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Wave Deprecates VR App to Focus on Broader Distribution of Its Virtual Performances

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Wave, the virtual venue & virtual event production company formerly known as TheWaveVR, has moved away from virtual reality over the last two years in favor of distributing its virtual performances to a broader audience through non-immersive media channels. The company today announced that it has “de-prioritized” its VR app, which will officially shut down at the end of March. Wave says the move will allow it to focus on bringing “more fans [to] experience our virtual events on popular streaming platforms.”

Founded in 2016, Wave has raised some $40 million in venture capital, according to Crunchbase, to chase its vision of virtual concerts as the future of music performances. The company has produced virtual events headlined by well known artists like John Legend and Lindsey Stirling. Performances are rendered in real-time, with artists donning mo-cap suits and face-tracking tech to bring their likeness into the virtual world as their avatars perform in fantastical virtual venues.

Image courtesy Wave

At the outset, the company’s platform was built to be immersive and interactive—even allowing users to host their own performances—with audiences joining the venue via virtual reality through the Wave Beta app which launched on Steam in 2017 and Oculus PC in 2018.

But with VR’s relatively slow adoption, the company realized it wasn’t reaching the scale of audience that it needed. Wave began focusing its efforts on broadcasting the virtual productions beyond virtual reality so that a wider audience could enjoy the show. Now the company says its fully focused on delivering virtual productions through traditional channels, like livestreams, and will be shutting down its VR app at the end of March.

The primary reason, the company maintains, is that part of its VR app relies on Google’s 3D model hosting platform, Poly (which itself is shutting down); Wave says it doesn’t have the resources to build a new solution into the app. The company contends that its best option is to shutter the app for now, and promises to do “everything we can to one day bring back [the VR experience] in an even more evolved form.”

Wave CEO & co-founder Adam Arrigo publicly shared the following note:

We founded Wave almost five years ago to connect humanity through immersive music experiences. That journey started in the VR space, with our community-driven VR app on Steam, and it’s been rewarding watching our community of creators use our tools to host their own VR concerts. We never foresaw the incredible things people would create, and often attending those shows felt like peering into the future of live music / visual art performance and being blown away by the result.

Two years ago we pivoted out of VR into gaming and live-streaming, as the VR industry didn’t develop as quickly as we’d hoped. Artists need audiences to thrive, and we realized VR just wasn’t there yet, and there was a bigger opportunity for artists outside headsets. Even though ti doesn’t fit our current business model, we’ve kept TheWaveVR app and servers running just because the community in there has made such inspiring stuff. Unfortunately we built the user tools on top of Google Poly, which is shutting down.

As much as we’d love to, we aren’t able to spend the resources to build a new backend pipeline, since we are already spread so thin trying to accomplish our current set of non VR objectives. We are still a relatively small startup. The hardest part of running a startup is choosing what to focus on, which has led us to the difficult decision to sunset TheWaveVR app on Steam and Oculus.

Even though this means the Wave VR shows will come to a pause, we think this is the best decision for the long term future of the Wave community, and we promise to do everything we can to one day bring back this experience in an even more evolved form. Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts for joining us for all those multi-hour VR raves and for helping us craft this vision of the future of music and art. We hope you’ll join us for this next chapter.

The post Wave Deprecates VR App to Focus on Broader Distribution of Its Virtual Performances appeared first on Road to VR.

Source: https://vrarnews.com/details/wave-deprecates-vr-app-to-focus-on-broader-distribution-of-its-virtual-performances-600238e9db52f79e79dcfee4?s=rss

AR/VR

The VR Game Launch Roundup: A Race to the Top

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VR Game Roundup

Normally VRFocus’ Friday roundup of videogames to come doesn’t include today, but with slim pickings next week it was necessary to take some artistic licence. Even so, here are five virtual reality (VR) titles set to launch in the coming days.

Arden's Wake

BoomBox – Cyberspline Games Inc

Ok, so BoomBox is the first of two titles that are actually launching today. A rhythm-action experience by Cyberspline Games Inc hitting Steam Early Access, grab those digital drum sticks across 16 songs plus there are a further 100 pre-cleared songs for users to create their own maps using the editor.

Arden’s Wake – Penrose Studios

An animated short from Penrose Studios, Arden’s Wake features Alicia Vikander (Tomb Raider, Ex Machina) and Richard Armitage (The Hobbit) as the voice cast. Already an award winner picking up the Lion for Best VR at the Venice Film Festival, Arden’s Wake is the story of a young woman who embarks on a dangerous journey in a post-apocalyptic world.

Z-Race

Z-Race – XOCUS

For adrenaline fans who love to hurtle around futuristic tracks really fast, XOCUS’ upcoming Z-Race looks to be all that and more. Another Early Access title, Z-Race features 10 anti-gravity racers and 12 tracks across four terrains and an asynchronous global multiplayer mode.

