video above that it’s far from perfect. Waving my hand too fast at the wrong angle and I wouldn’t hit an object with my hand as I meant to, and Aldin’s movement system occasionally popped up when I didn’t mean to invoke it. Other times I couldn’t quite get the path it drew along the floor to go exactly where I wanted.

While regularly frustrating and clearly far from robust enough to ship as the only input system on a Quest — at least on current hardware — hand tracking still remains a remarkable demonstration and an exciting first step. Again and again as I waved my arms through the air, or let butterflies land on my fingertips, or tossed virtual objects into a bowl, I found myself remembering an all-too-familiar feeling that called back to earlier demos — turning my head in an early Rift prototype, leaning with a Razer hydra hanging from my neck for positional tracking, holding Vive controllers and walking around a room. Quest’s hand tracking in Waltz of the Wizard is the next step on that journey.

Magic in your hands

VR is indistinguishable from magic and, in Quest’s first year, only the most experienced magicians were allowed by Facebook to make money from their craft. Facebook’s curation strategy worked for dozens of magic-makers who learned through countless attempts to hone their craft how to turn a pair of handheld controllers into ninja stars, bows, guns, sabers and so many other tools and toys.

While hand tracking and Waltz of the Wizard show that, right now, the lighting needs to be just right for this new magic to work, and people need to position their hands carefully for the illusion to hold, its roll-out on Quest’s one-year anniversary is a promise by Facebook this won’t always be the case.

Controller-free hand tracking is a chance for new magicians to start making illusions that will one day bring awe to even larger audiences.

This story originally appeared on Uploadvr.com. Copyright 2020

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/venturebeat/SZYF/~3/pwVdfqp3i0I/

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Facebook opens its $1,000 Oculus Quest enterprise headset to all businesses

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Facebook announced that its enterprise-edition Oculus Quest that sells for $1,000 as part of its Oculus for Business platform is now available for all companies to purchase.

Back in January Facebook withdrew its 3DOF headset, the Oculus Go, from the business platform and began offering the Oculus Quest instead as part of a new Oculus for Business initiative. However, that was only in closed beta until now.

Facebook has some details on the Oculus for Business platform in a blog post on the Oculus website and a landing page, Oculus for Business.

When a business purchases a Quest through the Oculus for Business platform for $1,000, they’re not getting a consumer device. Instead, this Quest is specifically designed for their company with enterprise-focused features like a kiosk demo mode and two years of enterprise-quality support via phone, live chat, or email.

VB Transform 2020 Online – July 15-17. Join leading AI executives: Register for the free livestream.

Business edition Quests feature a custom operating system that doesn’t access the typical Quest store for downloading games and other consumer-facing content. Instead, businesses get unique features such as multiple device setup, the capability to load the headsets with their own content to launch directly, and even remote access.

The multi-device setup should help speed things up for businesses at events and for internal use. Using a separate version of the Oculus mobile app, businesses can set up and update several headsets at once with the app as a central hub.

When using an Oculus for Business Quest the user interface is different as well, placing company-approved content at the front and center rather than needing to sideload things or access a store that wasn’t designed for enterprise use cases.

This story originally appeared on Uploadvr.com. Copyright 2020

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/venturebeat/SZYF/~3/AO_if31iyb4/

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AR/VR

How publishing indie games is like building a band

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Guillaume Jamet is the VP of publishing and marketing at Dear Villagers, which is the indie-publishing division of game-distribution company Plug-In Digital. Guillaume joins How Games Make Money host Jeff Grubb to talk about the kinds of studios he wants to work with. He also explains what Dear Villagers looks for in games. Join us, won’t you?

Follow the show

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/venturebeat/SZYF/~3/2Cn7VsFlMxI/

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