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  • Shadow Point is the Latest VR Title from Augmented Empire Developer Coatsink Oculus announced it as part of GDC 2019.
  • GDC 2019: Asgard’s Wrath’s Bloody Combat Made Me Feel Like A Badass Gladiator
    GDC 2019: Asgard’s Wrath’s Bloody Combat Made Me Feel Like A Badass Gladiator

    At GDC 2019 we got the chance to go hands-on with Asgard's Wrath, one of the most delightfully gory and bloody VR games we've seen to date.

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  • Oculus Rift S Hands-On: Facebook’s New PC VR Headset Takes Small But Important Steps
    Oculus Rift S Hands-On: Facebook’s New PC VR Headset Takes Small But Important Steps

    Five years ago Mark Zuckerberg directed Facebook to purchase Oculus VR for $3 billion.

    This was the state of consumer VR in 2014.

    In 2016, the first consumer Rift shipped for VR-ready PCs.

    Facebook encountered fierce competition. Valve Corporation powered HTC Vive with its innovative “room-scale” Stream VR Tracking technology.

    Vive was $800 when it launched, enabling free-movement over larger spaces with hand controllers included.

    In 2017, Microsoft equipped PC manufacturers with the tracking technology it pioneered on the original HoloLens AR headset. HP, Lenovo, Acer, Samsung and others shipped a series of dual-sensor, easy-to-setup VR headsets. Two-forward facing sensors on these headsets find position and also track controllers.

    Oculus Rift added Touch controllers in December 2016.

    Three years of work and Rift S is the headset Facebook’s VR leaders landed on to replace its market-leading device.

    How does it stack up?

    We went hands-on with the headset and have our first impressions.

    Rift S: The Best Of…Which Worlds?

    The original Rift can be very frustrating. It needs four unused USB ports to deliver room-scale VR using three sensors.

    With Rift S, only one USB slot is needed for room-scale VR. That’s a dramatic difference in setup complexity. Inside the headset, the light from the Rift’s display tends to catch the lenses in distracting ways. Early buyers called them “god rays”. The issue seemed to be no more in Rift S. The updated display and optics provided a huge boost to clarity overall. The screen door effect is greatly reduced.

    PlayStation VR

    PSVR is regarded by many as the most comfortable fit of the three major wired VR headsets to debut in 2016. Lenovo licensed the approach from Sony late last year, stating the “preeminence of the PSVR design is obvious.”

    Rift S

    That familiar “halo” design is now part of Rift S. Simply turn the knob at the back of your crown to tighten the headset’s fit. There’s a button on the front of the headset that allows for adjustment of the distance to your face. Facebook representatives said weight is distributed better compared with Rift, but Rift S weighs a little more overall.

    Facebook’s provided specifications say Rift S displays 80 frames per second. That’s a very notable decrease from 90 FPS in Rift and Vive. That said, I couldn’t spot the difference in my limited time with the device. Rift S also lacks mechanical adjustment for interpupillary distance (IPD) — something that was included on the original headset.

    Visually, Rift S paired with a brief demo of Asgard’s Wrath showed me some of the richest visuals I’ve ever seen in VR. The shiny hilt of a sword, undulating waves of a stormy sea, and the rainbow colors of the bifrost all seemed more vibrant and detailed than anything I’d seen before in a VR headset, and most certainly far better than anything I’ve seen previously in an original Rift. Some combination of the higher resolution Rift S display, improved optics, high-end graphics card and AAA-level content provided a stunning view that raised the bar visually for me.

    Note, though, that I haven’t tried the

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  • GDC 2019: Oculus Explains Why Rift S Doesn’t Have Mechanical IPD Adjustment
    GDC 2019: Oculus Explains Why Rift S Doesn’t Have Mechanical IPD Adjustment

    Facebook’s new VR headset, Oculus Rift S, brings a lot of additions to the table. But it’s also taking away a few things over the original Rift. One such feature is the ability to adjust the interpupillary distance (IPD) mechnically.

    IPD simply refers to the distance between your eyes. Everyone has different measurements and that can change how we all perceive the 3D effect inside VR. On the Rift, you could adjust the screens to your IPD with a slider at the bottom of the screen. On Rift S, however, Oculus is changing that up for a digital solution. But why get rid of the mechanical solution in the first place?

    “Experience and cost are the two main trade-offs. Basically, when it comes down to it, ultimately what we decided to do is go with this LCD panel, single LCD panel,” Oculus VP of Product Nate Mitchell told UploadVR.

    “So you need two screens to do the mechanical IPD adjust, so that wasn’t enough. You can do some things like we could have had an adjustment for the optics but what we’re going with a digital IPD adjust where you actually adjust the IPD in the settings and then we adjust the images on the screen.”

