San Francisco-based VR pioneer Tony Parisi is joining Venice, California-based startup WEVR. As Vice President of Platform Products at WEVR, he’ll be working on technologies that could make it easier to make and distribute VR experiences for a broader range of developers on a variety of platforms.
WEVR (pronounced like “weaver”) has only released a few public VR experiences including theBlu and Virtual Brainload. TheBlu launched early with Gear VR and a version of it is among the first things people see if they try Vive. The startup received a $10 million investment from HTC this summer and, behind-the-scenes, it has been working on VR technologies for internal and partner projects, including a “VR media player.” That is one of the technologies Parisi will be working on at WEVR.
WEVR’s 360-degree video player can run mono or stereoscopic video as well as positional or surround sound audio, with an interaction system that would allow a person to “gaze at different parts of the video” and tap to access more of the story. The software could represent a flexible tool that would allow WEVR to create interactive content that could span the breadth of head-mounted VR displays, from simple Cardboard players on up to the Rift and Vive. WEVR is looking to eventually release the player for broader use.
“We want to be on all the platforms and we want VR video to play on all the platforms,” Parisi said in a phone interview.
Parisi has been working since the ‘90s on browser-based 3D graphics and VR technologies, including WebVR. Getting good VR experiences out of a browser window is a difficult challenge as 2016 consumer VR usually requires direct access to graphics chips churning out 90 frames-per-second in front of people’s eyes. Today’s browsers are hitting bottlenecks for VR.
“WEVR is excited about the possibilities around WebVR. Prior to joining WEVR I had been working closely with the teams at Chrome and Firefox on creating experiences for their early WebVR releases,” Parisi wrote in an email. “The big bottleneck right now is the speed of head tracking, and we’re hoping that the browsers can break through this soon.”
Parisi is an adviser to UploadVR and a mentor for the Rothenberg Ventures VR/AR startup accelerator.