By Tom Ffiske // 26 March 2020
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The newsletter is one day later than usual as I moved back to Bristol for now.
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THE BIG STORY: Half Life: Alyx
Half Life: Alyx released this week. After years of waiting for a sequel, Valve developed a full-fledged VR game to tell a prequel to their flagship series. The game also contributed to a shortage of various headsets in the market (though it wasn’t the only reason). And the result? 9s and 10s across the board, all saying that it’s a solid VR experience that tells a good story in the Half Life universe.
The next question is whether it’ll push VR into further use. I would argue yes, but for a small segment of the gamer market. Half Life is a legendary series, one where its golden status lasted over a decade. The series remained in the collective memory of gamers for a long time. For the already-established audience, it may sway them to purchase a VR headset, and perhaps buy more games. But that won’t be all gamers, who would be happy to watch a playthrough on YouTube or Twitch for the story, and not cash out for the expensive PC or VR headset. There will be a marked uptick in the VR userbase, but it won’t be extensive.
Having said that, Valve has a tendency of launching bleeding-edge games which then lead to entire markets shifting, showing them to be ahead of the curve. Will it happen again? Perhaps. But the full ramifications won’t be felt in a week’s time, or a month’s time.
- Paschal Mc Guire is now AR Engineer at Infogain, under contract for Facebook. The details are not public.
- Helen Bellringer became Creative Director at Solarflare Studio. Solarflare is a creative technology studio that creates innovative experiences.
If your company has a significant move, send me an email and I will add it to the next edition.
A MESSAGE FROM OUR SPONSORS
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VIRTUAL PERCEPTIONS STORY:
IMMERSIVE MARKETING IN SELF-ISOLATION
The trend of keeping to ourselves goes beyond the pandemic. People have been isolating themselves for years, as the internet makes it easier to enjoy social activities from their home. Online video games let people socialise and play together from their sofa, not the arcade. Some friends prefer to video-chat and talk about their day, rather than meet in the local shopping centre. Want to watch a movie? Head to someone else’s home and switch on a live-streaming service, not go to the expensive cinema down the road. We’ve been self-isolating for years; taking our choice to go outside solidifies the point.
Ultimately, it feels like mobile is the future for immersive marketing for isolation. When people are stuck at home with their phones as entertainment, AR is a deliverable way of guiding purchasing decisions. The content is more easily accessible than via a VR headset, outside of a closed system. Experiences can be shared via a web link, no matter what applications are installed. And there is a deliverable purpose, linked directly to the goals of the company with the data to prove it.
As we stay at home, we tend to browse our phones idly. With AR, brands can connect more intimately with their customers. A big opportunity lies ahead for anyone who serves them with great immersive content.Click here to read more.
- Ohio University just released this resource guide titled How Augmented and Virtual Reality Can Boost Productivity in Construction. The guide was created for the construction industry, civil engineers, and students who are looking to share information on how to use AR and VR technology to resolve construction productivity and project management problems.
- Andromeda Entertainment announced SoundSelf: A Technodelic. Launching on April 22 for Mac, PC, and Oculus Rift, SoundSelf is a hypnotic world of sound and visuals that seem to emerge directly from your body, as you descend deep into a trance-like state.
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Recently, I was interviewed by Virtual Umbrella talking about my work at Virtual Perceptions. I cover my work process, how I started my book, and how I got into this industry to begin with.
If you are curious, please take a look – and consider supporting the company if you want any sort of immersive consultancy.
Editor, Virtual Perceptions