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. Follow me on Twitter @MariaKorolov.

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Latest articles:

2

Pros and cons of new Gear VR

My Samsung Gear VR arrived in the mail, and I’m super stoked. Now I get a chance to try all the cool virtual reality apps that aren’t available for Google Cardboard. And they are...

2

Five leading VR ecosystems

When investing in a new technology platform, whether that investment is in time or money, nobody wants to invest in a dead-end system. Businesses in particular that put all the eggs in the wrong...

7

Exo-Life offers free IARs, OARs

Just in time for the holidays, Exo-Life Virtual World has released a set of IAR inventory export files, to accompany its collection of ten free OAR region export files. The IAR files include three fully-functional in-world...

35

Kitely, Great Canadian hit size milestones

The on-demand Kitely grid passed 10,000 regions this month for the first time, and the Great Canadian Grid hit the 1,000 region mark. They helped boost OpenSim to a new record high of 71,360...

40

Kitely Market clears out some listings

The Kitely Market saw the first downturn in its listing numbers this month, a result of some housekeeping on the part of management. “We were forced to remove the listings of several merchants who...

7

8 weird Sci-Fi tropes

I’ve been reading a lot of military science fiction lately and space operas. They’re two of my all-time favorite genres, and have been ever since I was a teenager. But in the decades since...

0

Flickr releases Gear VR app

Flickr has released a new app for the Gear VR that allows users to browse through the platform’s 360-degree photographs. “Over the years, Flickr users have uploaded tens of thousands of 360-degree photos and...

0

HTC delays Vive release until April

The consumer release of HTC’s Vive headset is delayed until April 2016, HTC announced last week. “We will be starting the new year by making an additional 7,000 units available to developers, with pre-orders...

0

Google launches VR Cardboard Camera app

Google has released the Cardboard Camera app, free for Android smartphones. With Cardboard Camera, users are able to record 360-degree panoramas for viewing with Cardboard VR headsets. The way it works is that it prompts the...

3

New hypergrid communities launched

The number of OpenSim-related communities on Google Plus is growing, in part due to simple subscription options, easy calendar updates, and Google allowing pseudonymous accounts. Altogether, there are 20 new communities on our list. The...

2

Gameface joins Valve’s VR ecosystem

San Francisco-based Gameface Labs, the company behind the all-in-one Gameface virtual reality headset, will be part of the Valve ecosystem, CEO Ed Mason told Hypergrid Business. The headset will also support Google Cardboard applications,...

13

Kitely switches to varregions

Kitely, OpenSim’s largest commercial grid by land area, announced today that it will switch all multi-region islands to varregion mode. Currently, customers renting these larger islands on the Kitely grid can choose to have them arranged...

2

New adult gaming grid opens on hypergrid

A new Paris-based grid, Utherworldz, is holding its grand opening today —  the second commercial gaming grid in a row to be hypergrid-enabled. In October, Neon Evolution held its grand opening with a fund raiser for the...

2

Three days left for OSCC 2015 registration

The 2015 OpenSim Community Conference starts this Saturday, leaving just three days to register. Registration is free here, but you can also choose to make a tax-deductible donation to support OpenSim development and get...

0

Verizon giving away free Star Wars-themed VR headsets

Select Verizon wireless retail stores will give away a limited number of Google Cardboard viewers to Verizon customers, the company announced today. The giveaway starts tomorrow, December 2, with four different designs featuring BB-8,...

3

Apple buys VR firm Faceshift

As the virtual- and augmented- reality wars heat up, Apple is making sure it stays competitive with occasional acquisitions such as AR pioneer Metaio and 3D sensor outfit PrimeSense. Now it’s adding another company to...

10

New release of OpenSim, Diva Distro is out

Crista Lopes has released a new update of the Diva Distro version of OpenSim, used by many individuals and small groups for private OpenSim deployments and hypergrid-enabled mini-grids, to accompany the recent general release...

8

CtrlAltStudio viewer development to cease

CtrlAltStudio viewer developer David Rowe said he plants to stop work on the viewer, which is the only OpenSim viewer that currently supports the Oculus Rift. Linden Lab has an experimental viewer for the Oculus...

0

Realiteer offers unique control options

Realiteer, a virtual reality company with a unique control mechanism, has released its first educational game, Wizard Academy for iOS and Android devices. I’m mentioning it here because it has a couple of game...

