Immersive media company Matterport have just announced they’re to make available what they claim is the world’s largest collection of VR-focussed real-world models and locations in a bid to become a source of experiences for VR consumers.
Update: The original version of this article stated that Matterport’s content library would be opened up to developers to use said assets in their own applications. This was an error and the article below has been update to reflect this.
Matterport specialise in the capture of real-world places via photogrammetry for use in immersive applications. You may already have experienced some of their work via the GearVR, where their application, which allows you to traverse photo-scanned environments, was one of the first to appear for the Gear VR. The company claims to have some 300,000 real-world ‘spaces’ captured and banked to date, having focused on pushing the next generation of real-estate applications for some time.
Now, the company is set to make their extensive library of real-world locations available to everyone. The company have announced today an initiative that allows any consumer to experience these virtual places via their CoreVR ecosystem in VR for free. The press release from Matterport states “For those 3D Spaces with the free CoreVR option, CoreVR will remain available for as long as the content is hosted on Matterport. After 2016, content publishers can simply select the CoreVR option for only $19 per new 3D space. With the CoreVR feature integrated directly into Matterport Showcase, users can transition quickly from the Web to VR.”
Matterport are selling the move as “a major leap forward for the VR ecosystem as it makes the world’s largest library of 3D Spaces immediately available to everyone, and offers an easy and highly scale-able way to capture more real-world places in 3D and then share those spaces in VR.” A fairly bold move, although it’s key to point out that these are ultimately assets not ‘experiences’ in and of themselves.
“Like any new platform, VR needs content to grow, and with the new CoreVR option, Matterport delivers a huge library of real-world VR content and the most effective and scalable option to allow anyone to create a VR experience of a space,” said Bill Brown, CEO of Matterport. “Matterport is excited to bring this capability to its thousands of camera owners and to millions of consumers visiting Matterport Spaces. We believe in the power of VR to help us achieve our vision of giving people the power to experience any place at any time.”
Matterport state they’ve managed to acquire such a vast array of assets so quickly as a result of their easily accessible Pro 3D camera and pipeline. The Matterport 3D Pro camera integrates multiple RGB and depth sensing elements and spins 360 degrees as it captures a scene. The resulting data can be used to assemble a full colour stereoscopic model of an interior space.
It’s an interesting move by the company, but it’ll be interesting to see how VR consumers respond to what Matterport terms a “giveaway” of over “$5M of VR content”. I suspect the nosy nature of most will mean the content, allowing a peek inside structures from around the world, might find a keen audience.