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What’s Behind Facebook’s Two Million AR Effects?

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AR Insider

Though it may not be as central of a driving force as it is at Snapchat, Facebook is intent on lens-based use cases to enhance social connections. This is one of many pieces in Facebook’s spatial computing puzzle, which also includes AR-cloud development and, of course, VR.

The endgame is ubiquitous VR and AR glasses, but like many other tech giants driving towards that future, mobile AR is a key stop along that journey. For Facebook, that manifests in similar ways as it does at Snap — as lens-based enhancements to multimedia sharing.

Late last week, Facebook reached a new milestone on that long road towards AR ubiquity. At its F8 conference, it announced that it has reached 2 million AR effects (its term for lenses) and 600,000+ creators from 190 countries on its Spark AR developer platform.

It also unveiled a few platform updates including AR effects for Messenger, Instagram and Portal video calls. Its Multipeer API lets developers create shared AR effects for call participants (think: birthday hats). The idea is for creators to run with it and discover social AR use cases.

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Specifically, Snap announced the same 2-million lens milestone. However, the platforms differ in lens-creator volume: Snap’s Lens Studio has 200,00 creators versus Facebook’s 600,000. It’s unclear if this is apples-to-apples in terms of current/active creators versus lifetime totals.

Let’s say for the sake of argument that the two platforms’ creator populations are measured with the same parameters. That would mean that Facebook has been more effective in attracting lens creators, while Snap has been more effective at cultivating lenses per creator.

Facebook’s greater global reach (2.8 billion monthly active users versus Snapchat’s 500 million) not surprisingly bestows scale to attract AR creators. Snapchat’s investments in Lens Studio, meanwhile stimulate more engaged creators — some of whom make a living from it.

In fairness, it should be noted that the two AR creation platforms aren’t a zero-sum game. There are many lens creators that use both platforms in order to maximize reach. They’re each walled gardens, but there are some components of lens creation that make 3D assets portable.

In that sense, platform updates like these are notable in that they represent one of the biggest ways to attract AR developers (the other being reach/scale, as noted). Facebook knows that AR engagement — which drives ad dollars — starts with robust libraries of Spark AR effects.

This is the same virtuous cycle we often invoke for Snap’s AR efforts, which have taken a decidedly developer-first approach over the past few years. The principle also applies to Facebook in kicking off a self-propelled flywheel of lens creation, engagement, and monetization.

Longer term, all of the above elevates AR comfort levels, pursuant to the real goal: AR glasses, as noted. Both Snap and Facebook have been forthright about their AR glasses plans. They’ve also been forthright that fully-actualized AR is more of a 2030 thing than a 2025 thing.

But that doesn’t mean the path to that goal isn’t valuable in itself. Both companies are investing heavily in optimizing user experiences, comfort levels and developer aptitude around spatial computing. And — in the case of mobile AR lenses — they’re making money along the way.

Or, as Endeavor VR CEO Amy Peck said during a panel discussion we participated in last week at the VR/AR Global Summit: “The metaverse is as much the journey as the destination.”

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Source: https://arvrjourney.com/whats-behind-facebook-s-two-million-ar-effects-3df1f8f9373e?source=rss—-d01820283d6d—4

AR/VR

Our Favorite VR Game Announcements From E3 2021

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The Upload VR Showcase returns with new information on 18 killer VR games.

Yesterday, Upload hosted its third annual E3 VR Showcase as part of IGN’s Summer of Gaming event, revealing a generous amount of new information for 18 VR games on Oculus Quest, PlayStation VR, and SteamVR headsets. This includes everything from new gameplay trailers for highly-anticipated titles such as Larcenauts and Green Hell VR to long-awaited updates for popular experiences like Demeo and Blaston.

For those who missed out on yesterday’s event, we’ve put together a small recap of our favorite announcements for your viewing pleasure. For a full list of yesterday’s reveals, check out Upload’s full recap here.