27

OpenSim passes 70,000 regions

OpenSim crossed the 70,000 region milestone this month, with a new land area total of 71,034 standard region equivalents. It also crossed the 34,000 active users mark for the first time. OSgrid, Metropolis and Kitely were...

2

Kitely Market nears 12,000 listings

There are now 6,097 different products listed on the Kitely Market, in 11,847 product variations — 7,189 of which are exportable. Kitely groups items together, so that, say, a red version of a dress...

3

8 insights from latest VR survey

Greenlight VR and Touchstone Research released the results of their survey of over 2,000 respondents this past week about attitudes towards virtual reality. Here are some highlights. 1. Gen-Z Rules Despite a perception among some...

20

Second Life GDP totals $500 million

Second Life’s economy has a GDP of around $500 million, CEO Ebbe Altberg told The Next Web. According to Altberg, users cashed out a total in excess of $60 million last year. One user has sold...

6

15 new WordPress themes for consultants

With virtual reality exploding, this is a great time for virtual world experts to repackage themselves as virtual reality consultants and start putting their hard-won expertise to work. Whether your focus is training and...

2

Skilled gaming comes to Virtual Life grid

Virtual Life is now home to a couple of new skill-based games that offer visitors a chance to win real money, grid founder and CEO Keith Sparkman told Hypergrid Business. Froggy Leisure, a gaming...

1

YouTube updates app for VR

YouTube has updated its Android app, the company announced yesterday, with better support for virtual reality. The app first added an option to watch videos in immersive 3D with the Google Cardboard-compatible headset back...

64

Four grids cut land prices

Just in time for the holiday season, four grids are lowering land prices or offering special holiday deals. 3rd Rock Grid A week ago, 3rd Rock Grid program director Zinnia Frenzy contacted Hypergrid Business to...

0

HTC, Sony shine at Paris Games Week

HTC’s Vive virtual reality  headset has received the Best Accessory at Paris Games Week, and Sony’s Playstation VR received the Technical Innovation prize at the world’s second-largest video game trade fair, the organization announced....

0

UK supermarket offers VR Halloween experience

UK supermarket Asda has launched a virtual reality Halloween experience on its YouTube channel, and the video quickly became the second-most-watched video on the supermarket’s channel, with more than a million views in just a...

0

Apple’s first public VR move is U2 video

Aside from some patents, Apple has been very quiet on the virtual reality front. While many iPhone users are enjoying virtual reality applications and immersive videos, they are using Google Cardboard-compatible headsets. Today, Apple...

1

75% of top brands have VR projects

According to Virtual Reality Brand Power Index released this morning by YouVisit, 75 percent of the Forbes World’s Most Valuable Brands have created some form of virtual or augmented reality experience for customers or employees,...

49

Littlefield amps up content protection

Many grids, especially those with unique or specialized content, struggle with content protection issues. Both closed and open grids have problems with copybotters, while hypergrid-enabled grids also have the additional risk to scripts. Grids...

0

IDC names A&VR an ‘innovation accelerator’

Framingham, Mass.-based research firm International Data Corp. announced today that augmented and virtual reality is one of six key “innovation accelerators” the company will be devoting additional research focus to. “Innovation accelerators are the...

2

AuraVisor two-thirds funded after one day

UK-based AuraVisor launched a Kickstarter campaign Wednesday to raise $153,000 for a new all-in-one virtual reality headset that requires neither a PC nor a smartphone, and already raised more than $100,000. The headset is expected to...

0

LucidCam launches crowdfunder for VR camera

Sunnyvale, California startup LucidCam promises to make virtual reality filming accessible to anyone with a $600 hand-sized camera that films in 180 degrees. And the company just launched a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo offering the...

0

OSVR headsets available for pre-order

OSVR, the open source alternative to the Oculus Rift, is now available for pre-order from Razer for $300. “The current stock we have is being shipped to areas in the US and the EU,” the...

0

Hoosier Hysteria to be live-streamed in VR

Indiana’s basketball season officially opens this Saturday, October 24, with the first game live-streamed in virtual reality. The Mark Cuban Center for Sports Media and Technology introduces virtual reality to their fans with their new...

20

US Army working on browser-based viewer for OpenSim

The Army’s Research Laboratory Simulation and Training Technology Center has begun work on a browser-based viewer for OpenSim that uses WebGL, HTML 5 and Javascript technology. “The initial work was done using our MOSES Grid Manager that...

