VR startup Upload shuts down its offices as funding from Oculus founder Palmer Luckey runs out

Upload, the VR startup which was rocked by a sexual harassment suit precisely one yr in the past, is shutting down each its San Francisco workplace and its 20,000 sq. foot Los Angeles co-working area because it struggles to safe new funding, a number of sources inform TechCrunch.

All the firm’s LA staff had been laid off yesterday. The corporate’s SF workplace lease has already been taken over. The startup’s VR-focused commerce publication, UploadVR, which operates independently of the corporate’s different ventures, has not been affected but, sources inform us.

The layoffs and workplace shut downs come as the corporate has had hassle elevating new funding and managing its repute following a bombastic lawsuit from the corporate’s former social media supervisor that landed the startup on the front-page of the New York Times and on a CNN particular function speaking concerning the firm’s poisonous office atmosphere.

The sexual harassment and wrongful termination lawsuit, which we first reported, alleged — amongst different issues — that the corporate had a “kink room” with a mattress in its workplace the place male staff had intercourse. As the corporate wrestled with the fallout, at the least one further former feminine worker was additionally threatening to sue the corporate’s management over sexual harassment claims, a supply tells us.

Within the aftermath of the lawsuit, the corporate introduced on CircleClick CEO Anne Ward as COO to show issues round on the troubled startup. Ward left the corporate just six weeks later, and shortly despatched a stop and desist letter threatening a restraining order towards Add CEO Taylor Freeman and President Will Mason after what she alleged was “repeated harassment.”

Although the preliminary lawsuit was later settled out of court, the unhealthy habits didn’t finish there for Add. In a subsequent incident, an worker on the startup was reported to administration for having intercourse with a consumer within the workplace. That worker was not fired and the one that reported them later stop, we’re advised.

Regardless of few of their firm’s earlier traders eager to have something to do with them, the co-founders have managed to maintain issues afloat thanks to non-public investments from a detailed good friend of theirs, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey.

“No person else will contact them however the Nazi sympathizer,” a former Add govt advised TechCrunch.

A number of sources inform us that Luckey has personally invested as a lot as $2.5 million in Add to maintain the corporate working after it spent by means of the final of a $four.5 million Collection A which it had raised in late 2016 from Colopl, Normal Catalyst and others. The Oculus founder, who left Fb practically one yr in the past following an prolonged controversy swirling round his private politics, has maintained a detailed relationship with the corporate’s management however has been reluctant to take a position additional.

Luckey didn’t reply to a request for remark. We’ve reached out to Add for remark.

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Oculus' Santa Cruz VR headset proves the future of VR is wireless


The way forward for VR is wi-fi.

At present, Oculus introduced that its standalone VR headset prototype, the Santa Cruz, will probably be obtainable to builders within the subsequent 12 months. The corporate did not present additional particulars of when precisely that might be, however they had been giving demos of its newest prototype at its Oculus Join convention and I used to be capable of take the most recent model for a spin.

I used to be impressed with the demo I had last year of the early prototype, though it was a reasonably restricted proof-of-concept greater than anything. So I used to be excited to see that Fb has made vital progress within the final 12 months. Read more…

Extra about Tech, Facebook, Gaming, Virtual Reality, and Oculus Rift

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New STAR WARS VR Experience Coming to Disney Parks

In 2019, you’ll be capable of step out of our world and into the galaxy far, far-off with Disney Parks’ Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge expansions. I do know 2019 isn’t precisely across the nook, however Disney is providing up a unique sort of immersive Star Wars expertise for the upcoming vacation season with Star Wars: Secrets and techniques of the Empire. Star Wars. Disney. They’d me at good day.

Information of this distinctive galactic enterprise comes from StarWars.com. Secrets and techniques of the Empire from ILMxLAB and The Void can be opening at Downtown Disney at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California and Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida in two new expertise facilities. It’s been dubbed a “social, and multi-sensory expertise, together with interplay with associates, followers, and Star Wars characters.” They’re calling it hyper-reality, which they are saying is a mix of digital actuality, superior tech, and illusions.

The presence of the Empire and an Imperial safety droid like K-2SO in idea artwork place the story within the authentic trilogy period. Whereas no particular particulars about story or locations have been launched, that artwork does present Mustafar. Ooh. Possibly it’s within the Star Wars Rebels timeline? Because the expertise will embody touching senses past sight, together with what friends hear, contact, and scent as they develop into an lively a part of the story, it’s suited to wrap guests in iconic places from the Star Wars universe.

The Void has beforehand performed a hyper actuality expertise for Ghostbusters. Watch the beneath video to see what they did for Ghostbusters and picture that sort of element utilized to Star Wars.

Will you be transporting your self to take a look at Secrets and techniques of the Empire? Head to the feedback and inform us your hopes for the hyper actuality expertise.

Photographs: The Void/ILMxLAB

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