News

  • It’s Almost Time for Some Zero-G Echo Combat Mayhem Ready at Dawn’s co-op multiplayer arrives this week.
  • Echo Combat Costs $9.99, Launch Trailer Revealed
    Echo Combat Costs $9.99, Launch Trailer Revealed

    The long-anticipated expansion to Echo VR is nearly here, and we now know how much it’ll cost.

    Oculus and Ready At Dawn today confirmed that Echo Combat will cost $9.99 when it launches on the Oculus Rift on November 15th at 12pm PST. You’ll be able to purchase the expansion as a DLC pack either on the Oculus Store page or from directly within Echo VR via the main menu or terminals in the lobby. Echo VR’s base game, Echo Arena, will still be available for free. Enjoy the new launch trailer below.

    An Oculus Rift exclusive, Echo Combat provides a new twist on the zero-gravity gameplay first seen in Echo Arena and Lone Echo. You’ll take part in online battles in which you’ll seek to gun down other players as you throw yourself across arenas, protecting objectives and looking to destroy enemy targets.

    The game’s going to launch with an assortment of new maps and weapons. Oculus also revealed that it’s bumping team sizes from 3v3 to 4v4 and confirmed that the game will feature a new progression system in which you’ll gain experience in public matches to unlock new cosmetic customization options.

    Oculus says Ready At Dawn will continue to support the game throughout 2019, so expect even more content down the line.

    Elsewhere, Ready At Dawn is also working on the sequel to the single-player portion of the Echo universe, Lone Echo II. You can see a new 360-degree trailer inside your Rift right here.

    Tagged with: Echo Combat, Echo VR

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  • Population: ONE Dev BigBox VR Completes $5 Million Seed Round BigBox VR is currently developing battle royale title Population: ONE.
  • Review: Official Oculus Go Case Is The Way To Travel With VR
    Review: Official Oculus Go Case Is The Way To Travel With VR

    In the months since I purchased Oculus Go I lost the controller and found myself repeatedly unable to enjoy the headset because it was out of power. The official Oculus Go hard-shell carrying case should help with both these problems, in addition to its main job of protecting the device itself.

    The official Oculus Go case sells for $35 on Amazon or the Oculus website and provides the perfect amount of storage space for the Go headset, controller, micro USB cord, headphones and even an extra battery pack or your phone. The case comes with a soft interior surface the same color gray as the headset itself. Its main compartment is sized exactly for Oculus Go, though there’s also enough room to to plug in a power cord while it’s still inside the case. The only note I’d make here is that you might have to find a micro-USB cord with a plug that’s not too deep or rigid to fit in between the Go and the hard case.

    The compartment at front appears small in photos — and even in real life too — because it is actually designed so that the flap can flip upward if you store a couple things in it. I first tried to fit my battery pack and controller into the compartment and closed the flap over it only to be disappointed that it wouldn’t fit. Then I realized that when the flap flips upward any stuff in that compartment is kept in its place because it is backed up against the rigid front of the headset itself. So it fits fine with the flap upward. There’s even a little notch in the flap to run a power cord around to the headset. There’s also an adjustable divider in the front compartment.

    Recommendation: There are plenty of carrying cases available for VR headsets costing as little as $15 or $20, but you’re unlikely to find another one that fits Oculus Go as snugly as this one does.  You might pay a little extra for it at $35, but the hard shell and perfectly-sized storage compartments mean this case is neither too big nor too small while providing plenty of protection.

    Tagged with: Oculus Go

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  • Ubisoft’s VR Party Game Werewolves Within Is Getting A Movie (Really)
    Ubisoft’s VR Party Game Werewolves Within Is Getting A Movie (Really)

    Remember Werewolves Within? It was one of Ubisoft’s earliest (and, arguably, best) experiments with VR, bringing a classic party game concept into headsets and making human body language and tone a mechanic unto itself. It’s one of the few apps that really tried to capture the power of social VR.

    Anyways, it’s getting a movie. Yes, really.

    A new video from the game publisher posted last week announced the film alongside a TV adaptation of Child of Light. It’s going to be a live action film that adapts the core concept of the game. “It’s a live action horror-comedy about a small town who sort of takes justice into their own hands,” screenwriter Mishna Wolff (ha! Wolf!) explains. “I’m just tickled by the idea of private justice and that sort of got the ball rolling for me as to what kind of a story could be made out of that.”

    The film is spinning out of Ubisoft’s Women’s Film and Television Fellowship initiative. Other details like a director and potential launch window for the movie haven’t yet been announced.

