February 12, 2017 / by James Whatley">James Whatley / 5things / No Comments

Five things on Sunday (FtoF #213)

Things of note for the week ending Sunday February 12th, 2017.

A busy week this week and many projects either being sold in or at last coming to fruition; very exciting. Hopefully can talk about some of them soon…

In the meantime, would you like some things? Of course you would.

A random collection this week.

Oh, and one last thing before we dive in: do please recommend this newsletter to someone this week.

Thanks, y’all x

Let’s do this:

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1. THE STATE OF VIRTUAL REALITY IN 2016

I’m pretty bullish on VR becoming mainstream – at least as a gaming experience – and the numbers coming out of 2016 tell a decent enough story to support that.

  • An industry revenue figure of $1.8bn (£1.4bn)
  • 4.51m Samsung Gear VR headsets shipped
  • 750k PlayStation VR units shipped
  • HTC Vive: 420k unites
  • Oculus: 250k units

A few things to note here. First, the above numbers don’t [seem to] take into account any Google Cardboard / Daydream numbers. Admittedly the latter only launched at the back end of last year however, this time last year, the former was touting all sorts of huge usage/shipped numbers; it would be nice to get an update from the big G on those numbers…

Second, PSVR (the one I have) has done well – which pleases me! And I’m kinda shocked that Oculus, arguably the poster-child for consumer VR – is shipping at so low numbers. Then again, the price of entry at that end has only just started to come down.

Unsurprisingly, the Samsung Gear VR headsets are leading the pack. Something to do with Samsung throwing a LOT of cash at awareness – both with advertising and freebies (if any of you bought a day one Samsung phone last year, you no doubt have one of these headsets sat at home somewhere).

Point being: VR arrived in 2016. Where it goes next, we shall see…

EDIT: it’s interesting, a day or so after I drafted the above, I read this story about how Best Buy was closing/pulling around 200 or so of its 500 Oculus demo areas across the US, citing ‘seasonal changes’ –

In a statement, Oculus spokesperson Andrea Schubert told The Verge that the closures were due to “seasonal changes,” and that people could “still request Rift demos at hundreds of Best Buy stores in the US and Canada.” She noted that other retail outlets, including Microsoft stores, offer demonstrations. Affected Best Buy stores will continue to sell Rift headsets and the accompanying Touch motion controllers, and Oculus plans to keep up public demos. “We still believe the best way to learn about VR is through a live demo,” said Schubert. “We’re going to find opportunities to do regular events and pop-ups in retail locations and local communities throughout the year.”

If you believe the press, then this is the first death-knell of the end of the VR industry. I don’t believe the negative-hype. As shown above, Oculus is the highest cost and the lowest selling VR product on the market. Gaming is still the core area for VR, I think, but we’ll see what the next couple of years bring…

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2. RUSSIANS HACKING… SLOT MACHINES

According to Willy Allison, a Las Vegas–based casino security consultant who has been tracking the Russian scam for years, the operatives use their phones to record about two dozen spins on a game they aim to cheat. They upload that footage to a technical staff in St. Petersburg, who analyze the video and calculate the machine’s pattern based on what they know about the model’s pseudorandom number generator. Finally, the St. Petersburg team transmits a list of timing markers to a custom app on the operative’s phone; those markers cause the handset to vibrate roughly 0.25 seconds before the operative should press the spin button.

I mean, as cons go, this is pretty darn good. Best of all, because of the nature of the hack, there’s no immediate way to fix it.

Fascinating reading.

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3. GETTING TO MARS

This is really quite lovely.

Click and enjoy.

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4. AVENGERS INFINITY WAR

Is looking pretty spectacular.

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5. THE WORST INTERVIEW EVER?

You’ve just been given an opportunity to interview the White House Press secretary and you decide to send in this clown. Jesus.

Can you imagine if they’d actually paid attention in school?

(could be worse, they could’ve attempted to shake hands)

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Bonuses this week are as follows:

And that’s it.

This is the end.

You made it.

AREN’T YOU AMAZING?

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