Green Hell VR – PCVR Gameplay Trailer

We were over the moon when we heard that developer Incuvo Games was developing a VR port of Creep Jar’s brutally realistic survival crafting game Green Hell for PCVR headsets.

For those unfamiliar with Green Hell, this psychological survival-horror experience drops you in the center of the Amazon rainforest where you’re tasked with surviving everything from tropical diseases to deadly wildlife using only your wits and whatever tools you can craft using the natural environment.

This latest trailer showcases even more of Incuovo’s upcoming VR jungle simulator, including the ability to craft temporary shelter using various resources scattered throughout the environment as well as the games crafting and backpack storage systems.

Green Hell VR is scheduled to launch later this year on Oculus Quest and PCVR headsets. According to the developer, the Quest version of the game will differ from the PCVR release due to technical limitations, though details are sparse at the moment.

Blaston & Demeo – New Updates

In addition to new details regarding unreleased games, the Upload VR Showcase also shined a light on several exciting updates coming to existing VR titles, including Resolution Games’ Blaston and Demeo.

Originally released on Oculus Quest and PCVR headsets this past October, Blaston will be receiving a new update on June 21st that will introduce a slew of new content to the multiplayer slow-motion bullet hell game. This includes a brand new single-player mode, token system, and arena just to name a few. The update, referred to as “Crackdown,” will also expand the Blaston universe with the introduction of Scrapper Street, a new location complete with robots, flying cars, and other lore-expanding elements.

We also received fresh updates on “Realm of the Rat King,” a brand new campaign heading to Resolution’s smash-hit VR dungeon crawler, Demeo. While we still know very little about the highly-anticipated expansion, this latest trailer confirmed an official release date of June 28th.

Rhythm Of The Universe: Ionia – Release Date Trailer

Brought to us by ROTU Entertainment, Rhythm of the Universe: Ionia is an upcoming VR puzzle game with an environmental twist.

According to the developers, Ionia will be the first of seven upcoming chapters designed to immerse players in a captivating experience that combines environmental conservation with musical theory. We still know very little about this mysterious game at the moment, other than the fact that part of its proceeds will go directly to Wildlife Warriors, a non-profit conservation organization founded by the late great Steve Irwin.

It looks like we’ll have to wait until the games launch in Q3 2021 to find out more.

Township Tale – Oculus Quest Announcement Trailer

Available now on PCVR headsets via the Alta game launcher, Township Tale is an ambitious RPG experience built from the ground up for VR headsets.

In this uniquely crafted VR role-playing adventure, players are tasked with revitalizing an abandoned village by swapping between various jobs, each of which featuring their own unique interactions designed to immerse you in said role. As a blacksmith, for example, you’ll mine valuable resources and craft powerful weaponry. As a warrior, you’ll defend the village from various threats. Other professions include archer, cook, woodcutter, etc. As you progress, you’ll unlock the ability to customize your character, collect new inventory, and craft unique equipment; all of which can be taken with you between servers.

The latest trailer offers new information on the long-awaited Oculus Quest release. Township Tale will arrive on standalone VR headsets on July 15th for $9.99 with optional in-game purchases.

Larcenauts – VOD Gameplay & Roadmap Trailer

Revealed this past May, Larcenauts is an upcoming team-based PvP game coming soon to the Oculus Quest. Similar to class-based multiplayer titles such as Overwatch and Apex Legends, this fast-paced VR shooter lets you select from a roster of diverse characters, each with their own unique pros and cons, as you battle a team of six other players throughout a series of objective-based game modes using customizable weapons and powerful abilities.

This latest trailer shows off one of the more unique characters featured in the game, VOD, a brawler-class specialist armed with two incredibly powerful fists capable of dealing massive amounts of close-quarters damage. In addition to its elastic arms, VOD also features several ranged attacks, making it one of the more deadly specialists in the game; when used correctly that is.

Yesterday’s trailer also teased a series of exciting updates scheduled as part of the developers’ official roadmap, including two-handed aiming, manual reload, private lobbies, new maps and game modes, and immersive playlists just to name a few.

