Category Archives: Virtual Reality

‘Elite Dangerous: Beyond – Chapter Two’ to Arrive on All Supported Platforms This Month

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Elite Dangerous (2014), the open universe MMO space simulator from Frontier Games, is getting its next chapter soon which will include a new ship, a few new mechanics, and improvements to existent systems. Frontier today announced Beyond – Chapter Two will be launching for free to all Elite Dangerous players on all platforms on June 28th.

Update (06/01/18): Along with the new chip,(‘Alliance Challenger’), Frontier is also bringing a selection of new wing missions, installation interactions, new settlements to explore and, more ways to combat the Thargoids.

“This is the first of the two smaller installments coming as part of the Elite Dangerous Beyond series of updates, with a larger one coming in Q4 of this year, bringing Squadrons and improvements to Mining and Exploration, and much more,” the company says in a press release.

Check out the new updated trailer below:

Original article (02/20/18): Chapter One is the first update to Elite Dangerous’ third season, Beyond, following the Thargoids assault on humanity’s starports which took place in Horizonsthe game’s second season.

According to a Frontier forum post, the studio will be bringing four Beyond updates to Elite Dangerous which they say will focus on “adding new content, uncovering and progressing the mysteries of the galaxy and enhancing existing core gameplay experiences.”

Elite Dangerous supports HTC Vive and Oculus Rift on Steam, and for Rift on Oculus Home. As for traditional monitors, ED supports PS4, XBOX, and PC.

SEE ALSO

Space Sim ‘Elite Dangerous’ Gets Major Update With New Content and VR Fixes

Frontier says they’ll have a more detailed rundown on all of the changes coming in the 3.0 Update on their forum in the near future. Here’s the current list of features coming in Beyond – Chapter One:

  • New Ship: Chieftain – Elite Dangerous Horizons Commanders will also be able to take to the stars in the new Alliance Chieftain, designed not only to dish out punishment, but to avoid it. Manufactured by Lakon Spaceways, the Chieftain is more maneuverable than ships of similar size and weight, and its combat profile means it can more than hold its own in a fight.
  • Improved Core Mechanics – Chapter 1 of Beyond will bring improvements to some of Elite Dangerous’ core mechanics, including accessibility enhancements to the engineering mechanics, an overhaul of mission rewards and big changes to Crime and Punishment. We’ll be sharing more information on the changes to Crime and Punishment, and the Engineers in a future post here on the forums and in the livestreams mentioned above.
  • Wing Missions – Chapter 1 of Beyond will give you the chance to take on wing missions with your fellow Commanders, sharing both the efforts and rewards. 
  • Revised Trade Data – Commanders will now be able to access trade data from systems they have previously visited, in order to make more informed decisions when shipping goods across the Milky Way. 
  • Planetary Visual Improvements – Chapter 1 also includes the first of the planetary visual improvements coming as part of the Beyond series of updates (with more surface level improvements coming later in the year) bringing a new vibrancy to the Elite Dangerous galaxy. 
  • GalNet Audio – With the introduction of GalNet Audio, you will be able to catch up on the latest news from across the galaxy without ever leaving the action. 
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‘Elite Dangerous: Beyond – Chapter Two’ to Arrive on All Supported Platforms This Month

Please share this article:

Elite Dangerous (2014), the open universe MMO space simulator from Frontier Games, is getting its next chapter soon which will include a new ship, a few new mechanics, and improvements to existent systems. Frontier today announced Beyond – Chapter Two will be launching for free to all Elite Dangerous players on all platforms on June 28th.

Update (06/01/18): Along with the new chip,(‘Alliance Challenger’), Frontier is also bringing a selection of new wing missions, installation interactions, new settlements to explore and, more ways to combat the Thargoids.

“This is the first of the two smaller installments coming as part of the Elite Dangerous Beyond series of updates, with a larger one coming in Q4 of this year, bringing Squadrons and improvements to Mining and Exploration, and much more,” the company says in a press release.

Check out the new updated trailer below:

Original article (02/20/18): Chapter One is the first update to Elite Dangerous’ third season, Beyond, following the Thargoids assault on humanity’s starports which took place in Horizonsthe game’s second season.

