The XR Week Peek (2024.07.09): App Lab is merging with Quest Store, Lynx complains about the EU fundraising scene, and more!

I have finally eaten some good pasta here in Italy, but now I’m ready to travel again to London and Prague. I’ve been traveling a bit too much recently… I feel like a rockstar doing a world tour! It’s cool because I’ve been able to connect with amazing people from many countries, but at the same time, it’s pretty tiresome.
 This week in XR has been a bit less amazing, in the sense that there has not been much exciting XR news… but still, there are a few things you should know about…

Top news of the week

App Lab games will become Early Access titles on the Horizon Store

The process of merging App Lab with the official Horizon Store (previously known as Quest Store) has officially started. From August, 5, all titles that are currently published on App Lab will become titles of the Horizon Store, with an “Early Access” tag. They will so be fully discoverable by the users of Meta Quest or any other future headset compatible with Horizon OS. The Horizon Store will so become like Steam: everyone can publish titles on it, but some titles will be in Early Access, while others will be officially published.
 The developers of the titles that are currently on App Lab should go to their developer dashboard before that date and flag that their title should appear as Early Access. They also have to take action, to make sure that the VR experience fully respects the new VRC checks and ensure that the description and the metadata of the game are suitable to make the game easily discoverable by its potential users. The publication on the store will also increment the number of users of the application, so it’s important that the app can sustain this increased influx of users (e.g. by paying more for the backend)
 The developers that put their game on App Lab because they wanted to have an unlisted title to privately share with their peers thanks to a link will have to delist the application to avoid it from becoming public and use Release Channels to share it with their users.
 Pico, which lately had created an initiative similar to App Lab for its store, is removing it too: there will be only one Pico Store again.
 I have one word to comment on all of this: FINALLY. Finally, we indie developers can put our game in front of our users and are not relegated to a B-league store where it’s very difficult to get noticed. It’s a great day for all of us.

More info (Meta removing App Lab)
More info (Official blog post by Meta announcing the news)
More info (Pico removing its Pico Lab)

Other relevant news

(Image by Lynx)

Lynx complains about “excruciating” fundraising environment in Europe

Stan Larroque, the CEO and founder of Lynx, has released an update about his company on Kickstarter, venting about some issues his company is having.
 The bad news is that Lynx is working in very complicated conditions. The French startup is looking for funding and in the last year, Stan has worked hard to secure the money to make his company thrive, but with little success. Stan reported about some horrible experiences he had in the process, like a VC fund promising €30M that it actually didn’t have or a public French fund lying about committing to give €15M to his company. The company needs money to go on: Lynx had assembled 400 new headsets, but they could not be shipped to the backers because the assembly company, Compal, retained them waiting to be paid.
 The good news is that Lynx is still alive and now has solved the situation about the 400 headsets, which so can be sent to its backers between July and August. Stan shared that now he sees everything in a positive light because they are working with “a big financial US partner” to continue their work.
 The important part of this story is the conditions inside which this company has to operate. Lynx is one of the few companies in the world that makes standalone headsets and it is the only one in Europe. Recently there has been a lot of talking in Europe about promoting ourselves as technological leaders: EU wants to have its own chips, its own metaverse… its own technology in general. People talk about Europe being able to propose successful tech products like the US and China already do.
 But the story of Lynx is the symbol of how reality is. Europe has not a true ecosystem of innovation, and its VC funds are not as big and as targeted to the future as the American ones are. An innovative company like Lynx, which with a bunch of engineers has been able to manufacture a standalone headset, should be openly supported by a European ecosystem to succeed. But in the end, the company had always to operate in a frugal way, and now its headset, once very innovative, is actually quite outdated if compared to competitors like the Meta Quest 3. And now the only way it has to survive is through US funds. If you remember well, my previous job was at a French startup, too, and we lived the same shitshow of trying to get funds for an XR product in Europe.
 I think that there should be less talking about dreams inside the European tech business circles and there should be more facts about creating a true ecosystem of innovation here. Otherwise, we risk losing the innovation train every time, with many talented teams not being able to survive because of a lack of money and support.
 I wish the best of luck to the Lynx team. Stay strong, Stan!

