• Nintendo Labo VR Getting Best Buy Demos This Weekend
    Nintendo Switch VR Games Labo

    A new VR headset is releasing this week. No, not Rift S, Quest or Index. It’s actually Nintendo Labo VR, a makeshift device for the company’s Switch console. Like you, we’re eager to dive into the kit an learn what it’s all about. If you’re still on the fence, though, you’ll be able to do that before you purchase one.

    Best Buy will be holding in-store, hands-on demos with Nintendo Labo VR this Sunday, April 14th. The company will hold the demos from 10:30am to 2:30pm. You can book a slot at a participating store through this website. Expect to get demos from the new line of peripherals that includes blasters, wind pedals and, uh, an elephant trunk. Then you can pick one up, head home and build it yourself.

    That is a few days after Labo VR launches, mind you. The kit arrives on April 12th with either just the blaster or the whole slew of add-ons. Each comes with its own minigames to play and then there are more than 60 others to in the VR Garage. You can even make your own games with a relatively simple editor.

    Nintendo Labo VR is mainly intended for kids, but hardcore VR fans have reason to pay attention too. Later this month Nintendo will update both Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild with VR support. The former will include three new mini-missions to play through whereas the latter will be playable start to finish in VR. Needless to say, we can’t wait to get out hands on that.

    Tagged with: Nintendo Labo VR

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  • Real-Time Strategy Title GODS Looks for Kickstarter Support It'll support Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Nintendo Switch, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR.
  • Sony Patents Prescription Glasses With Eye-Tracking To Use With VR Headset
    Sony patent eye-tracking 2

    Well, this is an interesting little design. Sony has patented what looks like a pair of prescription glasses for use with VR headsets like PSVR. Not only that, but the glasses include eye-tracking sensors.

    The patent, published last week, doesn’t showcase a new VR headset with its own eye-tracking capabilities. Instead, it’s concerned with a pair of prescription glasses to fit inside such a headset. VR headsets have had an uneven history with supporting glasses; some accommodate them quite easily and other major ones don’t. Designing custom glasses intended for use with a headset could help Sony bring in more VR enthusiasts for PSVR or perhaps the unannounced PSVR 2.

    But it’s the inclusion of an eye-tracking sensor that makes this patent really interesting. The patent says that the sensor is able to determine “gaze information of the user in order to improve quality of content provided for rendering on the head mounted display.”

    To us, that sounds a lot like foveated rendering. That’s a process in which a headset tracks the position of the user’s eyes and fully renders the area of the screen in the center of their vision. The rest of the image isn’t fully rendered, but this is unnoticeable in the user’s peripheral vision. This greatly reduces the processing power demanded on the machine running the VR experience.

    The question is, why would these glasses include the eye-tracking sensor and not the headset itself? We can think of several reasons. Perhaps, for example, these glasses could be used in tandem with the current PSVR headset, which doesn’t feature eye-tracking. PSVR is home to great experiences, but it’s no secret that the PS4 that powers it pales in comparison to PCs running the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Implementing foveated rendering into the current setup could really give PSVR a boost.

    Or perhaps it’s simply that using these glasses disrupts an eye-tracking sensor already embedded in the next version of PSVR. As such, the sensor in the glasses simply replaces the other one. Or it could be neither of those things. At a time in which companies are striving to make VR more accessible, we have to wonder if Sony would really ask people to buy glasses specifically designed for use with headsets.

    This is just the latest in a series of patents we’ve seen from Sony in 2019. Last month we reported on what looked a wireless version of PSVR. Back in February we also spotted some new features for a long-running controller patent that could replace PlayStation Move. Still, with so many great PSVR games coming this year, we wouldn’t expect to see the headset’s successor in 2019.

    Tagged with: eye tracking, patents, PSVR 2, sony

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  • New Boneworks Video Showcases How Realistic VR Physics Work Stress Level Zero has shown off an early level.
  • Sci-Fi London Film Festival 2019 Returns in May With a Selection of 360 & VR Shorts The festival will also be hosting the secretive #HACKSTOCK: 5.
  • Game Of Thrones’ Kit Harington Plays An Intolerable VR Character On SNL

    Jon Snow can’t keep his mouth shut in this VR-related sketch from last nights SNL. Anyone familiar with video games probably has a story or two about a particularly infuriating NPC (non-playable character) that severely dampened their gaming experience. Perhaps an annoying quest-giver constantly hounding you about menial objectives or a cumbersome side-character that keeps

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  • Boneworks Feels Like The First Next Generation VR Game
    boneworks logo stress level zero

    Boneworks from Stress Level Zero feels like the first game of PC VR’s second generation.

    The small team based in Los Angeles previously developed Duck Season and Hover Junkers. In Boneworks, they are applying years of refinement to physics, locomotion and object handling systems. You can feel the effort every second inside their virtual world.

    A recent demo of Boneworks from Stress Level Zero co-founder Brandon Laastch shows interactions tuned to a degree I’ve never seen before. First I held, loaded and fired a one-handed pistol. I dropped the gun, grabbed a bigger one, racked it with my other hand and started firing. I decided to steady it with my second hand for better control and it just worked. I also grabbed an axe with one hand and steadied it with the other.

