Paris-based Uraniom has developed a platform that allows gamers to convert 3D scans of themselves into playable avatars, using Intel’s RealSense 3D camera. CEO Loik Ledoux describes the technology.
SAN FRANCISCO — Intel does not plan to build its own virtual reality headset but instead is focusing on its partners working in the field as a way to help boost to PC sales.
“Intel is extremely excited about virtual reality,” said Kim Pallister, director of Intel’s virtual reality center of excellence. “It’s a great example of how an open platform like the PC allows people to innovate,” he said.
Not only do games drive PC sales, but they also cause consumers to buy more powerful computers than they might otherwise purchase, he said.
Virtual reality, which is even more computationally demanding, is a further push.
Pallister spoke at a press event Wednesday night
during the Game Developers Conference taking place in San Francisco this week.
There had been rumors that Intel was working on its own virtual reality headset, but Pallister was firm that the company was not.
“We don’t have any plans to produce a virtual reality headset,” he said. The company’s focus is instead on working with partners who are producing the headsets, helping them use Intel’s computer chips to their best advantage.
Intel is continually working with developers and device manufactures, pushing to make its products relevant in new markets, said Brian Blau, a research director with analysis firm the Gartner Group.
“They’re a technology company, they’re not a consumer product company.”
Intel’s interest of the VR market fits with its ongoing efforts to hedge its financial bets against a slowing PC market. The arena leverage its 3D depth-sensing technology, called RealSense.
At this year’s Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas in January, for example, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich ran through a dizzying array of gadgets, inventions and experiences all featuring Intel partners taking advantage of various Intel-inside technologies.
Intel has been making moves in the space for some time. It bought augmented reality sports goggle maker Recon Instruments in July and has also partnered with headset maker IonVR. In March it bought Replay Technologies, an Israeli startup that is working to create 360-degree sports videos.
The market for both virtual and augmented reality is estimated to be enormous moving forward. In the first nine weeks of 2016 firms in the arena netted $1.1 billion in venture funding, a 400% jump over last quarter, according to industry advisors Digi-Capital.
At the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, women who work in the growing field of virtual reality talk about why it’s important they’re involved. Theresa Chong reports. Theresa Chong for USA TODAY
Bringing more women into gaming
In other news, Intel announced at the event that it will fund two scholarships for women at the University of California at Santa Cruz’ masters degree in Games and Playable Media.
“We have supported a number of different activities to make the gaming industry more diverse,” said Lee Machen, Intel’s director of developer relations.
The company is in the process of choosing two women for the 2016-2017 school year, he said. With time Intel plans to expand that to include African Americans and Hispanics, both groups that are not well represented in tech or gaming.
“Overall, the goal is to increase the number of women and underrepresented minority’s in the game development business,” he said.
Women, he noted, play games in equal numbers to men. “If that’s the case, then why are there so many more men than women in game development and competitive gaming? I’m trying to dig into that, to find the causes and the solutions,” he said.
Follow Elizabeth Weise at the Intel event in San Francisco at @eweise.
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