According to a Frontier forum post, the studio will be bringing four Beyond updates to Elite Dangerous which they say will focus on “adding new content, uncovering and progressing the mysteries of the galaxy and enhancing existing core gameplay experiences.”

Elite Dangerous supports HTC Vive and Oculus Rift on Steam, and for Rift on Oculus Home. As for traditional monitors, ED supports PS4, XBOX, and PC.

SEE ALSO

Space Sim ‘Elite Dangerous’ Gets Major Update With New Content and VR Fixes

Frontier says they’ll have a more detailed rundown on all of the changes coming in the 3.0 Update on their forum in the near future. Here’s the current list of features coming in Beyond – Chapter One:

  • New Ship: Chieftain – Elite Dangerous Horizons Commanders will also be able to take to the stars in the new Alliance Chieftain, designed not only to dish out punishment, but to avoid it. Manufactured by Lakon Spaceways, the Chieftain is more maneuverable than ships of similar size and weight, and its combat profile means it can more than hold its own in a fight.
  • Improved Core Mechanics – Chapter 1 of Beyond will bring improvements to some of Elite Dangerous’ core mechanics, including accessibility enhancements to the engineering mechanics, an overhaul of mission rewards and big changes to Crime and Punishment. We’ll be sharing more information on the changes to Crime and Punishment, and the Engineers in a future post here on the forums and in the livestreams mentioned above.
  • Wing Missions – Chapter 1 of Beyond will give you the chance to take on wing missions with your fellow Commanders, sharing both the efforts and rewards. 
  • Revised Trade Data – Commanders will now be able to access trade data from systems they have previously visited, in order to make more informed decisions when shipping goods across the Milky Way. 
  • Planetary Visual Improvements – Chapter 1 also includes the first of the planetary visual improvements coming as part of the Beyond series of updates (with more surface level improvements coming later in the year) bringing a new vibrancy to the Elite Dangerous galaxy. 
  • GalNet Audio – With the introduction of GalNet Audio, you will be able to catch up on the latest news from across the galaxy without ever leaving the action. 
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Entertainment studios turn to virtual reality to entice movie fans

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In location VR, the world shifts to a first-person view of what your character sees. In your mind’s eye, you are no longer in a mall. You are, in effect, seeing yourself descending three floors into a mine. Raise your hands into view, and you see your character’s Marine-issued gloves. Look down at your legs, and you see a soldier’s combat boots.

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Hands-on: Sqaure Enix’s ‘Tales of Wedding Rings VR’ is a Revolutionary Blending of Manga & 3D Anime

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Sqaure Enix just released Tales of Wedding Rings VR, an experience for Rift that lets you engage with the popular Japanese Manga in a whole new way.

Expertly blending 3D rendered anime with traditional manga, Tales of Wedding Rings VR takes you through the story of Satou, a mild-mannered high school student, and Hime, a self-proclaimed princess from a world unlike our own.

Cast in the iconic monochrome tone familiar to manga fans, you’ll follow Satou as he traverses fully realized 3D environments and makes the difficult decision to give into his unrequited for Hime—all shot through what Square Enix calls a ‘LiveWindow’ which takes the standard static manga frame shots and pushes it to its logical extreme with its sweeping camera shots, closeups, and 360 environments that envelope the user so you experience the story in the first person.

To boot, since you have a frame as context during moving scenes, it’s an extremely comfortable way of watching the action unfold.

The entire story takes around 30 minutes to watch, and includes the original Japanese voice overs accompanied by speech bubbles, either in Japaneses or English. While I’m not really one for manga love stories, Tales of Wedding Rings VR is a truly a revolutionary way of experiencing a narrative from the third-person perspective. As an opening gambit, Tales of Wedding Rings VR is incredibly high quality as well, giving it the potential to spark an entire VR manga genre based on the experience’s innovative melding of written word and 3D action.

According to an Oculus blogpost, the Project Hikari team spent “years designing a signature sound for Tales, complete with original score and sound effects, all recorded on-location in Japan.” An ensemble cast of voice actors, motion capture, and immersive spatial audio truly bring the manga to life.

