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Darren Aronofsky produced VR Experience lands a massive seven-figure deal at Sundance.

Executive produced by Darren AronofskyAri Handel, and Jessica Chastain, who also serves as the narrator and with an original score comes from Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon the minds behind the Stranger Things, Spheres just landed a massive seven-figure deal at Sundance.

VR financing and distribution venture CityLights announced today that it is acquiring Spheres-a virtual reality journey that transports viewers into the deepest pockets of the Universe to bring to life interactive visions of future worlds and explore our oneness with the cosmos. 

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The first episode premiered last weekend as part of Sundance’s New Frontier programming  and Spheres will be coming to Oculus Rift this year.

Overwatch League has no women competitors, can we not make this mistake with VR eSports.

This morning I was shocked to find out that Blizzard's ambitious new esports league Overwatch League had absolutely no women competing.  This news came a little late to me and I had to do some research. Personally, I am not a big fan of Overwatch but I had read some recent stats about Overwatch League.

Overwatch League launched recently with over 400,000 views on the first day. It has been reported that Twitch paid 90 million for the streaming rights. A has a quarter of the Twitch fanbase is women and Overwatch has a very diverse player audience, however, none of the 12 teams in Overwatch League have any women on the teams. Seeing that this is a big-time league with both Blizzard and Twitch behind this it is an outright shame to see this happen.

Kim “Geguri” Se-yeon is one of the top Overwatch players in the world and went on to become the first woman ever to play for a team in South Korea’s top league. Blizzard has tried to push both its Overwatch game and community as one of diversity, yet the pro scene’s most accomplished woman player is nowhere to be found in what is Overwatch's biggest moment. 

I don't play Overwatch but I do play VR games and see VR as the future of eSports. If a problem of inclusion and diversity exists in one of the biggest games being streamed on one of the biggest platforms I do not want to see this passed over to VR. 

Dan Fiden, president of Cloud9, the esports organization that sponsors one of the Overwatch League teams said in a statement to Kotaku that organizations need to play a role in making esports more welcoming and less toxic for players who aren’t men. He believes that involves starting from “the beginning.” 

If it's not “the beginning.” of eSports well it is the beginning of VR eSports and this should not be repeated as that ecosystem grows. Esports, more than traditional sports, have a unique opportunity to really diversify the kind of competitors we get to see. 

There are some that are pushing for more diversity in eSports and those heading the pro NBA2K eSports community have made this a core goal.

"Diversity is one of the most exciting parts to us. You know, you have to have some very serious level of athletic prowess to compete in the NBA. There's a different level of prowess with this. So, males, females, 18-year-olds, 27-year-olds, 80-year-olds, you know, that's the cool part about this for us. Everyone can participate, assuming they have the prowess of being able to play the game at that professional level. For us, it expands our video game audience, and I'm assuming that with the NBA it expands their audience as well, so that's one of the biggest, exciting parts of it for us." -2K's SVP of Basketball Operations Jason Argent

As we grow the VR community I want us all to be aware of not making the same mistakes. As VR eSports grow I want it to grow with diversity and inclusion in mind. To do this it will have to start awareness. Oculus has an amazing diversity program and as the future of VR grows I expect a push into eSport diversity.

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Putting VR into the hands of more people will help diversify the demographics of users but VR evangelists need to be responsible for helping to shape a better future. Seeing first hand how much work Oculus has put into their diversity program has made me not want to see the VR industry repeat the past mistakes of the gaming world. At OC4 the best Echo Arena players had a chance to show us that VR eSports can be the future. Going forward I just want all of us involved in the growth of VR to show that the world of VR is best through diversity and opportunity. 

I really don't have an answer on how to address the future of diversity in VR eSports but I would like to get the conversation started so the future of VR is as bright as we want it to be. 


Dean Takahashi's GamesBeat events are the type of events you want to skip work for. You may get to talk Rick And Morty with John Underkoffler.

Dean Takahashi pretty much said during his panel at the last GamesBeat summit that you are 100% better off skipping a day or two of of work in order to go to one of the events he puts together. He is absolutely right! These events have less of the super networking vibes of the W hotel during GDC and is more of a Socratic critical thinking forum to snap you out of your tech daze. During the event I went to I felt no one was trying to sell me an ideology or a glimpse of the future but just real talk on how did we get to the place in tech we are and share insights on how you too can predict the future. 

At the last event I got to talk to John Underkoffler, a HUGE pioneer in Augmented Interface growth and direction into the future. Don't know the name? Remember the data interface from Minority Report? Well, it's real, John Underkoffler invented it — as a point-and-touch interface called g-speak. 

John Underkoffler led the team that came up with this interface, called the g-speak Spatial Operating Environment. His company, Oblong Industries, was founded to move g-speak into the real world. Oblong is building apps for aerospace, bioinformatics, video editing and more. But the big vision is ubiquity: g-speak on every laptop, every desktop, every microwave oven, TV, dashboard. "It has to be like this," he says. "We all of us every day feel that. We build starting there. We want to change it all."
Before founding Oblong, Underkoffler spent 15 years at MIT's Media Laboratory, working in holography, animation and visualization techniques, and building the I/O Bulb and Luminous Room Systems. He also took some time to break down Rick And Morty for my limited mind. 

This year, GamesBeat 2017: Time Machine is parked right on that event horizon:

Early bird registration is open now — just in time for E3 — and the discount is solid: Sign up today and you’ll save 40 percent off the full-price ticket. Register now for GamesBeat 2017 and save $395!

Speakers Include

  • Steven Roberts, chairman of ESL, the biggest independent esports tournament company
  • Hilmar Veigar Pétursson, CEO of CCP Games, creator of Eve Online and VR games such as Eve Valkyrie
  • Bernie Stolar, CEO of The Stolar Group and former head at Sony’s U.S. PlayStation business and Sega of America 

At GamesBeat 2017: Time Machine, will dive into the parts of gaming that are driving excitement, triggering powerful growth, and launching the startups that are about to transform the industry.

ARLOOPA's easy to use AR app and their work to help companies like the WWF make them a company to check out at AWE as well as in our Augmented Future

ARLOOPA is brining great AR experiences to the world.  They also provide valuable AR technology jobs to the Armenian people as well as AR content to help them. The company is currently working with brands, creative advertising agencies, museums, schools and cities on cost effective and fun AR experiences.

In May of this year WWF Armenia and ARLOOPA launched “Take a Photo with the Leopard” environmental information campaign in the country to raise public awareness on biodiversity conservation and threatened species. People could take an augmented photo with the Critically Endangered Caucasian leopard with their special ARLOOPA application.

The initiative captured audience’s attention at once. The marker has been scanned more than 4000 times and dozens of photos and videos have been posted on Facebook with special hashtag #LeoAlive in a week.  

Mr. Karen Manvelyan, Director of WWF-Armenia, said: “The use of modern technologies will increase the efficiency of the campaign helping to create a unique connection between man and nature”.

The application will be presented at AWE exhibition in booth #200 where everyone can feel the presence of leopard and make photos/videos with him. Please come and check out this wonderful company.  ARLOOPA will have the soon be adding a Donate button to assist WWF in fundraising activities.  

The ARLOOPA app is one of the best mobile VR apps that I have seen as far as simplicity and UI. Being able to record GIFs, Videos, take photos and share them makes ARLOOPA a company to watch as we move forward to an Augmented World

Virtual Reality Pulse