Above: The StarVR headset from Starbreeze. Image Credit: Starbreeze.
Over the past few months Starbreeze’s StarVR headset has gone from an industry oddity to a genuine contender in the location-based VR scene. This week, the company is cementing that status with some major new acquistions.
Starbreeze announced the purchase of Nozon, a Belgium-based visual effects studio for €7.1 million (about $7.75 million). Along with its special effects, the company is also working on some important features for VR video.
PresenZ is Nozon’s tool for interactive parallax. This refers to allowing viewers to move their heads with six degrees of freedom in pre-rendered animated video to better immerse you in a scene. It essentially enables a degree of positional tracking. Imagine stepping into Toy Story, for example, and being able to look around Woody and Buzz as they’re talking.
It’s easy to see why Starbreeze would be interested in Nozon. The company has already partnered with IMAX to deliver new cinematic video content to location-based pods across the world by the end of the year. Located in movie theaters and shopping malls, these pods will showcase experiences that tie-in with current cinema releases, offering additional content for those that want it. Expected to arrive first in Los Angeles and then moving out to other cities like Manchester in the UK, audiences will be able to pay for tickets to these experiences, just as they would a movie.
It’s looking more and more like these types of experiences will define StarVR, though it does have gaming content like The Walking Dead VR Experience too. With a 5K display and a 210 degree field of view, StarVR should prove to be a good home for this type of content, though we’ll find out for ourselves later in the year.