    During my demo, Laatsch told me to release my index finger from the right hand of the axe. My virtual hand loosened its grip, letting me find a better spot to grip for maximum hacking power. I also took a few swings of the crowbar before resorting to just good old-fashioned robot punching. Boneworks even enables throwing objects and then “force” grabbing them back to your hand just by making a fist with your index and middle fingers. Magazines are attached to my body. I look down and see them there for easy reloading. Larger guns store on my back for later so my hands are free to grab more things in the world.

    I turned my body to the right, pushed the thumbstick forward on my controller and started exploring the demo level.

    “Thus far, VR content has asked gamers to lose some core features of gaming in exchange for some new exciting ones,” Laastch explained in an email. “With Boneworks, we want to show gamers and developers that a VR player controller can exist that maintains all action/adventure genre staples while adding incredible agency due to precise tracked controllers. By removing as many ‘two steps forward, one step back’ examples and only presenting the expected experience plus a ton of new exciting gameplay, we can massively interest gamers and developers in VR gaming.”

    What I’ve described about Boneworks might sound simple — other developers do some of these things with their software — but not to the degree and the level of execution on display here. There are still plenty of interactions in many VR games which are huge barriers. In Boneworks, it seemed like those barriers are practically gone. What that leaves a player with in their virtual world is a sense of empowerment.

    “It is the job of the software to blend user input into an expected, responsive, and visually pleasing result,” Laatsch wrote. “For twenty-plus years, gamers have been shown increasingly high fidelity first-person animations in AAA games. In order for VR to go massively mainstream, the end visual result of the hands – both inside and outside of the headset – need to match the fidelity of hand-keyed first-person animations. By doing this, we remove a

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  • The VR Job Hub: Blackwall Labs, Alchemy VR, Pebble Studios & KageNova Ignore Brexit and look at all these jobs in sunny England.
  • Worlds Largest Earth Day Event Will Use VR & AR To Empower People Across The Globe

    Immersive storytelling will have you looking at environmental issues in an impactful new way. 2019 will be an important year for Earth Day. Climate change, ocean pollution, and animal extinction are rising at a rapid pace. Planet Earth is in big trouble, and it needs powerful and innovative ways to spread environmental awareness to educate

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  • IKINEMA Updates Motion Capture Solution Orion, Improving VR Character Animation Creating characters that move realistically is about to get easier.
  • How Iron Man VR landed on PlayStation VR
    How Iron Man VR landed on PlayStation VR

    For Ryan Payton, the moment of truth is drawing near. A few years ago, he convinced Jay Ong, the head of Marvel Games, to entrust him with Iron Man.

    Payton’s studio, Camafloj, finally revealed what it was doing this week with Iron Man VR. They have been trying to perfect Iron Man’s flights of fancy in the three-dimensional spaces of virtual reality. I tried it out, and the experience is immersive. You point the PlayStation Move controllers, with your palms down and pressing buttons so that you can fire your thrusters and move upward in VR.

    You can point a palm at an enemy and fire your Repulsor Beams. The motions are a lot like the fantasy of being Iron Man, and that’s the way Payton wants it. I talked to him at a recent Sony event about making the Iron Man of his dreams and bringing it to the world. The game debuts in 2019 on PlayStation VR.

    Here’s an edited transcript of our interview.

    Above: Ryan Payton is head of Camoflaj Studios in Seattle.

    Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

    GamesBeat: How did you get connected with Marvel?

    Ryan Payton: I was a journalist way back in the day. One of the folks I used to work with was Bryan Intihar, one of my best friends. Eventually, he became creative director on Spider-Man. Around the time they announced at E3 2016, he introduced me to Jay Ong, the head of Marvel Games, in the Marriott lobby, where all biz dev happens at E3. From there it was a snowball effect. I knew I’d love to work with Marvel and it seemed like they wanted to work with us on a VR game.

    One thing led to another, and next thing I knew we were working with Marvel on Iron Man VR. We eventually created a partnership with Sony, and they’ve been extremely supportive. They’ve always been about wanting to enable developers like Camouflaj to make not just an experimental game, but a full-fledged real game for PlayStation VR. That’s what we’ve been doing for the past two-and-a-half years.

    GamesBeat: What had you done before that? Have you done anything else in VR?

    Payton: Our first foray into VR was actually doing a VR port for our first game a company, which was called Republique. We did a game called Republique VR, which was a launch title for Oculus Go. We were working on that with a small team while the majority of the team — it’s a 50-plus person team up in Seattle — was working on Iron Man VR. If you include contract help at the moment, we’re well over 60 people on the game right now.

    GamesBeat: What sort of story did you come up with? Is it related to the movies?

    Payton: Iron Man VR is a completely original story, built from the ground up. We obviously take some inspiration from the comics of the films, but it’s an original story. That’s one of the things we first started off with, working with Bill Roseman, the creative director of Marvel Games. How can we create an

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  • PokerStars VR Adds Sit & Go Tournaments In Latest Update There are even more ways to play.
  • Nintendo Labo VR Will Support ‘Breath Of The Wild’ & ‘Mario Odyssey’

    Nintendo announces VR support for two of its biggest properties. In a video released yesterday via the official Nintendo Twitter account, the company announced that support for Nintendo Labo VR would be heading to both Super Mario Odyssey and Zelda: Breath of the Wild in the form of a free update April 25th, just two

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  • EGX Rezzed 2019: Great for Gamers, Just not VR Fans Lots going on but the VR content was sparse.
  • Ubisoft has Plenty of Updates Planned for Space Junkies, Including PlayStation Move Support There are plenty of features in development.