The XR Week Peek (2023.02.27): PSVR 2 gets released, Meta is in talks with Tencent, and more!

Today very weirdly I saw some snow outside of my window. The weather is getting crazy… a bit like me. I really hope you are having a great time, maybe with a newly bought PSVR 2 headset. I’m preparing for my next adventure… can you guess where will it be?

Top news of the week

(Image by Sony Interactive Entertainment)

PlayStation VR 2 has been launched

This has been the week of PSVR2. Sony Interactive Entertainment has started shipping the headset, and many people in the community started sharing pictures of them using this new device. We even had a new ad featuring Ozzy Osbourne and his delicate language. The feedback has been overall positive, with people praising its haptics and display: one thing that made me curious has been when Brad Lynch said that the HDR is so effective that looking at the sun in the game Horizon: Call Of The Mountain you really have the sensation of something too bright for your eyes. The device has its own set of issues, too, like the motion blur, which seems to diminish if you reduce the brightness of the display.
 The sales have been quite positive: Synth Riders’ CEO Arturo Perez shared that the sales of the game on the platform succeeded his expectations, meaning that the device is for sure selling well.
 Seeing such big enthusiasm for a new headset from the community is great. I leave here below for you a lot of links to go deeper on the PSVR2 topic so you can discover more about this cool device. One interesting piece of news that stroke with me was that Resident Evil 4 Remake is coming for this device, too!

More info (PSVR 2 launch date)
More info (New ad with Ozzy Osbourne)
More info (All the games with free upgrade from PSVR 1)
More info (Tips and tricks about PSVR 2)
More info (Road To VR’s review on PSVR 2)
More info (The BBC talks about PSVR 2)
More info (Technical analysis of the PSVR 2)
More info (Motion Blur on PSVR 2 can be reduced by reducing brightness)
More info (PSVR 2’s HDR is powerful in some scenes)
More info (Arturo Perez on Synth Riders’ sales)
More info (Every announced game for PSVR 2)
More info (The 5 best games to play at launch)
More info (The remake of Resident Evil 4 is coming to PSVR 2)
More info (Kayak VR on PSVR 2 — Review)
More info (Gran Turismo 7 on PSVR 2 — Review)

Other relevant news

(Image by Meta)

Tencent is in talks with Meta to distribute Quest 2 in China

There were rumors that Tencent was going to release its own VR headset in China but then decided to scrap this plan because of the spending review that the company is doing. Now a new fascinating hypothesis comes from China about Tencent VR: Tencent may be in talks with Meta about becoming a distributor of Quest 2 in China.
 This would be a huge agreement: Tencent could have a solid headset to compete with Bytedance in the domestic Chinese market. Meta could sell a lot of headsets in China, a market which it can’t enter because of the block of everything Meta-related carried on by the Chinese government. It looks like a win-win for both companies.
 The road to this partnership is not linear, though: Tencent should create a runtime for the new headset from scratch, because the original one by Meta can’t work. And Meta should find a way to earn money from this collaboration: if it is true that the Quest 2 hardware is sold undercost/at cost, just selling a lot of new devices in a new country doesn’t sound like a smart plan.

More info

Meta cancel two VR headsets prototypes from its roadmap

According to Alex Heath, Meta has just canceled the work on two prototypes of VR headsets it was working on. The two devices were nicknamed Cardiff and Hermosa. Cardiff was rumored to be a Plus or Light variation of the upcoming Meta Quest 3.
 I don’t think this news is going to change a lot in our market: headsets have already not-so-brillant sales, so the addition of new Plus or Light devices of a line that still has to find its road toward the mainstream didn’t seem a great plan anyway. This is probably why Meta, which is under a costs cutting process, decided to kill these projects.
 Meta’s executives will also meet to try to define better the vision and the strategy of the company. It seems that one of the meetings they have to do has been called “Must go faster”. I think this says it all about how much Meta wants to be more efficient.

More info

Monado now supports hands tracking

Collabora, the company behind the open-source XR runtime Monado, has just shown that it has been able to implement a working version of hands tracking into its framework.
 Monado is a completely open-source XR runtime that works on Linux. And this is why the news is so powerful: it will let people having a Reverb G2, a Valve Index, or a Rift S, use their headsets, with fully working hands tracking, on their Linux PCs. Very soon, Collabora will also make a SteamVR driver for this hands tracking, so also Windows users will be able to have hands tracking on their Valve Index.
 As a big fan of openness I’m very happy about this happening.

More info (Hands tracking video)
More info (Official blog post)

News worth a mention

Meta Quest gets foveated rendering, hands interactions, and more

The Meta Quest family just got a slew of interesting updates. First of all, finally shared spatial anchors, to have colocation between different users in the same place, have arrived on Quest 2 after having been available only on Quest Pro. Then eye-tracked foveated rendering has been made available in the Meta Quest SDK for all the developers that are targeting Quest Pro. And finally, a new update to First Hands has marked the release of new locomotion interactions available through hands tracking. Now users will be able to move in the scene without the need of having a controller in their hands.