SEE ALSO

Pixar’s First VR Experience ‘Coco VR’ is Astounding, Raising the Bar on VR Movie Tie-ins

“After months of prototyping, it became clear to me that VR would evolve into a gateway to new worlds,” says Project Hikari Lead Kaei Sou. “I was convinced these new worlds could be filled with rich narratives that capture people’s imagination.

Sou continues: “As a fan [of the manga], I’m always excited to experience my favorite titles in a new way,” notes Sou. “It’s important to me such adaptations remain true to the source material. This was the number one goal of the project—to make sure we don’t disappoint fans of the original work.”

Tales of Wedding Rings VR is now available on Rift for $20, and while it may be a steep price for some, it’s a remarkable step forward in storytelling tech to say the least.

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Porn's Uncanny Valley

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“It’s a phantom-limb penis syndrome,” said a tall, British man who goes by the name Adam Sutra. Adam is the CEO of CamasutraVR, a company that makes, among other products, virtual-reality pornography. He was trying to explain to me what it’s like when you’re a man, you’re immersed in virtual reality, and you look down at yourself.

Adam works in a downtown Los Angeles loft that was arranged like any start-up with ambitious goals. High ceilings, concrete floors, and skateboards leaning against a wall upon which hung a poster for the indie rock band Pavement. Outside, there was the clamor of construction in a neighborhood busily gentrifying. Inside, the late-morning sunlight illuminated the room.

On the computer screen before us, a 3-D rendering of a naked man was stomping around a virtual apartment. “I’m now in the body of a black, male performer with a 12-inch penis,” Adam announced. The virtual apartment’s decor was banal: a white coffee table next to a sofa, a bowl of oranges on the kitchen counter, an Oriental rug on the floor. But in the main room, the real porn star Casey Calvert had been digitally scanned and recreated as a digital doppelgänger. She was dancing around a stripper pole, grinding to the ominous chords of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.”

For the new pornographers like Adam Sutra, technology can erase the material world. In virtual reality, there are no limits, not even when it comes to sex. “If you can meet in your virtual-reality space, anything’s possible,” Adam observed coolly as the man bore down upon the woman, her prerecorded moans filling the air.

Porn wasn’t always like this. It used to be real. Real people made real porn movies on real movie sets in the San Fernando Valley, earning the area the nickname “Porn Valley.” Now virtual reality is their competition. Start-up bros with computer-science degrees and blockchain fetishes are hoping they can sell virtual sex to the masses.

Whether or not people get turned on by VR pornography, the technology is changing the places where adult content has traditionally been created. Porn Valley is being displaced by porn’s uncanny valley—an X-rated version of the theory holding that a robotic or simulated entity that appears to be human, but not quite fully human, revolts us. Losing a connection to the material world—the skin and sweat of reality—may also lose what makes porn alluring.

* * *

The 1960s and ’70s were the Golden Age of Porn. Back then, adult movies were shot on film and the business of producing pornographic movies was decentralized, operating primarily out of New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. In the ’80s, adult-movie production was centralized in the San Fernando Valley, northwest of the Los Angeles Basin. Cheap rent and the proximity to the entertainment industry made for an ideal location. Porn Valley was born.

In 1998, I moved from the San Francisco Bay Area, where I was born and raised, to Los Angeles. I was a freelance journalist with an interest in the adult-movie industry. By then, the business had grown exponentially. The barrier to entry was lower due to the newly affordable video camera, the internet was delivering adult content directly into consumers’ homes for the first time in history, and a two-term liberal administration in the White House and an attorney general who had little interest in pursuing federal obscenity prosecutions had combined to create an “anything goes” atmosphere in the manufacturing of pornography. Business was booming.

Every so often, I headed over the Cahuenga Pass and descended into the Valley, where I watched as porn movies were shot in rented, ranch-style homes and on massive soundstages, as cowboy-boots-wearing adult-talent agents in wood-paneled offices hosted cattle calls in search of fresh-off-the-bus talent, as cavernous warehouses were stocked to the rafters with dirty movies.