More info (Lynx complaining about its fundraising — Road To VR)
More info (Lynx complaining about its fundraising — Upload VR)

News worth a mention

Surreal Touch is a motion controller for the Apple Vision Pro

We all know that the Apple Vision Pro can be interacted only with the eyes and the hands and that Apple is not interested in releasing controllers for it. But for some kinds of applications, like games, it would be great to have motion controllers. That’s why Surreal Interactive has announced Surreal Touch, which is a pair of controllers that can be paired with the Vision Pro. The controllers have onboard cameras for tracking and are guaranteed to offer sub-centimeter accuracy (which is not that great, considering that SteamVR controllers have usually sub-millimeter accuracy). They are mostly meant for PCVR usage, but soon an SDK will let interested developers implement these controllers in their games.
 More details on these devices, including the price, will be unveiled closer to launch.

More info (Surreal Touch controllers — Road To VR)
More info (Surreal Touch controllers — Upload VR)

Every Horizon Worlds world is now accessible from web and mobile

All worlds on Meta’s Horizon Worlds, whether developed by users inside VR or professionals with desktop tools, are now available on web and mobile. Worlds that are specifically optimized for these platforms will show an ‘Optimized’ tag, but you can still join worlds that aren’t. This is an important step to make Meta’s metaverse finally fully accessible from all platforms, not only from VR headsets.
 Notice that the web version of Horizon Worlds does not operate like a standard website, but gets its content rendered remotely on the cloud and streamed to the device of the user. This ensure the graphical quality is superior, but at the same time introduces important cloud costs for Meta.
 (Thanks to RuHowe for the tip, I’m adding a link to one of his words on Horizon as a token of appreciation!)

More info (Worlds on Horizon are now accessible from web and mobile)
More info (a world from RuHowe, now accessible also from the browser)

Meta is rolling out v67 of the Quest runtime

Meta is rolling out the v67 of its runtime, the one that brings important innovations, like the ability to move the windows of the OS anywhere in your room; the ability to scan QR codes to connect to Wi-Fi; or the possibility to use a swipe keyboard to type in VR. I personally can’t wait to try the new UX with the windows that can be moved around!

More info (Quest v67 update — Road To VR)
More info (Quest v67 update — Upload VR)

Mixed Reality apps can now hide the Guardian on Quest

Finally, it’s possible for apps in mixed reality to disable the Guardian of the Quest headset. V66 of the Meta SDK allows developers to turn off the Guardian inside mixed reality apps: since the user sees his surroundings, there is no need to show an annoying cage that just prevents the user from freely moving around. It was about time…

More info


VRTO is back! If you are in Canada be sure to attend it. This is the description about the event that the amazing team behind it sent me:
 VRTO Spatial Media World Conference & Expo — the critically acclaimed industry favorite (from the makers of FIVARS festival) returns for its 9th year July 10–11, 2024, at OCAD University in Toronto — a school known for its long history of digital media arts pioneers. Programmed by Keram Malicki-Sanchez, this year’s show kicks off with XR legend Dario Laverde long time face of developer relations at HTC Vive, who kicks off with an insightful talk on the last decade VR what we got wrong. Day two sees the return of Curtis Hickman, co-founder of the VOID talking about takeaways from his book Hyper-Reality and even doing some on-stage illusions. VFX wizard and now Senior Director, Head of 3D & Immersive Labs at Adobe — Dave Cardwell shares stories of his journey to know and what we can expect next. Renowned game writer Anne Toole has written for television, games, comics, digital series, animation, ASGARD’S WRATH 2, and will next appear in HOMEWORLD: Far Reaches for VR. Explore groundbreaking tech from over 20 exhibitors and immerse yourself in sessions with experts from Meta, Dark Slope, and more. Don’t miss this chance to shape the future of virtual and augmented reality.
 Grab your ticket now! Conference and Exhibition Hall Tickets available via Eventbrite.
 Venue: OCAD University 100 McCaul St. Toronto, ON, CANADA Conference sessions 10am — 7pm Daily Exhibits 11am — 6pm Daily

More info (Official website)
More info (Buy tickets on Eventbrite)

Rai Pal is a utility that lets you apply VR mods to games

This week I’ve discovered thanks to Alexander Goncharov a utility called Rai Pal, created by Raicuparta. This utility tries to understand for every PC game which is the best universal mod to transform it into a VR game, then installs the mod. It is able to apply both Praydog’s UEVR injector (for Unreal Engine-based games) and the UUVR injector (for Unity-based games). This is very useful if you want to play your flatscreen games in VR but you don’t have enough technical knowledge to install mods.

