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Let's get straight to it!
Last week The Information published an exclusive, very unflattering report on Magic Leap's technology after seeing a product demo there. They claimed it was nothing like what's been promised and that Microsoft's Hololens is much further along.
The company has also had trouble miniaturizing its AR technology from a bulky helmet-sized device into a pair of everyday glasses, as Abovitz has repeatedly claimed the finished product will accomplish.
Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz took to Twitter to defend the technology, claiming that The Information only had access to an earlier prototype. He also announced on the Magic Leap website that the promised small, sleek device is currently in supply chain testing.
Either way it looks like we'll finally be getting a glimpse at the first product from the world's most secretive startup in 2017.
Why YouTube’s biggest stars keep quitting
Hot on the heels of PewDiePie's prank last week, The Verge have published an interesting piece on the struggle that YouTubers face trying to get to 'the top', and stay there. Once there, they face creative burnout from the daily grind and expectations around vlogging, and it can be tough to break away from that audience in order to pursue other creative outlets. Quitting YouTube thus is like taking a much needed vacation, or a clickbait boost to views in order to get some breathing room.
“By its nature, daily vlogging is not a scaleable business model, and once a creator has developed an engaged audience, there are much more valuable opportunities for the creators to pursue.” - Jonathan Katz, an entertainment attorney who represents a lot of YouTube talent
"They’re in denial": Confessions of a digital chief at a legacy publisher
Digiday's Confessions series is always interesting, and the interviewee in this latest entry does a great job illuminating the internal struggle going on within legacy publishers. Publishers face the challenge of running two different businesses at the same time. They have to slow the decline of the legacy media side while rapidly scaling the growth of the digital side.
From this interview it's clear that it's an ongoing uphill struggle to convince publishers that digital is a whole new playing field that requires investment in growth now for profitability later, just like any new business.
"The most senior people in these companies are always the legacy people as they’ve been there the longest. There’s not a single digital person in most of the chief executive roles in legacy media companies here. That’s a real problem, because the operating models of legacy and digital are so different."
Future of TV
Apple releases TV app for iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV
The new Apple TV app is a unified interface that lets users access content from different apps. However, Netflix and others haven't agreed to their content showing in the new Apple TV app. As a result, Apple is receiving a lukewarm response.
Apple’s recently launched single sign-on feature doesn’t work with all services or providers either, so there are still a lot of kinks to be worked out before the TV app feels completely seamless.
It will be interesting to see how or if Apple can resolve these issues for users.
Introducing Live 360 on Facebook
This week Facebook launched live 360 video with the help of National Geographic and the Mars Desert Research Station facility in Utah, and shared their approach to its design.
While the potential for live 360 to add to the viewing experience of sports and concerts is incredible, we think that the enjoyment factor of viewing long form content in 360 within Facebook is still a long way off.
New Snapchat Groups feature lets 16 friends chat at once
Snapchat are rolling out a new Group feature that lets up to 16 friends chat with each other at once. It places particular pressure on Meerkat's Houseparty app, given feature similarity.
With Houseparty up to 8 users can chat at the same time. Chats are then organised by room, users can move between rooms, to join different chats. Meerkat launched in February 2015 to a great deal of excitement but was quickly overtaken by Twitter's Periscope and Facebook Live. Currently, Houseparty has over a million daily active users and is the #2 app on Apple's free social networking chart, right between Facebook Messenger and Facebook itself. It will be interesting to see if Snapchat's new feature affects Houseparty's current success.
Now with Netflix, HBO, and NextVR, Daydream rises to top VR platform for video
VR platforms are only as good as the apps serve them; this we know. The lack of quality apps on some platforms is glaring, but Google’s Daydream Android VR platform, currently the only place where you’ll find the official YouTube VR app, has just scored another big win for users of Daydream: Netflix VR.
The app doesn’t yet serve up VR content, but offers up the whole of Netflix’s ‘flat’ video library. And if that wasn’t enough, HBO NOW VR (and HBO GO VR) is now exclusively on Daydream. While both HBO and Netflix are only offering flat content for the time being, the door is clearly open for native VR video content from both HBO and Netflix.
We find the differences in the VR environments between Netflix and HBO quite interesting! Netflix have opted for a snug living room, while HBO opted for a private screening room.
Facebook's Oculus VR unit needs a new leader
Brendan Iribe, co-founder and current CEO of Facebook's Oculus VR business, is stepping down.
Iribe will remain at Oculus and lead a new computer division within the Facebook-owned company that's dedicated to building high-end VR for PCs, he said in a blog post on Tuesday. A new mobile VR group will be led by Jon Thomason, who recently joined from Amazon.
Iribe helped create Oculus as a Kickstarter project with Palmer Luckey in 2012 and was brought on as CEO when Facebook acquired the startup for $2 billion in 2014.
The decision to split Oculus into two units—one focused on PCs and one on mobile—is interesting; currently, Oculus’s only VR headset, the Rift, requires a powerful PC to operate. Although Oculus has a partnership with Samsung to provide software to run the mobile-phone powered Samsung Gear VR headset, Facebook has made the Rift the centrepiece of the its venture into VR.
- 21st Century Fox reaches $14.2 billion preliminary deal to buy all of Sky
- Facebook to start paying for original shows
- Apple is in talks with Hollywood for early access to movies on iTunes
- Twitter enables live broadcasting
- 'Perfect' wants to be the VR app you show your Grandma this holiday
- Oculus releases developer preview of Carmel WebVR
- Hideo Kojima thinks devs are doing VR wrong, but won’t say how to do it right
- A rapid prototyping tool for creating VR worlds
'I Expect You to Die' is the most fun I’ve ever had in VR
This review from Wired indicates that I Expect You to Die is the VR game the Rerun team has been waiting for.
I Expect You to Die puts you in the role of a secret agent attempting to thwart the latest evil plot of a cartoon villain, but who instead ends up in a potentially deadly situation that must be escaped with brainpower alone.
And you also have telekinetic powers.
At Rerun, we're huge fans of Escape Room games in real life, so this game is top of our list to play in 2017.
"At one point, I had to put out a fire, and wouldn’t you know it, I kept dying of third-degree burns because I was so wrapped up in the simulation I forgot there was a fire extinguisher just over my shoulder."