When I moved back to Los Angeles last year, I rented an apartment in the Valley. I wanted to know what had become of the adult-movie business. As it turned out, Porn Valley had changed. Technology had transformed it. A perfect storm had slammed the industry. The Great Recession had hit it hard, a handful of federal obscenity prosecutions during the Bush administration had caused a chilling effect, and widespread digital-content pirating had oversaturated the market and devalued the product, decimating the competition and slashing profits by the double digits. Once upon a time, porn had led technology, adopting VHS over Betamax in the video-format wars of the late ’70s and ’80s. In the new millennium, technology was porn’s undoing.

Could technology transform porn once again?


With an Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset strapped to my head, I wandered through Adam Sutra’s virtual apartment. The man with the 12-inch penis was nowhere to be found. At the window, the nighttime skyline glittered on the other side of the glass. I looked down at my virtual hands, controlled by my haptic gloves, opening and closing them. In the kitchen, I picked up a red gun that I’d seen the man use. In the living room, I aimed the gun at Casey as she danced. Then I pulled the trigger. A shower of dollars bills rained down on her. I reached out and touched her breast; the flesh depressed. She looked real, but I couldn’t feel her. Moments later, the man reappeared, but when they had sex, I wasn’t able to shift my virtual perspective to his point of view, due to an unresolved bug in the programming’s software.

Adam and his team had spent a year building a virtual porn world “the size of Grand Theft Auto,” but the technology wasn’t perfect yet. No matter. Their population was growing. They were scanning more porn stars and shooting adult performers in motion-capture suits bouncing lustily on top of each other in an array of sexual positions. The results were impressive. Casey’s skin was eerily lifelike, porous and pliant. Their genitals were, well, sufficiently realistic. (“It’s easier to do a hard penis than a vagina,” Adam confided.) There was something disconcerting about the simulacrum of Casey, though, especially in her face, which was weirdly human and disturbingly not, more uncanny valley than Porn Valley.

CamasutraVR’s rendering of Casey Calvert’s skin (CamasutraVR)

The scenery changed, and the man moved aggressively through a dimly lit strip club with red velvet seating and a full bar. Casey reappeared, and the two had sex as I watched. Abruptly the man’s penis detached itself from its host. Seconds later, the disembodied phallus reappeared. It had transposed itself onto Casey’s stomach. The effect was disturbing. In the uncanny valley of virtual sex, bodies can break into pieces as quickly as desire can be transformed into revulsion.


On a recent Saturday morning, I took a drive around the city. I wanted to see how technology had altered the landscape of pornography in the real world. When I first became interested in Porn Valley years ago, I used to take photos of adult storefronts. In my mind, the stores inhabited the same interstitial space porn did in America’s collective unconscious. They were everywhere and nowhere, brick-and-mortar structures people walked past but pretended didn’t exist, their X-rated wares as ubiquitous as they were invisible.

At Hollywood Boulevard and Western Avenue, Le Sex Shoppe was gone—a Yelp reviewer had once claimed it was “the poet Charles Bukowski’s porn shop of choice back in the day.” It has been replaced by a Petco. At Western and Sunset Boulevard, the X-rated Pussycat Theater was no more. An apartment building and a Walgreens stand in its place. On Santa Monica Boulevard, near the 101 Freeway, the Tiki Theater was still standing. Years ago, I’d photographed it, but I’d never been inside. “It’s porn movies,” the man in the front booth emphasized when I paid my $14. “I know,” I replied. In the gloom of the tiny theater, four men were scattered around on random chairs. On the big screen, a cheery blonde was performing oral sex on a man who seemed to be appreciating the attention. On the TV set that had been erected next to the bigger screen, a different porn movie was playing. Neither one had sound. It was not quite 9 o’clock in the morning. In this hidden world, the porn was real—almost too real.

From there, I made my way into the Valley. Years earlier, I’d visited the talent agent Jim South at his World Modeling Talent Agency on Van Nuys Boulevard in Sherman Oaks, but an insurance company appeared to occupy the space. Down the block, I ducked into Romantix, an adult store, to see if virtual reality had hit the retail market. Amidst the DVDs and adult toys, I located a lone virtual-reality experience offering. On the box, a man with impressive abdominal muscles had donned virtual-reality goggles and inserted his penis into a black, plastic device that resembled an oversized hand weight. Behind the counter, the salesman I’d asked about the virtual-reality porn selection was attempting to predict if the future of pornography would work for him. “My one eye’s messed up, so my depth perception is off, so I don’t know if I can even do it,” he mused to his female coworker, who said nothing.