0

HTC Vive demos in 15 cities this weekend

HTC will be holding demos of its Vive headset tonight and tomorrow in fifteen cities across the United States as a promotion for the new Paranormal Activity movie. I have tried the Vive headset,...

1

OSCC conference extended to second day

The 2015 OpenSimulator Community Conference, scheduled for Saturday, December 5, has been extended into Sunday. “On the second day the OSCC grid will be open,” said Crista Lopes, hypergrid inventor and OpenSim core developer. “There...

1

Official OpenSim conference slated for December

AvaCon announced the third annual OpenSimulator Community Conference 2015, to take place virtually on the OpenSimulator Conference Center grid on December 5, 2015. The OpenSimulator Community Conference is an annual conference that focuses on the...

4

YrGrid connects to 40 grids

The casino-themed YrGrid, also known for its Bitcoin-based currency, announced today that it has opened its doors to the wider metaverse by granting hypergrid access to around forty other virtual worlds. Those grids include 3rd Rock...

0

VR headset hits Russian retail chains

Moscow-based Fibrum Ltd., known for its excellent virtual reality apps, has put Russia in the lead in the virtual reality hardware race — temporarily, at least — by getting its headset into retail chains...

1

Merge VR goggles hitting UK retail counters

San Antonio, Texas-based Merge VR has announced that it’s purple virtual reality goggles, made out of soft foam, will be available at 320 UK retail outlets in time for the holidays. The Google Cardboard-compatible...

1

Google Cardboard hits 15 million installs

The Google Cardboard virtual reality application has been installed 15 million times, Google said in an announcement yesterday. The app, typically one of the first installed when a customer buys a smartphone-based virtual reality...

0

SlotsMillion launches casino for Oculus Rift

SlotsMillion, an online casino company, has released a virtual reality app for the Oculus Rift and announced that it is giving away ten Oculus Rift headsets to players. For every 100 Euro bet, players get...

0

Tangle Grid’s Halloween Expo starts today

Tangle Grid‘s Halloween Expo opened for business today and will run through November 15. But the grid is still accepting exhibitors. “We are looking for creators that would like to show their creation in...

1

Neon Grid holds grand opening tonight

The Las Vegas-themed Neon Grid is having a grand-opening party tonight at 8 p.m. Pacific at the Landing Strip Club on its Welcome Center region. The grid is among the few — possibly, the only–...

3

AvatarFest set for mid-November

The OpenSim community has come together for a user-focused event next month, AvatarFest 2015. The event will run from November 13 through 16, with the exhibit and performance submission deadline on November 7. See the...

1

Real estate company works virtually

There’s been a recent trend with real estate companies to create virtual walk-throughs of properties for prospective customers. But one company, eXp Realty, has taken this a step further and actually has its offices in...

0

View-Master headset first to hit major retailers

This Christmas shopping season promises to be a good one for virtual reality, with a $30 View-Master virtual reality headset hitting the market just about now. This is brightly-colored headset from Mattel that is...

0

WearVR catalogs virtual reality apps

Trying to find new virtual reality apps? Check out WearVR, which catalogs nearly 1,000 virtual reality applications for all major platforms. Apps can be sorted by newest, highest rated and most popular, and can...

0

Shot hopes to be Instragram of VR

Virtual reality cameras cost hundreds — or thousands — of dollars. But Shot, a startup based in Spain, hopes to bring the price down to under $100 with a new Kickstarter campaign by combining fisheye...

0

Adult Metaverse crosses 1,000 member mark

The Adult Metaverse community on Google Plus has just crossed the 1,000 member mark. With 135 new members since the start of August, it is the fastest-growing OpenSim-specific community on the platform. DigiWorldz was...

1

Microsoft may be working on a Cardboard clone

With around 2 million Google Cardboard devices already in user hands, and Taobao and AliBaba alone selling 300,000 additional units a month, mobile-based virtual reality is going gangbusters. The iOS app store and Google...

0

Alibaba, Taobao selling 300,000 VR headsets a month

According to a report released earlier this month by Shanghai-based Interface News, China’s two leading online commerce platform,  Taobao and AliBaba, together sell more than 300,000 virtual reality headsets every month, with lower-cost headsets...

1

Bright Canopy returns on Wednesday

Bright Canopy, the browser-based streaming access service for Second Life and OpenSim, is coming back on Wednesday after a three-week outage. The service launched at the end of August to great reviews but was hit...

