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written by Ian Hamilton (@hmltn) issue 86 — September 21, 2016

2016’s Best VR Apps Are Making Money

The Proto Awards announced their latest “honorees” for 2016, with a gala planned for October 8. Tilt Brush by Google, Raw Data by Survios, Space Pirate Trainer by I-Illusions, Bullet Train by Epic Games, Modbox by Alientrap, and The Lab by Valve were selected in the “Best Overall” category.

Raw Data, and The Gallery from Cloudhead Games, generated more than $1 million in sales from each of their games, priced $40 and $30 respectively. In addition, Space Pirate Trainer, at $15 and built by a team of three, expects to clear $1 million in sales this year.

Platform Launches Soon

The next couple of weeks are expected to transform the VR marketplace, with a Google press event scheduled for October 4 likely to debut a Daydream reference design. This is followed by Oculus Connect 3 from October 5–7 and Valve Software’s Steam Dev Days, a developer-only event on October 12 and 13. In addition, the Virtual Reality Developers Conference is coming up on November 2 and 3.

Bits:

Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey tried out a terrifying experience in Japan, and his 16-second reaction video is worth a couple views.

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Oculus added the “Guardian” system in the 1.8 release of its PC runtime and SDK, providing room-scale boundaries similar to Valve’s “Chaperone” system, ahead of the release of the Oculus Touch controllers.

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Thalmic Labs, creator of the Myo armband sensor, raised $120 million. Road to VR explained how the company’s technology could be used for detailed gesture tracking.

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Augmented reality startup CastAR hired former Disney Infinity devs to build mixed reality applications from a new office in Utah.

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An app called Primitive lets programmers examine the structure of code in VR.

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An interview with Sega’s European boss Jurgen Post suggested an announcement could be coming soon as “VR has caught the whole company’s attention.”

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Spatial audio for 360° video is now supported on Facebook for Android and Gear VR, with iOS and Google Chrome support coming soon. The new feature is enabled by the Facebook Spatial Workstation and will be generally available for content creators in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, select partners have been invited to provide preview content for people to demo the new technology. One of those partners is Studio Transcendent,publishers of VR Digest. We just released a version of our experience Rapid Fire: a brief history of flight on Facebook, using the new audio format.

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VR Digest™ is a Virtual Reality Newsletter brought to you by Studio Transcendent, a producer of premium Virtual Reality experiences. We publish weekly on Wednesdays.

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