Author: Maria Korolov

About Maria Korolov

maria@hypergridbusiness.com'

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China.

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Latest articles:

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Proto Awards will celebrate VR experiences Oct. 8

The Proto Awards gala will be held in Hollywood on October 8, and the list of nominees has been announced. Categories include Most Transportive Experience, Best Game, Best Music Experience, Best Social Experience, Best Mobile Experience, Best Interaction Design, Most Innovative, Best...

(Image courtesy AvatarFest.) 3

AvatarFest kicks off this Friday

The community-focused AvatarFest event kicks off on Friday, accessible to all OpenSim hypergrid users. There are about two dozen exhibitors already participating, and more than a dozen performances are scheduled, including those by OpenSim...

Harvard professor David Malan teaching the opening lecture of this fall's CS50 class. (Image courtesy Harvard University.) 0

Attend Harvard’s CS50 classes in VR

The first lecture of Harvard’s CS50 introductory programming class, can now be viewed as a 360-degree video. It was filmed using the professional-level Nokia OZO VR camera, which costs around $45,000. This is the first time...

Google's Daydream home screen and app switcher. 0

Daydream VR platform now open to developers

Google’s Daydream virtual reality platform is now open to the public. The Daydream software development kit came out of beta, the company announced Thursday. The kit, available here for Android, has native Unity integration...

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VWBPE17 opens call for proposals

The tenth annual Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education conference will be held March 29 through April 1 of next year — and is currently accepting proposals. Conference organizers are looking for presentations about new projects,...

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VR ads improve brand recall 28-fold

People watching 360-degree videos recalled the brands mentioned 28 times more than in traditional ads, according to a new report by Nielsen. Recall of 360-degree content in general was eight times higher, and consumers were three...

AltspaceVR's Democracy Plaza. (Image courtesy AltspaceVR and NBC News.) 2

NBC’s Al Roker to host VR election event

This year’s presidential election will be conducted, in part, in virtual reality. A partnership between NBC News and AltspaceVR is transforming a virtual recreation of New York’s Rockefeller Center Plaza into Democracy Plaza, where...

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AltspaceVR zeros in on social virtual reality

The social virtual reality platform AltspaceVR is doubling down on the social aspect, with interface changes designed to make it easier for people to get together. Previously, AltspaceVR — like many virtual environments —...

Leventica, Alife Virtual's welcome region, looks creepy and abandoned. (Snapshot by Maria Korolov.) 32

Alife stats questioned

Alife Virtual reported a dramatic increase in active users this month, to 1,576 unique monthly visitors, but those stats may not be accurate, according to technology expert Magnuz Binder, who has previously submitted patches to OpenSim....

Land area of OpenSim's public grids, in standard region equivalents. (Hypergrid Business data.) 41

Drama, outages plague OpenSim grids

Update: I missed a couple of grids in the first version of the story, AllCity updated their stats, and I removed Alife Virtual’s stats from the report because of questions about their accuracy. Read...

Speakers at the upcoming Virtual Reality Strategy conference. (Image courtesy Greenlight Insights, Inc.) 0

VR Strategy Conference to focus on monetization

Press release: Greenlight Insights’ Virtual Reality Strategy Conference 2016 to Address Growth and Monetization Challenges VRS 2016 takes place Nov. 1-2, in San Francisco, and will feature new research findings from Greenlight’s fall 2016...

(Image courtesy AvaCon, Inc.) 3

OpenSim conference calls for proposals

The 2016 OpenSimulator Community Conference, to be held in December, is now accepting proposals for presentations and activities. “We are particularly interested in speakers that can dramatically tell the story of their work and...

Truelie Telling in Kitely. (Image courtesy Freda Frostbite via Google Plus.) 2

Summer’s top virtual communities

Google Plus continues to be the social media destination of choice for OpenSim users, due its usability, sharing features, and support for identities based on avatar names. I currently track 175 virtual communities that...