Stargaze – Played With Fire

A relaxing puzzle title set among the stars, Stargaze originally launched via Steam for PC VR headsets and now it’s Oculus Store’s turn. Inspired by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s early 20th-Century novella The Little PrinceStargaze is an interstellar journey where you play an astronomer observing life on other planets, each one a puzzle to solve using your telescope.

The Climb 2

The Climb 2 – Crytek

Time for the big VR title of the week, Crytek’s The Climb 2. Originally slated for a 2020 launch on Oculus Quest 2, this sequel will have you clambering up mountains and the side of buildings in no time. Alongside new maps are new features likes dynamic objects such as ropes and ladders that react to your weight.

Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2021/02/the-vr-game-launch-roundup-a-race-to-the-top/

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Connections and inspirations between science fiction, tech, and games

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Dean Takahashi, Ramez Naam, and Tim Chang talk about the connections and inspirations between science fiction, tech, and games.Read More Source: https://venturebeat.com/2021/02/26/drawing-the-connections-and-inspirations-between-science-fiction-tech-and-games/

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How Do Consumers Feel About AR Shopping?

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AR continues to prove itself as a shopping tool. It can help consumers visualize products on “faces and spaces,” to make better-informed decisions. This is amplified during a pandemic when it can bring back some of the product essence and dimension that’s lost in retail lockdowns.

On the “sell side,” AR likewise resonates with brands and retailers. On one level, it appeals to their creative sensibilities — erstwhile stuck in 2D media — to demonstrate products in their full 3D glory. On a more practical level, they’re seeing real results from AR-based campaigns.

All of this continues to be validated in case studies and figures we track from AR-forward eCommerce leaders like Shopify. In fact, we recently rounded up several AR shopping performance metrics in a Data Dive article like this one. These proof points continue to roll out.

To continue that narrative, another angle to the story needs to be told. Beyond performance metrics in the aggregate, how do consumers actually feel about AR shopping? Are they asking for it? Are they comfortable with it? Answers to these questions can help to extrapolate demand.

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Temperature Reading

Jumping right into the data, we’ve rounded up several data points that indicate consumers’ sentiments towards AR shopping for this week’s Data Dive. Here they are in no particular order.

– Accenture reports that 50 percent of consumers have better brand recall through immersive ads, and 47 percent say they feel more connected to products.

– Nielsen reports that 51 percent of consumers are willing to use AR for shopping, scoring higher than other emerging shopping technologies such as retail self-checkout (44 percent).

– Hubspot reports that 75 percent of shoppers expect AR experiences from retailers.

– Snapchat reported a 2.4x lift in consumer interest for shoppable AR lenses during Q3 2020.

– A Harris Poll survey on behalf of Threekit reports that 60 percent of U.S. adult respondents who shop online are more likely to buy products shown in 3D or AR.

– A GetApp survey reports that 65 percent of consumers surveyed are comfortable using AR as a shopping tool.

According to consumer research firm, Gfk, 68 percent of consumers are familiar with AR shopping and 25 percent plan to use it in the next year. This scored higher than other emerging shopping tools such as smart speakers (23 percent) and subscription services (21 percent).

– In a survey from IoT software company Arm, 58 percent of consumers say they’re extremely or very likely to buy AR devices designed for everyday use such as shopping. The figure shoots up to 79 percent for respondents aged 16–24.

According to Parks Associates, consumers familiar with AR prefer it for price comparison overlays ( 48 percent) and product reviews ( 39 percent).

– Lastly, consumer survey data from our research arm, ARtillery Intelligence indicate year-over-year growth in both current and aspirational use for mobile AR shopping (click charts to expand).

Exposure Effect

The data points above have a range of sample sizes, survey wording and focal points. But there’s a directional trend towards comfort and demand for AR shopping. That includes “faces & specs” visualization as well as visual search to contextualize products with one’s smartphone.

Acclimation to AR shopping will also accelerate as Snapchat continues to cultivate rear-facing camera lenses. This shifting use case could bring Gen-Z shoppers with it — offering a broader canvas for a wider range of products, beyond sunglasses, lipstick. and other selfie fodder.

Lastly, to circle back to an earlier point, the value that AR adds to e-commerce is evident in normal times. But it takes on new meaning during Covid-era retail lockdowns when the value of visualizing products remotely is amplified. It brings some dimension back to shopping.

That dynamic is clear, but it’s unclear what will happen next. Will the tools discovered during this period create permanent habits through a “ mere exposure effect?” If so, it could bode well for AR’s sustained use in a post-Covid world, and its continued rise as a shopping utility.

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How Do Consumers Feel About AR Shopping? was originally published in AR/VR Journey: Augmented & Virtual Reality Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Source: https://arvrjourney.com/how-do-consumers-feel-about-ar-shopping-892ab2eb6855?source=rss—-d01820283d6d—4

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AR/VR

VR Fitness May Soon Be More Accessible

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Why I’m excited about the upcoming app VRKinesis as a virtual reality loving, disabled gamer

Source: https://arvrjourney.com/vr-fitness-may-soon-be-more-accessible-55172b166597?source=rss—-d01820283d6d—4

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