"Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town"
That was what I was gonna originally title this newsletter, issue 65* but it was too long for an email subject line. But it expresses what the VR industry was like this week for reasons I explain below.
It is also the name of a novel from Canadian science fiction author Cory Doctorow and hearkens back to the Second Life days. You should read it. Especially if you hang out in Toronto. And if you live in Kensington, it will blow you mind.
Here is a partial description, courtesy of Wikipedia:
"The novel opens with Alan's purchase of a home in the Kensington Market neighborhood of modern-day Toronto.
(In one of the two plotlines) protagonist Alan befriends Kurt, a thirtysomething punk who operates a dumpster-diving operation. Kurt uses computer components that he retrieves from the trash and turns them into Wi-Fi network access points. Kurt's goal is to blanket the entire neighborhood with free and secure Internet access by attaching his access points to buildings in a wireless mesh network with the permission of their owners."
OK? ;) Just in case you thought this is all new. (ps in the second, fantastical plotline, Alan discovers his father is a mountain and his mother is a washing machine. But, I digress...)
Also, read VURT by Jeff Noon, while I am thinking about books. It will fortify you with the dopest VR street slang going.
Anway, it was another amazing week for those interested in Virtual Reality technology. In spite of some painfully tone deaf PR blunders (Zuck, c'mon) there were some truly great announcements: Vive announced new trackers for greatly expanded coverage areas for 6DoF, Oculus is updating their core interface, UI and storefront to 2.0 and their Dash tech looks awesome. At OC4 they also announced their new standalone, tetherless, all in one HMD the "Go" with an MSRP of $199 (2018) and that the Oculus Rift and Touch Controllers will now be fixed at $400 MSRP!, even as Samsung surprised everyone with the Odyssey standalone HMD to rival it.
Google went all in on Automatic Speech Recognition (remember when I talked about the coming wave of ASR), including making their own babelfish earbuds, The Void and Disney announced the new Star Wars-themed Hyperreality experience Secrets of the Empire, and HP started shipping its VR Backpack.
Even while Phase 2 of the new age of VR swept in, Nokia is ceasing further development of the Ozo camera hardware only weeks after Intel shelved its own standalone HMD project Alloy.
So you see, if you were looking in only one direction, you might think VR was in trouble, but if you look all the way around you, in 360 degrees (see what I am doing there) a fuller picture of iteration, evolution and innovation emerges.
I'm off to VR on the Lot! - Tell ya what I see in next week's newsletter.
Twitter | Instagram: @kmalickisanchez
Are you at Digital Hollywood Fall 2017?
Come say hi after my panel at 4pm Thurs 12th
*(64 never happened, like the 13th floor of a building)