More info (Rai Pal tool)
More info (UUVR injector for Unity games)

SideQuest has refreshed its User Experience

SideQuest VR, the alternative store of content for standalone headsets, has just gone through a visual overhaul. The new interface is much better and classy and there are more animations and special effects. Personally, I like it a lot.

More info (Announcement tweet with the news)
More info (Official website)

Meta is still working on GTA San Andreas, or maybe no, it’s been canceled

The whole community is wondering what has happened to GTA San Andreas VR, one of the most awaited VR games since the moment Meta announced it. The last few days have been an emotional rollercoaster related to it. At first, a VR enthusiast asked in a comment to a YouTube video if the game was still in the works, and some PR person from Meta answered that yes, Meta was still working on it. The news started spreading fast and the whole community was happy about the fact that the game was still in the works. But then the comment has been erased, probably because it was just the answer of some PR person who was following some old guidelines about it. Then Nima Zeighami, who is a reliable person, said that he got the info from an insider that the game had actually been canceled. So people went from joy to despair.
 There is no official statement about the status of the project, so we actually don’t know what is happening. I personally think that Meta should just tell us what is the situation: we can accept every possibility, as long as it is properly communicated.

More info (GTA VR game confirmed, but then…)
More info (Nima Zeighami saying that the game has been canceled)

Enjoy the Steam Summer Sale

It’s the moment to give your money to Lord GabeN! With the Steam Summer Sale you can have many amazing PC VR games at a discounted price…

More info

Some news about content

  • Attack on Titan VR: Unbreakable is releasing on Quest in early access on July 23rd, priced at just $5. From the trailer, it looks very rough… I mean, it seems like a prototype of an indie game made with assets taken from the Unity Asset Store
  • The House of Da Vinci, a puzzle adventure set in Renaissance Italy, will receive a VR adaptation on Quest and Steam
  • Archery RED is a new action game released in Early Access on Steam. Its visuals are very similar to SuperHot, but the gameplay is different and it is about killing enemies with a bow and arrows
  • Leeroy is a new VR minigame collection inspired by memes and WarioWare, launching this year on Quest and Steam. The name itself seems to come from a meme…
  • Mare, the ICO-inspired VR puzzle adventure, has optional eye-tracking-only controls in its upcoming PSVR 2 port
  • Upload has published its usual ICYMI post with a roundup of minor pieces of VR gaming news
  • A sequel of VR Kanojo is coming. This will be the killer application… for the eyes of a few users
  • Dixotomia is the VR passion project of two students… and its trailer looks pretty nice!

More info (Attack on Titan VR: Unbreakable)
More info (The House Of Da Vinci)
More info (Archery RED)
More info (Leeroy)
More info (Mare)
More info (ICYMI)
More info (VR Kanojo)
More info (Dixotomia)

Other news

Eminus has made a review video of the XREAL Beam Pro

Learn more

Road To VR did a hands-on session on the Sony Mixed Reality headset at AWE

Learn more

Tim Sweeney explains that, in his opinion, VR is not a fit for Fortnite because of the continuous movement required by the game

Learn more

Generative AI requires a lot of energy, hence emissions, to the tech giants

Learn more

Some researchers have created a new soft technology to provide haptics

Learn more

A company is open-sourcing its no code system to create WebXR experiences

Learn more

Meta’s new AI system can create 3D objects from a textual prompt in less than one minute

Learn more

News from partners (and friends)

Discover SynergyXR

SynergyXR is promoting its training solutions for the oil&gas sector. This is how the company describes its products:
 Oil and gas industry safety concerns, risks, injuries, and fatalities are on the rise. SynergXR delivers scalable extended reality (XR), virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and spatial computing solutions to educate and train instructors, workers, and stakeholders while mitigating risks. Precision Drilling and Texas A&M offer insights on the efficacy of immersive technologies for safety in the oil and gas industry.
Learn more