(Hypergrid Business data.) 13

Reader poll: Most say OpenSim needs VR

Adapting OpenSim to work on virtual reality headsets will require a substantial amount of work on both server and viewer code. Is this something that OpenSim users want to see happen? According to a...

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Vox+ Z3 a nice upgrade from the BoboVR

Disclosure: The folks at Vox VR just sent me a free review copy of their Vox+ Z3 headset, which is a rebranded version of the BoboVR Z3 but with a larger field of view. Thanks, guys!...

DreamWorld. (Image courtesy Fred Beckhunsen.) 14

DreamWorld OpenSim installer released

OutWorldz founder Fred Beckhusen has posted his collection of 1,000 OpenSim scripts on the open source collaboration site GitHub, as well as the code for his one-click OpenSim installer, called DreamWorld. Like New World...

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The path to a VR metaverse

I got into writing about OpenSim back in 2009 because it seemed to be, at the time, the best path to an open-source, peer-to-peer metaverse. I want to see a future where anyone could put...

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Sony to launch multi-platform VR media service

Sony Music Entertainment will launch its Littlstar Japan VR video services next month, the company announced Wednesday. New York-based Little Star Media Inc. will provide the VR delivery platform, Sony said in the announcement. Content...

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Kitely battles slow-loading meshes

A complex mesh object can significantly slow down the loading of a region — as much as ten minutes, in some cases, according to Oren Hurvitz, co-founder and VP of R&D at Kitely. That’s a...

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Atek Grid has new owners, hiring staff

Atek Grid, formerly owned by the company behind the CloudServe OpenSim hosting company, has been bought by the Tampa-based Florida Web Council, Inc. CloudServe will continue to run the back-end technology for the grid...

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Alibaba working on VR payments

China’s Alibaba online retail giant told China Daily that it is developing virtual-reality-enabled mobile payment technology, which could allow users to pay bills in a 3-D virtual world by nodding their heads or making other gestures to...

AviWorlds welcome region. (Snapshot by Maria Korolov.) 96

Avi-Labs hacked, grids down

Avi-Labs, the hosting company behind the AviWorlds grid, has been hacked, according to Josh Boam, the company’s technology manager, but grid data should be recoverable. “Everything is saved,” he said. According to Boam, company...

(Image by Maria Korolov based on photo by JF Sebastian via Flickr.) 4

18 things that might soon be obsolete

The smartphone is able to replace a lot of the things we use to need. Alarm clocks, GPS devices, cameras, mail delivery, televisions, radios, tape recorders, record players, calculators, guitar tuners, pedometers — the...

OSgrid 9th birthday celebration. (Image courtesy Avia Bonne via Google Plus.) 0

OSgrid birthday bash marred by outages

OSgrid celebrated its ninth birthday this weekend, but the events did not go smoothly on OpenSim’s largest and oldest grid. OSgrid has had some technical issues over the past few days, grid president Dan...

Fiber optic collimator OLED display. (Image courtesy Leap Motion.) 1

Leap Motion offers hints of new VR tech

Leap Motion CTO David Holz spent more than an hour and a half last Thursday night answering questions about virtual and augmented reality in front of an audience of more than 200 avatars in...

(Image courtesy Tek Gear Inc.) 2

Tek Gear offers free headset

Canada’s Tek Gear Inc. is offering a free virtual reality headset to anyone who wants one — as long as they pick up the shipping charges. “We’ve been in the VR business for over 24...

Total land area on OpenSim's public grids, in standard region equivalents. (Hypergrid Business data.) 18

Grid outages bring stats down in July

Several grids did not report numbers this month, resulting in a drop in active users of 3,209. Avination was down this month, as were Virtual Dream, My Virtual Community, and Cyberface. Some grids, such as Activity...

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Kitely merchants continue exports switch

The number of non-exportable items on the Kitely Market dropped this week, while exportable products continue to rise, according to statistics released today by Kitely. The difference between the two was the second highest...