Larcenauts is scheduled to launch on Oculus Quest and PCVR headsets later this summer.


As stated previously, the announcements listed above are just a small handful of the total number of reveals made during Upload’s VR Showcase event. For more information on all of yesterday’s announcements, visit here.

Feature Image Credit: Resolution Games

The post Our Favorite VR Game Announcements From E3 2021 appeared first on VRScout.

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Source: https://vrarnews.com/details/our-favorite-vr-game-announcements-from-e3-2021-60c68a01762c9cd72467cd40?s=rss

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Frequent run-ins with Indian government complicates tech giants’ plans

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Elevate your enterprise data technology and strategy at Transform 2021.


(Reuters) — Another spat between India’s government and U.S. big tech has exacerbated disillusion among firms which have spent billions to build hubs in their largest growth market, to the extent some are rethinking expansion plans, people close to the matter said.

The government on Saturday said Twitter had not indicated compliance with new rules aimed at making social media firms more accountable to legal requests, and therefore risked losing liability exemptions for content posted on its platform.

Twitter joins compatriots Amazon.com, Facebook, and Facebook-owned WhatsApp in long being at loggerheads with the administration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi over data privacy bills and policies some executives have called protectionist, but tension has escalated in recent weeks.

Police visited Twitter last month to notify it of a probe into the tagging of a political tweet as “manipulated media”, and in February interrogated an Amazon official about the potentially adverse social impact of a political drama. Meanwhile, WhatsApp is challenging the government in court over rules it said would force it to access encrypted data.

“The fear is there,” said a senior tech industry executive in India. “It weighs both strategically and operationally.”

There are no indications the increasing run-ins have led to the delay or cancellation of planned investment.

Still, three senior executives familiar with the thinking of major U.S. tech firms said perceptions of India being an alternative, more accessible growth market to China are changing, and that longstanding plans for India’s role in their operations are being reviewed.

“There always used to be these discussions to make India a hub, but that is being thought through now,” said one of the executives, who works at a U.S. tech firm. “This feeling is across the board.”

Four other executives and advisors also expressed concern about rising tension. All declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter and because discussions were private.

Twitter, Amazon, Facebook, WhatsApp and India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology did not respond to requests for comment.

Misinformation

The government has argued that its rules are needed to stem the spread of misinformation that can spark violence – such as in 2017 when kidnapping rumours shared on message apps including WhatsApp led to lynching. It also said the rules are necessary to hold large technology companies accountable for practices that hurt domestic businesses or compromise customer privacy.

India is a massive market for U.S. tech giants. It is the biggest market for both Facebook and WhatsApp by user numbers, showed data from Statista, and third for Twitter. Amazon has committed as much as $6.5 billion to invest in the country.

To attract small businesses through WhatsApp, Facebook last year invested $5.7 billion in Reliance Industries‘s media and telecommunications arm, Jio Platforms.

Alphabet’s Google also pumped $4.5 billion into Jio last year from a newly created $10 billion fund earmarked for investment in India over five to seven years.

Compliance

The government has tried to balance attracting high-tech investment with nationalist policies aimed at protecting local businesses and, critics say, advancing its political agenda.

A border confrontation with China prompted it to effectively ban Chinese social media apps, including TikTok and WeChat.

The government has also forced foreign firms to store data locally against fierce lobbying, and its promotion of a domestic payment card network prompted Mastercard to complain to the U.S. government about the use of nationalism.

In 2019, compliance issues with new regulations saw Amazon remove thousands of products from its e-commerce platform. The e-tailer is separately facing scrutiny by the Competition Commission of India for its retailing practices.

Twitter publicly refused to comply with some government demands to remove content, a stance which some industry executives said may have aggravated its current situation.

WhatsApp has gone to court rather than comply with a new law requiring social media firms to trace the origin of dangerous or criminal posts on their platforms. The message app operator said it cannot comply without breaking encryption, while observers said yielding could prompt similar demands in other countries.