    Of all the potential franchises for Ubisoft to adapt into a movie we have to say we weren’t expecting Werewolves Within to ever make the cut. That said, we also have to admit the basic concept for the game — trust no one and suspect everyone — could make for a really entertaining movie.

    Plus, who knows? If it does well then maybe we could see the series return to VR in the future once headsets are capable of taking its concepts even further.

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  • Make VR Even More Inviting With the Oculus Referral Program You get credit and they get a discount, it’s a win-win.
  • Virtually Learning: 10 things to consider when developing an educational VR app Steve Bambury talks developing apps for education.
  • One Of VR’s Best Artists Is Making An Oculus Quest Adventure In Quill
    One Of VR’s Best Artists Is Making An Oculus Quest Adventure In Quill

    Oculus Quest might not ever get the extensive creation mode found in its professional Rift art app, Quill, but it is getting a beautiful adventure made inside of it.

    Announced last week, The Last Oasis is a new VR experience from Goro Fujita, a Facebook Art Director responsible for countless incredible artworks made inside Quill. The piece is being designed specifically for Quest, which is Oculus’ first standalone VR headset to feature inside-out six degree of freedom (6DOF) tracking.

    The trailer above doesn’t tell you too much about the piece, save for some quick glimpses of it. It looks typically gorgeous, but we’re really interested in the different spaces Fujita is preparing and the traversal types used (at one point one player seems to be crawling through a vent to reach a new area).

    “Usually I create a painting and I choose my composition,” Fujita says in the video. “This was more about how do I design for space and how can I create different emotions in each space? So I used color language, different lighting, so when you dive into a new space, you feel different.”

    The Last Oasis will be on display at CTN from November 14th – 18th. There’s no word yet on how or when the experience will reach consumer Quests, which launch in spring of next year.

    Tagged with: Goro Fujita, The Last Oasis

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  • Astro Bot Rescue Mission Tops October PSVR Charts
    Astro Bot Rescue Mission Tops October PSVR Charts

    Sony’s Astro Bot Rescue Mission was, quite deservingly, the best-selling PSVR game on the PlayStation Store in October.

    The third-person platformer, which was developed by the company’s Japan Studio, topped the charts in both the US and EU for October. We don’t know the actual sales data for the game but that’s a good position to be in. What makes this all the more impressive is that Astro Bot wasn’t just sold via the PS Store; a physical copy hit retailers too along with a hardware bundle including a disc for the game, which these charts won’t account for.

    We loved Astro Bot, for its inventive gameplay. We said “it fuzes the thrill of seeing a virtual world come to life with the dependably engaging gameplay of one of gaming’s most beloved genres and explores what that can mean with fascinating results. It’s a refreshing reminder of just how astonishing VR can be when there’s nothing in your way, and it’s an absolutely essential experience for any PSVR owner.”

    Elsewhere, another big PSVR release, September’s Creed: Rise to Glory, came in second in the EU charts and seventh in the US. Whilst the game also had a physical edition that may have slowed its digital progress, the US store also hosted an exhaustive PSVR sale to celebrate the headset’s second-anniversary last month. With this in mind, we’re not surprised to see regulars like Superhot VR and Job Simulator ranking so highly.

    Sadly we don’t see any sign of Archiact’s impressive first-person shooter, Evasion, on either list. The game hit PSVR in early October.

    November is another big month for Sony’s headset with games like Deracine and Tetris Effect already released. There’s also a little game called Beat Saber on the way which is bound to have some sort of effect on the next set of charts.

    Tagged with: Astro Bot: Rescue Mission

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  • The Mage’s Tale Dev inXile Entertainment Acquired by Microsoft This could put in doubt future VR projects.
  • Microsoft Buys Mage’s Tale Dev inXile, New VR RPG Status ‘TBD’
    Microsoft Buys Mage’s Tale Dev inXile, New VR RPG Status ‘TBD’

    Microsoft just bought another big VR developer.

    inXile Entertainment, the developer of 2017’s excellent VR role-playing game (RPG), The Mage’s Tale, is joining Microsoft’s growing family of internal studios. The news broke this weekend an Xbox fan event where Microsoft also confirmed it was acquiring Fallout: New Vegas developer Obsidian. In a video announcing the news, inXile noted that the acquisition would allow the studio to continue developing the games it’s known for but at a higher level.