Creator  Jan Goetgeluk demonstrates the treadmill, playing a first-person shooter with an Oculus Rift. 0

Virtuix announces major China distribution deal

On Friday, Virtuix, the maker of the Omni virtual reality treadmill, announced a joint venture with Hero Entertainment, a billion-dollar Chinese game publisher and developer of Crisis Action, the most popular mobile first-person shooter...

(Image courtesy Shenzhen Arashi Vision Co., Ltd.) 0

Insta360 Nano VR camera clips to phone

The$200 Insta360 Nano VR camera, which will be available for purchase on July 30, clips to your iPhone and uses two fish-eye lenses to take 360-degree photos or videos. You can see some videos that have...

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Third hypergrid Treasure Hunt starts

The third hypergrid Treasure Hunt officially began on Friday, with 14 grids participating. It will run through August 6, so there’s plenty of time for both hunters and grids to jump in. Prizes include...

PlayStation VR headset. (Image courtesy Sony.) 1

PlayStation VR pre-orders sell out in minutes

The final round of PlayStation VR headset pre-orders went live on Thursday, but sold out in minutes, a Gamestop representative told IGN. According to Sony, there won’t be any more pre-orders. The headset will be officially released...

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High Fidelity Marketplace now live

Philip Rosedale’s virtual world startup High Fidelity has announced the launch of its Marketplace this week. Registered users can now upload new content again. The Marketplace has also been redesigned, with a new submission...

HTC Vive. (Image courtesy HTC.) 0

HTC to open 10,000 VR experience sites in China

HTC plans to set up more than 10,000 “experience sites” in mainland China by the end of the year, the China Daily newspaper reported today. The company is partnering with Suning Commerce Group and Gome Electrical Appliances...

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Google opens Expeditions to all

Google Expeditions, previously only available to select schools, is now available to the public, at no cost. “The app is available today for Android and will be available for iPhones and iPads soon,” the company...

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Shark Week comes to VR

This year, Shark Week will be coming to virtual reality. It starts today, Sunday, June 26, and Discovery Channel will make parts of its Shark Week broadcast in virtual reality and 360-degree video format....

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VWBPE seeks science fair exhibitors

  On its tenth anniversary, Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education is adding a new element in to its conference program, a science fair. “Educators from all disciplines and levels are invited to participate,” outreach committee head...

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Oculus reverses course, drops DRM

Oculus has released an update to its software yesterday, allowing its games to run on other headsets. “We continually revise our entitlement and anti-piracy systems, and in the June update we’ve removed the check...

The Virtoba X5 box is on the left, BoboVR Z4 is on the right. 8

Virtoba X5 vs. BoboVR Z4

Update: In August, I bought a FiiT VR 2S, and that is now my new favorite. But I’m also still recommending the BoboVR Z4 headset, because of its 120-degree field of view, built-in headphones, and built-in control button....

(Image courtesy Ajoy Fernandes and Steve Feiner.) 0

Narrowing FOV could reduce VR sickness

Motion sickness is one of the big usability problems plaguing virtual reality today, and if you don’t want to attach electrodes to your head, there might be a simpler, easier solution — narrowing the...

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Review: Loop VR fails to impress

I just received my free Loop VR headset from OnePlus. The company gave away thousands of headsets to promote the release of their new OnePlus 3 smartphone, and while it’s definitely an upgrade from the cardboard...

Total land area on OpenSim's public grids, in standard region equivalents. (Hypergrid Business data.) 5

Summer slowdown on the hypergrid

The total land area of OpenSim’s public grids increased by almost 3,000 regions, but active users dropped by 405. The total number of standard region equivalents on the public grids is now 59,339, up...

Kitely Market product growth. (Date courtesy Kitely.) 2

Kitely Market now delivers to 138 grids

The Kitely Market is now delivering content to 138 different OpenSim grids and mini-grids and merchants are continuing to increase the amount of exportable content available on the platform. There are currently 7,486 product...

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New Star Trek game is in VR

Game studio Ubisoft and developer Red Storm Entertainment is working on a Star Trek game that allows four players to cooperatively fly a spaceship in virtual reality. The game, called “Bridge Crew,” is scheduled to launch...