At the same time, WhatsApp has faced regulatory delays that have limited its payment service to just 4% of its 500 million customers. Nevertheless, it is pressing ahead with hiring for a service it has called a “globally significant” opportunity.

Government officials have shown little patience for objections. IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said any robust democracy must have accountability mechanisms, such as the ability to identify the originator of messages.

“A private company sitting in America should refrain from lecturing us on democracy when you are denying your users the right to effective redressal forum,” Prasad said in an interview with the Hindu newspaper published on Sunday.

Still, continued antagonism could imperil Modi’s ambition of making India a go-to investment destination.

“It’s a question of what you would develop in a three-to-five-year horizon,” said another executive familiar with the thinking of U.S. firms. “Do you do that in India or do you do that in another country. That’s where the conversation is.”

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Source: https://venturebeat.com/2021/06/13/frequent-run-ins-with-indian-government-complicates-tech-giants-plans/

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AR/VR

The VR Job Hub: Zerolight, Condense Reality & Yord

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Every weekend VRFocus gathers together vacancies from across the virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) industry, in locations around the globe to help make finding that ideal job easier. Below is a selection of roles that are currently accepting applications across a number of disciplines, all within departments and companies that focus on immersive entertainment.

Location Company Role Link
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK Zerolight LookDev Artist Click Here to Apply
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK Zerolight CG Supervisor Click Here to Apply
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK Zerolight UI-UX Design Team Manager Click Here to Apply
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK Zerolight UI/UX Designer Click Here to Apply
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK Zerolight DevOps Engineer Click Here to Apply
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK Zerolight Associate Technical Director – Cloud Click Here to Apply
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK Zerolight Associate Technical Director – Tech Team Click Here to Apply
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK Zerolight Unity Developer Click Here to Apply
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK Zerolight Graduate Graphics Engineer Click Here to Apply
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK Zerolight Graphics Engineer (Mid to Senior Level) Click Here to Apply
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK Zerolight Solution Architect Click Here to Apply
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK Zerolight Programme Manager Click Here to Apply
Bristol, UK Condense Reality CUDA Engineer Click Here to Apply
Bristol, UK Condense Reality Computer Vision and Machine Learning Engineer Click Here to Apply
Bristol, UK Condense Reality Computer Vision and Image Processing Engineer Click Here to Apply
Bristol, UK Condense Reality Game Engine Integration Engineer Click Here to Apply
Bristol, UK Condense Reality Backend Engineer Click Here to Apply
Náměstí Míru, Prague Yord 2D Graphic Designer Click Here to Apply
Náměstí Míru, Prague Yord Senior Unity 3D Developer Click Here to Apply
Germany Yord Trainee Business Developer Click Here to Apply
Náměstí Míru, Prague Yord Senior 3D Graphic Designer Click Here to Apply
Náměstí Míru, Prague Yord Senior Full Stack Web Developer Click Here to Apply
Náměstí Míru, Prague Yord Trainee Business Developer Click Here to Apply

Don’t forget, if there wasn’t anything that took your fancy this week there’s always last week’s listings on The VR Job Hub to check as well.

If you are an employer looking for someone to fill an immersive technology related role – regardless of the industry – don’t forget you can send us the lowdown on the position and we’ll be sure to feature it in that following week’s feature. Details should be sent to Peter Graham (pgraham@vrfocus.com).

We’ll see you next week on VRFocus at the usual time of 3PM (UK) for another selection of jobs from around the world.

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Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2021/06/the-vr-job-hub-zerolight-condense-reality-yord/

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AR/VR

How likable will the Facebook smartwatch experience be?

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Facebook is reportedly working on a smartwatch of its own, which is slated to debut in the summer of next year. The wearable is expected to arrive with dual cameras onboard – almost a first for a wrist-wearable – feature health and messaging functions, and also act as a controller for the unannounced augmented reality device from the social media … Continue reading

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