Right, then, put down your VR headset for a few minutes, because it’s time for Field of view – the place where we round up the latest news in the world of VR and AR.
It’s been a busy week in the space, as ever, highlighted by Magic Leap’s announcement that the developer edition of its One headset will be launching this summer ahead of a full release before the end of 2018. Elsewhere, we compiled the best documentaries you can watch in VR and refreshed our list of the best Google Cardboard apps.
For everything else going on in other realities, though, read on below.
Hot VR headset deals
Wareable may get a commission
Read this: News hits
Mario Kart VR is expanding through Vive experience
Remember when you were younger and your siblings used to beat you mercilessly on Super Mario Kart, then later on Mario Kart 64? It instilled a a competitive edge inside you that still lives to this day, didn’t it? You haven’t put down a Nintendo controller since, have you? No, of course not – you’ve been in training. But for what? Well, this moment right here, that’s what.
Mario Kart VR, the most immersive and advanced version of the racer playable on planet earth, and initially only playable in Ninty’s native Japan, is now expanding. That’s right, vengeance-seeker, starting at the London O2 Hollywood Bowl before expanding to two more UK locations later this summer, Mario Kart VR is coming home.
Read this: The best Vive VR games you can play
Running from HTC’s Vive platform, the company has announced a partnership with Bandai Namco that will allow up to four players at once will be able to race alongside each other in an arcade-style experience. Feedback allows users to reach and grab items using the Vive Tracker and then hurl them at opponents, while haptics installed within the experience also mean you’ll be able to feel every crunching contact from a shell and banana skin spin just that little bit more.
Of course, while this is all well and good for those in the UK looking to play the kart racer in virtual reality, we don’t yet have any word on further expansion. Now that we know the franchise is open to other lands, though, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see it land in more European cities and the US before long. Until then, continue your training.
Facebook brings AR to the news feed
At this point, your Facebook news feed has become one big scroll-a-thon through marginally funny videos of things people’s pets are doing, World Cup memes and, well, adverts. And the social network giant is trying to spice up the latter through augmented reality, it has announced.
The new feature, which will initially be limited to users in the US, lets you virtually try on items such as fashion accessories, cosmetics, furniture and more. The goal, obviously, is to let you better visualise a product on your face and how it looks in the natural environment around you before you make a purchase.
It’s not the most thrilling use of AR we’ve ever seen, granted, but it does show us that the company is continuing to emphasise the technology in its most popular area. And that, in itself, shows us that more may be on the horizon.
HTC Vive shortage set to end
If you’ve been looking to pick up the original HTC Vive headset in the US over the past couple of weeks, or maybe scoping out your options ahead of Amazon Prime Day, you may have clocked that the company’s devices are out of stock.
Well, as a spokesperson for the company told Road To VR this week, an inventory shortage of a key component led to the issue, though normal stock should be resumed within the coming weeks.
“We are committed to the original Vive and expect to return to normal inventory levels in a few weeks. We ran into a supply constraint on a key component, which should abate shortly. The Vive continues to perform well in the market and we believe represents the best consumer VR headset in the market,” said the spokesperson.
VR takes on the Emmy Awards
It’s almost time for the 70th Emmy Awards, and a number of VR projects were nominated for gongs this week.
In this year’s Outstanding Original Interactive Program category, Los Angeles-based studio Magnopus is up for its work on Blade Runner 2049: Memory Lab and Coco. The latter, which represented Pixar’s first VR project, is an experience available for both Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR users, letting them take a multiplayer journey to the world of the afterlife depicted in the movie.
Meanwhile, Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality is in line to take home an award for Outstanding Creative Achievement In Interactive Media, though it faces competition from TV shows Westworld, Mr. Robot, Silicon Valley and 13 Reasons Why.
Watch this: Lone Echo with Knuckles
A few weeks ago, we got an update from Valve regarding the rollout of its long-awaited Knuckles to developers, and now we have a video from VR dev Brian Lindenhof paying through Lone Echo using the controllers.
Naturally, it’s difficult to pick up exactly how easy to use and how well the controllers perform, in comparison to the current out-the-box options, but the initial signs are encouraging – particularly given the fact that the game doesn’t natively support Knuckles EV2 yet.
And, again, we don’t yet know for sure when the controllers will make the graduation to regular consumers, or how much they’ll cost, but stay tuned for more developments like this over the coming months.
Try this: Take a tour of the High Line
When you visit New York, it’s easy to focus on the classic attractions – Central Park, the Empire State Building and the place where they shot Friends. But unless you’ve visited more recently, in the past decade or so, you may not have had the chance to walk through the High Line.
Thanks to the 360-degree video from The Washington Post, though, you’re able to spin around the 1.45-mile strip of urban redevelopment and get walked through some of its key attractions. Perfect for when you need to escape from the buzz of Manhattan’s West Side.