Today a new generation of hipper, shrewder, and more digitally minded pornographers is making money at making porn in the San Fernando Valley. They’ve learned discerning consumers are overwhelmed by the glut of low-quality and frequently pirated dreck on adult tube sites. People are willing to pay for high production values, compelling storylines, and whatever sates their fetishes.

Last November, I visited one such porn set. The shooting location was a house that was on the market for a few million dollars, and the plotline concerned itself with two women who were supposed to work together but ended up having sex instead. To film the sex scene, the crew crammed into a small guest bedroom. Someone had blocked the window so the neighbors wouldn’t know a porn movie was being made on a suburban street with a spectacular view of the sprawling valley floor. I watched from the bathroom; there was nowhere else to stand. The cameras recorded. The director directed. The nude girls writhed on the bed, intertwining and unwinding. There was nothing virtual about it: not the floral bedspread, not the faint scent of their feminine exertions, not the point at which the blonde lay on her back during a break in the action and hugged her legs into herself. It was endearing in its realness.

Susannah Breslin

Porn Valley is real, but you’ll never find it on a map. It has its own population, laws, and language. Reviled by outsiders and misunderstood by most, it depends upon the fickle fantasies of those who consume it and staves off attacks by those who believe it a social menace. It has thrived during economic booms and survived economic downturns. But due to our own conflicted relationship to sex and pornography, people pretend as if this very real place doesn’t exist.

For me, its streets are a maze of memories. There’s the soundstage where a famous male porn star, full of confidence and bravado, informed me: “If I was a billionaire, I would still do porn.” There’s the warehouse in which I spotted a giant vagina costume lurking in the shadows. There’s the building in which, not long ago, I witnessed a cherubic porn star burst into tears during an audition because she had forgotten the single line of dialogue she was supposed to memorize. It’s a place where you can lose yourself. For a while I did. Sometimes I still do.


I always intended to write a book about Porn Valley, but it never really happened. I guess you could say my life got in the way. At one point, I put together a book proposal about the adult-movie business, but no editor in the New York publishing industry wanted to buy it. Why would anyone want to read a book about the porn industry, one editor wondered, when you could watch porn on the internet for free?

Today the adult-production-company studio system that spawned crossover stars like Jenna Jameson have ceded ground to surveillance-filled houses stocked with cam-girl performers and amateur starlets who charge online customers for bespoke experiences and accept cryptocurrency. A few years ago, a law requiring the use of condoms on adult movies shot in Los Angeles County passed, sending the adult industry back to the place from whence it had come: the underground.

Everyone wants to feel something,” Adam Sutra told me of his experiments in virtual pornography. He’s right about that. Porn isn’t about sex at all, I’ve learned. It’s about wanting to feel something. And until technology figures out how to make me feel the way that I do when I’m on a porn set, I’ll leave virtual-reality sex to the start-up boys.

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GJ tech companies map Mars desert research station for virtual reality

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)– It’s a project that could be considered … out of this world.

“Using our technology to advance our knowledge about something like Mars that is a mystery to a lot of people is a great opportunity,” said Owner of AeroScout LLC, Benjamin Skogen.

A team of technology professionals is re-creating the Mars landscape with the Mars Desert Research Station in Hanksville, Utah.

“The end result is we will have a virtual reality simulation of that spot in Utah,” said Studio Director for SynaptixGames, Robert Madsen.

That’s because scientists say the two landscapes look a lot alike.

“My role for the Mars project is to fly a drone and map the area around the Mars Desert Research station,” Skogen said.

“I take those photographs, and through a process called photogrammetry, I generate a 3D model of the terrain,” said Owner of Georanger, Carey Wheeler.

They hope to build something as realistic as possible.

“I would like to produce a really high-resolution image. So a really high-resolution model, a 3D model,” Wheeler said.

“I’d like to have the highest possible imagery resolution in there, that depicts an accurate representation from the ground level of what it could look like,” Skogen said.

