Welcome to your latest instalment of Field of view, our weekly roundup of all the big news coming out of the VR and AR space.
This week, we’ve got big stories in the augmented realms from YouTube, Magic Leap and Pokémon Go creators Niantic. There’s also some big new VR experiences that will be rolling out for sports and art lovers before the end of the year.
Wareable verdict: Best VR headsets reviewed and rated
You can check out those stories below and check out the rest of this week’s big stories over in our comprehensive news section.
VR and AR news
Magic Leap says Nreal stole its MR glasses design
Magic Leap is not happy with mixed reality startup Nreal, and is suing its rival as it believes its Light mixed reality glasses are a blatant copy of its own hardware. This stems from the fact that Nreal was founded by former Magic Leap employee Chi Xu. Magic Leap alleges that Xu snooped on confidential research and development while “neglect[ing] his work duties” at the company.
The startup that has attracted big investment over the years claims the Nreal Light glasses, which we tried out earlier this year, “bears a striking similarity to the confidential designs that Magic Leap had under development before and during the time that Mr. Xu worked at Magic Leap, but which were not ultimately commercialized or publicly released.”
There are some similarities with the ways the devices work, including being powered by a power bank, with the Nreal Light glasses also compatible with smartphones. Magic Leap also seems to have a problem with the aesthetic of its rival’s product, including using similar font, as well as Nreal’s “shameless use of whales” in demos. Whales were prominently used in early videos of what Magic Leap’s tech was capable of. Does Magic Leap have a case? This certainly won’t be the last we hear about the legal wrangling between the two AR startups.
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite release date
A Harry Potter mobile AR game from the same folks that brought us Pokémon Go is launching 21 June, after a limited beta release earlier this year. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will embrace similar gameplay mechanics to the ones featured in the monster-catching giant where you’ll use your phone’s camera to locate items that can help you defeat your foes. Niantic has revealed that iOS and Android phone users in the UK and US will be the first to download and try out the full game for free with in-app purchases likely to be unlocked to help speed up progress in the AR game.
Mona Lisa VR experience is coming to Louvre
HTC’s cultural division, Vive Arts, is powering a new immersive exhibition that gives the iconic painting the full VR treatment. Mona Lisa: Behind the Glass, will be available to try at the iconic museum in Paris, giving users an in-depth look into the iconic painting. The virtual experience will be part of an exhibition to mark the 500th anniversary of its artist Leonardo Da Vinci’s death. The Mona Lisa VR experience will be available to try from 24 October 2019 to 24 February 2020. An extended version will also be available through HTC’s Viveport platform at a later date for those that can’t make the trip to Paris.
YouTube AR ads lets you try on virtual makeup
YouTube is set to experiment with augmented reality adverts in the hope you’ll start watching ads more. It’s chosen makeup as a way of trying out it’s new ‘virtual try-on’ feature that will let users see what they look like with a new product. MAC Cosmetics will be the first beauty brand to adopt the AR ad tech feature, which is currently in alpha testing and is set to be rolled out to YouTube’s influencer marketing platform.
Jump on Centre Court at Wimbledon with Vive
American Express has built a VR experience with two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray, letting you step onto the game’s most iconic court and swing your virtual racquet. The American Express Championship Rally experience uses HTC’s Vive headset and will be available to try out at the company’s Fan Experience site at SW19.
It only lasts a couple of minutes, with one minute of gameplay to test your skills in a series of challenges overseen by Murray. If you’re planning a trip to the Championships this year, you’ll be able to try it out by heading to the Southern Village from the 1-14 July between 10.30am and 7pm.
Watch this: Beat Saber goes 360
One of the biggest VR games is set to get a whole lot more playable, thanks to a new 360-degree mode that developer Beat Games recently revealed. Instead of sending blocks and beats out in front of you, they’ll now come from different directions. The new 360-degree mode is being planned for the Oculus Quest and you can see what it looks like in the video above.
Play this: Electronauts
We’re going to stay on that music theme because playing DJ VR app Electronauts has rolled out for the Oculus Quest. If you’re already bought it on the Rift (through the Oculus Store) you can download it for free and get mixing. There’s over 40 tracks to play around with and will cost you £14.99 if you’re buying it for the first time. Check the video above to see what Electronauts brings to the Djing party.