    Formed by games industry legend, Brian Fargo, inXile is best known for its deep RPGs, including Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera. It brought its signature style to VR last year with The Mage’s Tale, which let you cast spells and do battle with evil creatures initially on the Oculus Rift and then later on the HTC Vive.

    Shortly after the game’s initial release last year, though, we reported that inXile had raised $4.5 million in funding and was working on a new “open world survival RPG” for VR. Not only that, but the studio previously confirmed that it was bringing The Mage’s Tale to PSVR too. However, in tweets following the news, the studio noted that work on projects outside of Wasteland 3 and Bards Tale 4 were now ‘to be determined’.

    We’ll be keeping our backer commitments for #BardsTale4 and #Wasteland3. Beyond that is TBD. It’s early days yet.

    — InXile Entertainment (@Inxile_Ent) November 11, 2018

    We’ve reached out to inXile to find out if the PSVR port of Mage’s Tale and this open-world survival game, which a recent report suggests would be a Wasteland spin-off, are still on the way. It’s worth noting that Microsoft itself has had a somewhat shaky history with VR, apparently pulling out of plans to release a headset for its Xbox One X console in recent years, though it could be that the next console supports such a device.

    That said, Microsoft also acquired UK-based developer Ninja Theory earlier this year, and the studio released the excellent Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice VR after that announcement. There’s still hope for inXile’s continued work in VR, then.

    Tagged with: inxile entertainment

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  • Life In 360°: A Genie’s Offer Try some of column A, try all of column B…
  • Facebook Denies Firing Palmer Luckey Over Political Views
    Facebook Denies Firing Palmer Luckey Over Political Views

    Oculus parent company Facebook denied renewed claims that Rift inventor Palmer Luckey was fired for his political views.

    In September 2016 a story emerged in which the 26-year-old apparently claimed to have donated $10,000 to a political smear campaign against the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, and supporting the now-president Donald Trump. In a Facebook post following the story Luckey apologized for the impact of his actions but stated that he would be voting for Gary Johnson in the election. Then, in March of 2017, Facebook announced Luckey had parted ways with the company. Last month, he told CNBC that it was not his decision to leave.

    A Wall Street Journal report that surfaced online this week suggests that it was, in fact, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg that drafted Luckey’s response, and that the Rift inventor was pressured into saying he voted for Johnson. The report cites an apparent email from Facebook Deputy General Counsel Paul Grewal written to a lawyer working for Luckey that reads: “I need to tell you that Mark himself drafted this and details are critical.”

    The report goes on to claim that Luckey was then put on a paid leave of absence from his role at Oculus and was later fired instead of being reinstated as hoped.

    However, official Facebook responses in the article deny firing Luckey for his support of Trump. VP of AR/VR Andrew Bosworth supported these statements in a thread on Twitter stating: “We always made it clear that any mention of politics was up to Palmer. We did not pressure him to say something untrue. Leaked information is inherently one-sided and rarely paints the full picture of what’s going on as it comes from someone with an agenda.”

    Luckey now runs a military tech company named Anduril, though still regularly contributes his thoughts on the VR industry online. Earlier this month he wrote a lengthy blog post explaining why he doesn’t think current or upcoming headsets are good enough to go truly mainstream.

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  • Disney Researchers Introduce ‘MotionStick’ AR Puppeteering

    Disney Researchers build off an idea from 2011 to develop a new way to puppeteer digital characters in augmented reality. In 2011, a Disney Researcher named Karl Willis developed the idea of a ‘MotionBeam’, which gives users the ability to have an AR interaction via a digital beam created by a handheld projector. A newly

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  • Jaunt In Talks To Sell VR Business
    Jaunt In Talks To Sell VR Business

    Jaunt is in talks to sell its cinematic virtual reality business to other companies, VentureBeat has learned. One of the bidders is Spinview Global, the virtual reality business-to-business content management platform, according to a source familiar with the matter.

    Jaunt recently said it would end its VR efforts and focus exclusively on augmented reality and extended reality (XR) technologies. A spokesman for San Mateo, California, confirmed that Jaunt is in talks with multiple parties to sell the VR business.

    Jaunt still has a big VR film studio in Santa Monica, California, where it puts to use its expertise in telling stories in XR. In the past, it has launched more than 350 productions, including numerous virtual reality films. Jaunt has invested heavily in its camera hardware and VR player.

    Spinview hopes to bolster its own VR offering as it moves into 2019.  It also just purchased Agority, a VR communications app. Spinview is based in London and Stockholm.

    This post by Dean Takahashi originally appeared on VentureBeat. 

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