Valve Lays Off VR Hardware Division

The Verge reporting:

Gaming company Valve confirmed today that it has laid off several full-time employees and contractors, possibly from its virtual reality hardware team. “Last month, 13 full time employees were let go and a portion of our contractor agreements were terminated. It’s an unfortunate part of business, but does not represent any major changes at the company.

Variety reports that today’s layoffs don’t mean that Valve is exiting VR, but it’s not clear whether that’s explicitly confirmed or simply implied from the promise that there weren’t “any major changes at the company.” It’s also possible that Valve could continue to work on SteamVR software but bow out of the hardware market.

On the bright side, the Knuckles drivers were updated last month, and Valve is advertising a job listing for a “VR and hardware” software engineer. Also, Oculus and HTC have both announced new headsets for 2019. So if Valve is still working on VR hardware, we might also hear about it this year.

VR isn’t yet ready for mainstream consumption. We’ve all jumped the gun.

Mark Zuckerberg Shows Off Bizarre VR Experience

Alfred Ng writing for CNET

Zuckerberg showed off a few of the creative possibilities that come with the new Oculus platform, like being able to draw and play with your creations in the social experience.

The demonstration was Facebook’s first dive into creating a social platform for Oculus, using VR to connect with your friends and family. The social network is one of many major tech companies pushing virtual reality as the next big trend. The company entered the VR business through its $1 billion acquisition of Oculus in 2014.

Oculus is pushing for a more social environment on VR, with its Oculus Avatar feature, allowing users to create a digital version of themselves and interact with their friends from anywhere in the world.

“This is the first time that tech has made this level of social presence possible,” said Lauren Vegter, Oculus’ social product team leader.

She introduced Parties and Rooms, two new features that let people come together in a VR lounge, where they can watch videos, listen to music and hang out.

None of the things he showed seemed useful or better than the current way we do things (Playing chess, playing cards, taking selfies, and so on). It sounds more and more like Oculus Rift is a bust. It is more expensive than the Playstation VR and much less useful even though the tech behind it is better than the rest.

Playstation VR has a much better chance of succeeding since there are all those PS4s laying around and Sony has a history of making it’s own games.

The whole Oculus keynote demo was strangely awkward, and not something I’d expect out of Mark.