Pimax, the company aiming to deliver three flavors of its high field of view (FOV) headset via their Kickstarter, have recently blasted past the $2 million funding mark. With only a week left in the crowdfunding campaign and now more than $2.45 million to their name, the company has reached arguably a more important milestone: they’ve surpassed the original Oculus Rift Kickstarter, becoming the top funded VR headset campaign in existence.
Successful kickstarter projects may be a rarity. But it would seem that the Pimax 8K VR headset is one project that is bucking the trend could offer real competition and innovation to boot.
The old adage “underpromise and overdeliver” doesn’t often apply to the tech industry, where impressive-sounding specs often outshine actual performance in headlines and companies raise millions in Kickstarter campaigns that don’t come to fruition.
But, every once in a while, an absurd sounding promise from an unknown manufacturer actually seems to pan out. Enter the Pimax 8K VR headset.
The new Pimax 8K headset makes a lot of promises. Among them, the headset promises to eliminate the screen door effect of existing headsets while nearly doubling the user’s field of view and reducing motion sickness.
On September 19, Pimax launched a Kickstarter campaign with a goal of $200,000, which it was able to reach within the campaign’s first few hours. At the time of this post, the campaign had raised more than $1.7 million from around 2,700 backers.
Although that’s certainly impressive, what’s more impressive is that, since CES 2017, Pimax has been showing off and shipping out its 8K headset to reviewers and what we’re hearing back is overwhelmingly positive: the Pimax 8K HMD truly feels like a next-gen headset.
Pimax, the China-based VR headset manufacturer known for their 4K headset, have recently hit Kickstarter with their newest devices, the Pimax 8K and 5K VR headsets. Surpassing their initial goal of $200,000 within the first few hours, Pimax went on to gather a staggering $1 million in funding after only 5 days on the crowdfunding platform.
Despite the namesake, Pimax headsets aren’t actually 8K or 5K resolution, as they respectively feature dual 3840×2160 LCD panels and dual 2560×1440 OLED panels. These display resolutions are however higher than your standard Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, which is where some of the fanfare is coming from.
Arguably the biggest attraction is the headsets’ 200 degree field of view (FOV), which proved to be both impressive and helpful for peripheral awareness in our hands-on with an early prototype.
While virtual reality is not quite taking over the living room just yet, the experience is quickly finding its place in arcades and theme parks. With this in mind, Sensics is finally releasing its VR headset for public venues. The design of these goggles reportedly brings a more hygienic and comfortable experience while also sporting a higher resolution than consumer headsets.
Sensics, co-founder of Razer’s Open Source Virtual Reality, had certain features in mind in order to differentiate their public headsets from the consumer-grade HDK 2. First and foremost is hygiene. In a public setting, headsets come into contact with a lot of different faces. Not only does Sensics include a machine-washable, hypoallergenic face mask, it also is designed to physically separate from the display. This allows attendees to strap in and get comfortable before clipping into the display portion. This cuts down on time spent cleaning the headset between uses since the display attaches to each individual strap. Then, as the attendee enjoys the virtual world, the used straps can be properly sanitized. No longer will users have to don a wet headset after a particularly sweaty round.
PlayStation VR may be the least expensive way to enter the world of virtual reality, but it still isn’t cheap. Previously, the headset sold for $400 in addition to the mandatory PlayStation Camera for an additional $60, but that changes this week with the newest PlayStation VR bundle.
Starting on September 1, the PlayStation VR’s standard bundle will come with a PlayStation Camera for $400, effectively giving customers a $60 discount. Sony says that this will be the “core” PlayStation VR bundle moving forward, so if you already own the camera but haven’t picked up the headset yet, you might want to act quickly.
In addition to the $400 option, those looking to also pick up a game with PlayStation VR can check out the $450 PlayStation VR Worlds bundle — previously called the “launch bundle” at most retailers. The package contains everything from the standard bundle and adds two PlayStation Move controllers and the PlayStation VR Worlds game. Coming with several different mini-games, including The London Heist, Danger Ball, and the enthralling Ocean Descent, it’s a great way to get introduced to VR technology, though not all of the games are created equal. VR Luge is a pretty mediocre racing game, and Scavengers Odyssey is all but guaranteed to make you queasy.
Virtual reality has been a long time coming, but now it is easier than ever to get an immersive experience and take your first VR steps at home.
There are a host of headsets available, from powerful, high-end ones like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift to mobile experiences like the Samsung Gear VR, the new Google Daydream View, or the do-it-yourself Google Cardboard.
But which one should you choose? There’s a lot of variety in the technology, from the headsets you can buy, to the apps you can play and the platforms that support them. Some simply need a smartphone to plug in, others use video games consoles or PC software to play.
Spacial Connect workflow allows for 3D audio to be controlled from within a VR environment.
The Spacial Connect workflow allows users to export data as object-based audio directly to the Unity engine for both Vr or 360-degree video production. Dear Reality are accepting applications for users to join the Beta testing. Further information can be found on the Dear Reality website.
Spacial Connect works with almost any Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) connected to a HTC Vive or Oculus Rift to allow any sound designer, audio engineer or musician to create 3D audio content for VR.
Microsoft will need the support of the greater VR development community if its new Windows 10 Mixed Reality VR headsets are to succeed when they launch later this year, but what about potential first-party content too? That’s in the works already, the company assures.
Speaking to GameSpot, Microsoft general manager Dave McCarthy stated that “several” of the company’s first-party studios are working on content for the headsets, which are made in partnership with companies like Acer, Dell, and Asus.
“I would say developers are still finding their way to define the killer experience there, which is great at this point in its evolution overall,” McCarthy said. “We believe in it enough that we have several of our first-party studios actually working on content for our Windows 10 devices. We’ll have more to talk about later this year on that.”
One of the biggest limitations of current virtual reality technology — whether you’re talking about Samsung’s mobile Gear VR or a full home system like the Oculus Rift — is resolution. And progress toward solving this problem is slow, because companies making VR headsets are at the mercy of advances in display technology.
A new company led by former Nokia and Microsoft product managers aims to slash that wait by using a clever crossing of existing hardware and carefully executed software. Today, they’re opening up for the first time about the company they’re building, called Varjo.
Urho Konttori, the CEO and co-founder of Varjo, used to work on flagship products like the Nokia N9, and Microsoft’s Lumia phones. Varjo’s imaging lead used to worked on camera technology for both Nokia and Intel. Another co-founder was once Nokia’s head of imaging. So it’s no surprise the first goal for Varjo is to make a physical product: a high-end headset capable of both virtual and augmented reality.
That might not sound unique when Facebook, Samsung, Google, and other giant technology companies are already working on VR and / or AR headsets. What will set Varjo’s version apart is how it will enable what the company is referring to as “human eye resolution” — what they say is some 70 times the clarity of current VR headsets.
Earlier this year Samsung revealed it is leading the pack with more than 5 million Gear VRs sold, crushing the nearly 1 million Sony PS VR headsets sold to date.
Many of those headsets likely made it into people’s hands because of promotions offering the Gear VR free with the Samsung Galaxy S7 last year. This is your friendly reminder that Samsung has renewed the promotion, offering both the new Gear VR and its controller free with the purchase of the new Galaxy S8. That’s a $130 VR headset and controller for free with the purchase of a new phone.
What’s more, Samsung today indicated pre-orders for the Galaxy S8 and S8+ are outpacing the numbers for the S7 — suggesting this promotion is likely to have an enormous effect on the install base for the budding VR industry.