Its virtual reality, blurring with actual reality.

“You could imagine now, virtual missions where people don’t actually have to travel to Utah, they can be anywhere in the world,” Madsen said.

The goal is to put anyone on the red planet.

“We feel like we can use it for educational purposes, and have a forward-looking view of someday, a life on Mars,” Skogen said.

For more information on aerial imaging for this project visit https://www.aeroscout.io/.

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Big on Virtual Reality? Here's the Real Trouble with Finding VR Stocks to Buy

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Augmented reality and virtual reality are interesting trends for investors in that they’re somewhat difficult to play. Finding VR stocks isn’t an easy thing.

For instance, Sony Corp (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) would seem to be a popular pick. Indeed, Bret Kenwell highlighted SNE as a buy based on virtual reality in January. But while I understand Kenwell’s point, there’s a big problem even beyond the fact that sales of Sony’s PlayStation VR have disappointed by the company’s own admission.

Sony is a massive conglomerate, the PlayStation only is a small contributor to profits. Even assuming long-term success in VR and/or AR for the PlayStation, investors still are taking on the hardware division and a Japanese insurer, among other businesses, while also dealing with currency risk.

There simply aren’t many, if any, pure-play VR stocks. And combined with the fact that market adoption seems likely to be much slower than many realize, investors hoping for some sort of windfall from augmented reality and virtual reality are likely to be disappointed.

The Adoption Problem

As cool as virtual reality is, the fact is that consumers haven’t exactly lined up to jump in, as seen in the performance of Sony’s PSVR. High-end gaming continues to be torrid, driving Nvidia Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) shares to near an all-time high. But that trend, along with eGaming, continues to be mostly confined to standard ‘2D’ gaming.

Even key executives in the industry gaming have been skeptical. Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc (NASDAQ:TTWO) CEO Strauss Zelnick said on a conference call last year that he remained skeptical towards virtual reality. Citing the success of Nintendo Ltd/ADR (OTCMKTS:NTDOY) product Pokemon Go, Zelnick argued that AR had much more in the way of near-term appeal.

A week earlier, Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA) head Andrew Wilson said about the same thing, saying it would take years for mass market VR acceptance. And while companies like Samsung, Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB), and Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL,GOOG) all have released products for the space, all have been little more than curiosities and/or pilot projects.

There likely will be a niche for VR long-term. But as is so often the case with new technologies, predictions of market adoption seem overly optimistic at the moment. And that’s not even the biggest problem with playing the VR trend.

Finding VR Stocks

Even assuming virtual reality does gain real traction, finding a way to invest in it in the public markets is no easy task. Facebook and Alphabet are worth $540 billion and $740 billion, respectively. Even assuming a substantial win in VR (or AR), there’s little chance of the opportunity making a notable dent in those companies’ valuations.

Sony is out. In the past, I’ve recommended both Electronic Arts and Take-Two as video gaming stocks to buy, but the case for those stocks and rival Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI) is based on digital downloads and in-game content, particularly with their own CEOs suggesting caution on VR.

Any adoption of virtual reality would, to at least some degree, reduce sales of legacy versions of their games.

On the chip side, Nvidia has an opportunity  but it’s worth over $100 billion, and data center and automotive look like the big themes there. Qualcomm, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) has potential. It released a new VR platform this week. But I’m still skeptical about that company’s prospects elsewhere, particularly amid its battle with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).

Elsewhere, the prospects look rather grim. Ambarella Inc (NASDAQ:AMBA) and Synaptics, Incorporated (NASDAQ:SYNA) could be VR plays at some point. But both businesses are facing significant challenges with their legacy products, and both stocks look cheap for good reason. Small-cap Vuzix Corp (NASDAQ:VUZI) hasn’t lived up to its potential yet.

There simply isn’t an attractive VR pure play out there. And if the biggest companies wind up winning in VR, in particular, it’s unlikely to make a huge dent in their valuations or to be a significant pillar of the bull cases for their stocks.

Stay Cautious

As a general rule, I’m somewhat wary of chasing tech trends to begin with. The dot-com bubble, after all, didn’t pop because the internet disappointed. It popped because investors expected too much, too fast, and they paid too much based on those hopes.