0

YouVisit livestreams TechCrunch Disrupt in VR

Want to attend the TechCrunch Disrupt conference but can’t make it in person? Being there in virtual reality might be the next best thing. Today, YouVisit is livestreaming the conference via its free virtual...

0

Visit the Steam Expo on Tangle Grid

Tangle Grid’s 2015 Steam Expo has been drawing both local residents and hypergrid visitors, grid owner grid owner Leslie Kling told Hypergrid Business. And each event seems to draw more and more people, she added,...

0

The Vive demo blew me away

I have tried on my share of headsets. The Oculus Rift development kits. The various Google Cardboards and the higher-end smartphone-based headsets. The Fove. Let me just say that even if I didn’t know...

0

Sony renames Project Morpheus as PlayStation VR

Sony announced the new name for the Project Morpheus headset: PlayStation VR. “The name ‘PlayStation VR’ not only directly expresses an entirely new experience from PlayStation that allows players to feel as if they are...

8

AviWorlds launches Facebook app

AviWorlds now has a Facebook app that allows people to take pictures in-world and post them to Facebook. Many other grids have Facebook pages, but the only other commercial grids with Facebook apps are Island...

26

Digital Lisbon raising funds for grid hosting

Virtual city recreation project Digital Lisbon, currently a part of the AviWorlds grid, has launched a crowd-funding campaign on IndieGoGo to set up its own, dedicated world. Founder Carlos Loff is looking to raise $2,000,...

11

New record highs for OpenSim grids

OpenSim grids saw continued steady growth this month, with total region counts, user numbers, and monthly actives all reaching new record highs. There are now the equivalent of 65,122 standard regions on OpenSim’s 317 active public...

0

Pirate’s Atoll grid moves to DigiWorldz

Pirate’s Atoll announced today that the grid is moving to DigiWorldz. The Atoll has been a small, hypergrid-enabled standalone minigrid hosted with Oliveira Virtual Lands. Grid owner John Simmons, also known as Strannik Zipper in-world, said that...

0

Automaker Mini giving away free VR headsets

Mini USA, the company behind the iconic Mini Cooper, has just jumped on the free Google Cardboard bandwagon. They’re following in the footsteps of several other companies that have been giving away virtual reality...

0

Beethoven coming to VR and a van near you

If you live in Los Angeles, keep an eye out for the VAN Beethoven customized truck. The Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra has created a new virtual reality experience for the Oculus Rift, the opening...

0

GDC calls for VR submissions

Next year’s Game Developers Conference, to be held in March in San Francisco, will be accompanied by a brand-new event, the Virtual Reality Developers Conference, and is accepting submissions now for its gaming track and...

0

Marriott loans Gear VR headsets to hotel guests

Press release: Marriott Hotels Introduces The First Ever In-Room Virtual Reality Travel Experience Bethesda, Md – Marriott Hotels today announced the launch of “VRoom Service” – a first-of-its-kind guest service that allows guests to order inspiring...

2

DigiWorldz launches affiliate program

DigiWorldz has announced a referral and affiliate program for residents, bloggers, and anyone else who would like to bring new users to the grid and earn a commission on all future land payments. This...

0

Las Vegas’ Neon Museum comes to Gear VR

Las Vegas’ Neon Museum released a virtual reality app for the Oculus Rift last year and was ported to the iPhone and Android last spring for viewing with Google Cardboard-compatible headsets. Now the app...

9

Top virtual reality blogs

Virtual reality is a fast-changing field, and is about to explode. Stay on top of the news by subscribing to the top blogs on the subject. The page authority numbers are from Open Site...

0

Scienverse delays Kickstarter by ten days

The Scienceverse Kickstarter, originally scheduled to begin today, has been postponed until September 10. The company plans to build an open source virtual reality platform that supports social interactions and third-party app development. It...

0

Kat Walk raises $150,000 in Kickstarter

Kat Walk, a new type of omnidirectional treadmill, successfully raised nearly $150,000 in its Kickstarter, on an original goal of $100,000. This was enough to meet its $120,000 stretch goal, which was to put little wheels...

0

There’s a VR headset in that cereal box

On Saturday night, Mal Burns joked that virtual reality headsets are now like the AOL disks — they’re everywhere. All we need now is to see them in cereal boxes. With prices of $5 or...