More info (Quest 2 supporting shared spatial anchors)
More info (Locomotion on Meta Hand Tracking SDK)
More info (Boz announcing locomotion on Meta Hand Tracking SDK)
More info (Eye-tracked foveated rendering in Quest SDK)

Pico is gaining market shares

A report of the IDC shared by the Wall Street Journal claims that Pico is the only headset currently eroding significant shares of the whole VR market from Meta. So, while it’s true that Meta still holds 75% of the market, Pico has more than tripled its share and now occupies 15% of it. This proves that Pico is currently the only reliable competitor to Meta.

More info

Some articles on the metaverse

As usual, let me share with you the most important stories about the M-word that I’ve found this week:

A new research study confirms that we are perfectly identifiable by just how we move our head and our hands in virtual reality. This means that having privacy in VR is very complicated

Even the intelligence and safety agencies of the US are concerned about the metaverse. They know that social media have been exploited by the “enemies” to weaken Western societies and want to prevent this from happening again with the M-word

On Inverse I found a very good article on dating in VR: what is it, how it works, and if sometimes succeeds (spoiler: yes).

More info (Privacy in the metaverse)
More info (Concerns about political use of the metaverse)
More info (Dating in social VR worlds)

A new study poses some doubts about UVC cleaners

A new study on how to disinfect virtual reality gears in healthcare environments has compared the efficacy of different cleaning methods. The most effective one seems to be alcohol wipes, which should be passed on to all the parts of the device.
 The study has also some preliminary results on UVC cabinets: the one that has been tested by the team writing the article didn’t prove to be satisfactory. While the light emitted by the cabinet was effective in killing the bacteria, the fact that headsets have many ridges and hidden places where the UV light doesn’t arrive means that there are parts of it where the disinfection may not be complete. Anyway, this is a preliminary result and further studies are necessary to estimate the validity of such devices.

More info (Study on VR disinfection)
More info (XRSI adding doubts on UVC cleaners)

Gorilla Tag dev seems to be working on Echo VR successor

The developer of the popular VR game hit Gorilla Tag is working on a “Zero-g vr sports game”. The idea is clearly to replace Echo VR which will be soon be closed by Ready At Down. I truly hope he succeeds, but it is true that Echo VR was so successful also for its incredible level of polish, while Gorilla Tag is, uh, totally the opposite…

More info

Some news on content

Another Fisherman’s Tale is the upcoming sequel of the amazing game A Fisherman’s Tale. It is slated for later this year

I Expected You To Die 3: Cog In The Machine is also expected to launch later this year

The FPS and RTS hybrid Guardians Frontline is coming to Quest and PC VR on March 9

Journey To Foundation, A VR game based on Isaac Asimov’s classic sci-fi series Foundation is slated for… yes, this year!

Ndreams has shown its latest game, Synapse, which is a Dual-Wielding Shooter coming to PSVR 2… this… year…

Kill It Fire, a game about killing spiders in your house in a fun way is coming for all the major VR platforms. I’m not telling you when because I guess you already got it

Gun Jam VR has been reviewed by Upload VR with decent feedback

More info (Another Fisherman’s Tale)
More info (I Expect You To Die 3)
More info (Guardians Frontline)
More info (Journey To Foundation)
More info (Synapse)
More info (Kill It With Fire)
More info (Gun Jam VR)

Other news

First data mining about Quest 3 shows it may have eye-relief adjustment

Learn more

iOS 16.4 code contains references to an external computing device, maybe an HMD

Learn more

Apple partners with Chinese supplier Luxshare to develop its AR headset

Learn more

Blockade Labs releases a tool to use generative AI to create skyboxes

Learn more

Wist Labs makes you record in 3D some important instants so that you can re-live them later in mixed reality

Learn more

Fyr is aiming to create an augmented reality headset for surgeons that uses a light field display

Learn more

News from partners (and friends)

Weezer has recorded its latest music video with a single Insta360 camera

Singer Weezer has recorded its latest video all with a single Insta360 camera. What is interesting is that in the video he appears multiple times in every scene, so the work required careful editing after the shots. The result is quite nice.

Learn more

PulpoAR integrates new features into its services

PulpoAR, a subsidiary of the Glimpse Group, has announced to have developed Artificial Intelligence systems for fingernails detection and skin diagnostics. These systems will be integrated into its SaaS-based Augmented Reality (AR) products, including those expected to be utilized by a leading global social media company.

Learn more

Some XR fun

The attention of some of the media now
Funny link

Many people are just going to enjoy it…
Funny link

What if ChatGPT was lazy?
Funny link

Donate for good

Like last week, also this week in this final paragraph I won’t ask you to donate for my blog, but to the poor people that are facing the consequences of the war. Please donate to the Red Cross to handle the current humanitarian situation in Ukraine. I will leave you the link to do that below.
 Let me take a moment before to thank anyway all my Patreon donors for the support they give to me:

Alex Gonzalez VR



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And now here you are the link to donate:

Support The Red Cross in Ukraine

(Header image by Sony Interactive Entertainment)

The post The XR Week Peek (2023.02.27): PSVR 2 gets released, Meta is in talks with Tencent, and more! appeared first on The Ghost Howls.

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