For virtual reality, it’s a bit of a different situation. There isn’t nearly as much hype, and there also isn’t as much opportunity. Big winners from virtual reality and augmented reality may be out there. The problem for most of us is that those companies are still private. Until that changes, VR really can’t be a major factor for investors in the public markets.

As of this writing, Vince Martin has no positions in any securities mentioned.

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NASA news: Explore exoplanets in virtual reality with NASA's Exoplanet Travel Bureau

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The out-of-this-world trip “outside our solar system” is presented by ’s new virtual Exoplanet Travel Bureau.

The Exoplanet Travel Bureau is an interactive and explorable 360 degree visualisation tool of Kepler’s exoplanet discoveries.

Hopeful astronauts can now pay a visit to Trappist-1e, Kepler-16b, Kepler-186f, PSO J318.5-22, “Super Earth” HD 40307g and 51 Pegasi b without any need for NASA’s spacecrafts.

The alien landscapes are viewable on desktops and mobile devices and those feeling a little more adventurous can view them on smartphone-compatible virtual reality headsets.

NASA said in a statement: “Are you looking for an exotic destination to visit this summer?

“Why not take a virtual trip to an Earth-size planet beyond our solar system with NASA’s interactive Exoplanet Travel Bureau?

“We live in a universe teeming with exoplanets, or planets outside our solar system. Unfortunately, even the nearest exoplanets are light-years away, so sending spacecraft and humans to these intriguing worlds remains a distant dream.

“But on NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration website, you can explore an imagined surface of an world via 360-degree, interactive visualisations.

“As you investigate each planet’s surface, you’ll discover fascinating features, like the blood-red sky of TRAPPIST-1d, or stand on a hypothetical moon of the massive planet Kepler-16b, which appears larger than either of the planet’s two suns.”

But exploring each exoplanet comes with a caveat – the virtual landscapes are 3D renders of what NASA’s artists think the planet surfaces look like.

NASA said: “You are viewing an artists’s impression of what an exoplanet might look like, based on limited data.

“No actual images of this planet exist.”

Exoplanets are distant worlds orbiting foreign stars in the far reaches of the cosmos.

NASA’s Kepler telescope, which launched in 2009, has to date found evidence of more than 3,700 exoplanets across the galaxy.

Astronomers hope many of these .

You can now visit a handful of these planets to get an idea of what these alien worlds might look like.

Alongside the 3D landscapes, visitors can download NASA’s gorgeous mock travel posters for each of the available exoplanets.

NASA said: “For even more information and visualisations of these alien worlds, check out NASA’s Eyes on Exoplanets mobile app.

“The Exoplanet Travel Bureau was developed by NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration Program communications team and program chief scientists.

“Based at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, which is a division of Caltech, the program is NASA’s search for habitable planets and life beyond our solar system.

“The program develops technology and mission concepts, maintains exoplanet data archives and conducts ground-based exoplanet science for NASA missions.”

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Popular Mobile Shooter ‘Zombie Gunship’ Now Available on Oculus Go & Gear VR

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Limbic Software’s popular Zombie Gunship franchise is finally making its way from Android to VR in Zombie Gunship Raptor (2018), a first-person, helicopter-based zombie shooter for Oculus Go and Gear VR.

As the gunner of a heavily-armed gunship helicopter, you’re tasked with defending your base from an oncoming onslaught of zombies from all directions. Featuring active node sites where you can zip over to shoot, you’ll need plenty of gear, vehicles, and firepower to fend the waves of mindless brain-eaters.

You’ll have a powerful main machine gun, rockets for taking out groups of zombies, and large area of effect missiles for taking out the robust Titan zombies. You can take down the hordes using night vision, thermal vision, and IR camera vision.

Zombie Gunship Raptor also features an upgrade system “to ensure players can take their own path to increase their arsenal,” the studio says in a recent Oculus blogpost.

Besides the campaign mode, the game also boats a Survival mode which pits you against a never-ending swarm of zombies.

Check out Zombie Gunship Raptor, which is selling for $4, on Oculus Go and Gear VR.

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