The content AP is creating with AMD's tools would, at least for the time being, scale to high-end VR headsets as well as cheaper phone-powered ones and even non-VR web browsers. AP has already been producing that kind of content, including a warehouse tour called "Rush Delivery" and a 360-degree news report from a migrant camp in Calais, France.
Sasa Marinkovic, AMD’s global head of VR marketing, said AMD is focused on making its tools interactive for viewers and providing the highest image quality possible. “This is what excited us at AMD, to bring this new medium to all these different areas where VR is going to be radically changing the experience of the content,” Marinkovic said.
The kind of top-of-the-line VR experiences that headsets such as the Oculus Rift will provide require lots of computing and graphical horsepower. When Oculus Rift went on pre-sale in early January, it warned buyers that the headset would require a very powerful gaming PC to operate using either graphics hardware from AMD or its competitor, Nvidia. PC manufacturers including Dell, its gaming line Alienware and Asus have responded by introducing PCs specifically geared to Oculus. Hardware that can handle VR can make the experience smoother and less prone to making people motion-sick, Marinkovic said.
Paul Cheung, director of interactive and digital news production at AP, said that VR is the latest in AP’s continuing adoption of new technologies, dating back to the wireless telegraph and radio. “VR promises to be the next revolution,” Cheung said. “It can get the user deep inside the story. For a lot of experiences we’re going to create, we really think about how the user interacts with the content with and without the headset.”
Though AP’s digital team utilizing VR is small, Cheung said, it will leverage its vast network of reporters to determine stories that could benefit from the technology. They’ll use a range of VR cameras as well as creating original computer-generated environments, he said.
The future of VR may also involve stand-alone headsets that don't require a tether to a PC. According to reports, Google is working on a headset that wouldn't require a phone or computer to power it. Marikovic would not say whether AMD is working on hardware to power such devices, but said AMD is always "Looking at the industry and exploring."