STYLY experiments with Vision Pro and AI

Japanese XR content creation platform STYLY has shared an update about a prototype it did. The company made an application for the Apple Vision Pro that uses camera access (currently just an enterprise feature) to get the image frames from the cameras and feed them into Gemini AI. This can be used for instance for tourism: many street signs in Japan are only in Japanese and could be translated in real time by the AI. The company will keep experimenting with these concepts integrating immersive realities and artificial intelligence: “Moving forward, STYLY will strengthen the integration of spatial computers with AI interfaces, including generative AI, to promote the creation of new lifestyles for the spatial computing era.”
Learn more

Paper Birds arrives on Vision Pro

Paper Birds, an animated 30-minute experience directed by German Heller, was released on July 5th on Apple’s Vision Pro. Featuring stars like Edward Norton, Joss Stone, and Archie Yates, it’s a truly immersive storytelling experience. After a successful run on Meta Quest, Paper Birds has been acclaimed at festivals like Venice and Raindance. Apple has now chosen it as one of the pioneering interactive narratives with advanced hand tracking on Vision Pro.
Learn more

Sponsored Area

Advertise here!

If you have an XR product and you want to showcase it in front of the VR community, what’s the best place to do that if not The Ghost Howls? Please reach out to me, and let’s talk about potential collaborations!
See Advertisement Options of this fantastic website

Some XR fun

Hitman, Kingsman, and the Griffins all in one meme
Funny link

Oh yeah, this would be a dream to me
Funny link

I never thought that lighthouse stations were throwing a disco party at my house the whole time!
Funny link

Donate for good

Like last week, also this week in this final paragraph I won’t ask you to donate to my blog, but to the poor people who are facing the consequences of the war. Please donate to the Red Cross to handle the current humanitarian situation in Ukraine. I will leave you the link to do that below.
 Let me take a moment before to thank anyway all my Patreon donors for the support they give to me :

  • Alex Gonzalez VR
  • DeoVR
  • GenVR
  • Eduardo Siman
  • Jonn Fredericks
  • Jean-Marc Duyckaerts
  • Reynaldo T Zabala
  • Richard Penny
  • Terry xR. Schussler
  • Ilias Kapouranis
  • Paolo Leoncini
  • Nikk Mitchell and the great FXG team
  • Jake Rubin
  • Alexis Huille
  • Raghu Bathina
  • Chris Koomen
  • Cognitive3D
  • Wisear (Yacine Achiakh)
  • Masterpiece X
  • Dimo Pepelyashev
  • Jennifer Granger
  • Jason Moore
  • Steve Biggs
  • Julio Cesar Bolivar
  • Jan Schroeder
  • Kai Curtis
  • Francesco Strada
  • Sikaar Keita
  • Ramin Assadollahi
  • Juan Sotelo
  • Andrew Sheldon
  • Chris Madsen
  • Horacio Torrendell
  • Andrew Deutsch
  • Fabien Benetou
  • Tatiana Kartashova
  • Marco “BeyondTheCastle” Arena
  • Eloi Gerard
  • Adam Boyd
  • Jeremy Dalton
  • Joel Ward
  • Alex P
  • Lynn Eades
  • Donald P
  • Casie Lane
  • Catherine Henry
  • Qcreator
  • Ristband (Anne McKinnon & Roman Rappak)
  • Stephen Robnett
  • KaihatsuJai
  • Christopher Boyd
  • Carol Dalrymple
  • Sb
  • Pieter Siekerman
  • Enrico Poli
  • Vooiage Technologies
  • Caroline
  • Liam James O’Malley
  • Hillary Charnas
  • Wil Stevens
  • Brian Peiris
  • Francesco Salizzoni
  • Alan Smithson
  • Steve R
  • Brentwahn
  • Matt Cool
  • Simplex
  • Gregory F Gorsuch
  • Paul Shay
  • Matias Nassi

And now here you are the link to donate:

Support The Red Cross in Ukraine

(Header image by Meta)

The post The XR Week Peek (2024.07.09): App Lab is merging with Quest Store, Lynx complains about the EU fundraising scene, and more! appeared first on The Ghost Howls.

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