    Mitchell suggested this option might be something you access on Oculus Dash. He also noted that this solution might not be “perfect for everyone” but, then again, neither was the original solution. “We actually have a problem with IPD adjust in that a lot of users don’t understand how it works, what it does, so often at times what they’ll do is set the wrong IPD anyway,” he added.

    “Now, all that said, we still want to be supporting everyone,” Mitchell concluded. “Quest features IPD adjust, just on Rift S it ultimately didn’t make sense to include.”

    Rift S launches this spring for $399.

    Tagged with: IPD, ipd adjustment, nate mitchell, oculus rift s

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  • GDC 2019: Oculus Is Now Asking Studios Developers ‘To Build For Quest And Rift’
    GDC 2019: Oculus Is Now Asking Studios Developers ‘To Build For Quest And Rift’

    Today Facebook brought two of its categories of VR headsets a little closer together. The Oculus Quest standalone headset and the newly-announced Rift S PC VR device both sport inside out tracking. They’re also both due to launch this spring. With the two devices so closely aligned, it looks like Oculus is ushering in a new era of content parity too.

    VP of Product Nate Mitchell confirmed as much to UploadVR at GDC this week. Mitchell said that Oculus is now asking Oculus Studios developers to make titles for both Quest and Rift S. Studios developers are those making Oculus-published titles like Turtle Rock Studios and Coatsink.

    “If it’s a Studios title, we’re asking all developers to build for Quest and Rift,” Mitchell said. “Now there could be some delays based on developers saying “Hey, we’ve tuned and optimized for Quest, we want to do more stuff for Rift so we’re going to delay that release a little bit out.” And there probably will be one or two titles that, on the launch day of Quest, won’t be immediately on the Rift store. But those will be the exceptions but not the norm.”

    While this means that Studios Quest games will appear on Rift, it’s not necessarily true of the other way round.  Oculus is making Rift exclusives like Asgard’s Wrath, Lone Echo II and Respawn’s untitled shooter. These are expected to be appearing on Rift only. These titles are likely too processor-intensive to ever end up on Quest.

    But games that do appear on both will enjoy other benefits. Oculus will implement both cross-buy and play on Rift S/Quest. That means you can buy a title on one platform and have it on the other. You’ll also be able to play multiplayer across Rift and Quest games.

    What we don’t know is if Oculus will continue to make high-end Rift exclusives once these titles are out the door. We’ll just have to wait and see.

    Tagged with: Oculus Quest, oculus rift s

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  • GDC 2019: Stormland Dazzles With Immense Polish And Traversal Freedom
    GDC 2019: Stormland Dazzles With Immense Polish And Traversal Freedom

    We finally got to play a new demo of Stormland at GDC 2019 on Oculus Rift. This is the first new demo we've seen of the game since it was announced!

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  • GDC 2019: Original Oculus Rift Will Be Supported ‘For The Foreseeable Future’
    GDC 2019: Original Oculus Rift Will Be Supported ‘For The Foreseeable Future’

    Following today’s announcement of the Oculus Rift S, Oculus stated that support for the original Rift isn’t going anywhere. At least for a while.

    Speaking to UploadVR, VP of Product Nate Mitchell states that “ are planning to support Rift for the foreseeable future. All our new content is coming out on Rift. Rift S is just gonna be its replacement.”

    This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Rift S may be replacing the original Oculus Rift but not everyone will make the jump. Some VR fans will likely want to stick with the outside-in tracking system seen in the first Rift. With three sensors, it offers a full 360 degrees of tracking. Rift S, meanwhile, uses a sensor-free inside-out system. There are five cameras mounted to the kit for extensive tracking.

    Oculus says that this will allow the Rift S to play any Rift game, but we won’t know how more demanding titles like Echo VR hold up until we’ve tried them for ourselves. For what it’s worth, Rift S performed very well when we tried it on games like Asgard’s Wrath at GDC this week.

    Presumably, there will come a day when Oculus stops supporting the external sensor setup. We doubt that will happen any time soon, though. No doubt Oculus will be watching its stats very closely over the coming months and years to decipher when it will push that button.

    Rift S is launching this spring for $399. Will you be making the upgrade or do you want to stick to the original Oculus Rift for now?

    Tagged with: nate mitchell, oculus rift, oculus rift s

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  • GDC 2019: Dead and Buried 2 Coming To Oculus Quest And Rift S
    GDC 2019: Dead and Buried 2 Coming To Oculus Quest And Rift S

    Oculus’ showcase VR shooter, Dead and Buried, is getting a sequel. Dead and Buried 2 is coming soon.

    The game was announced at the 2019 Game Developers Conference (GDC) this week. As with the first, it’s a western-themed multiplayer first-person shooter (FPS). Players brawl through saloons and streets in pursuit of becoming the fastest gun in VR. Crucially, though, the sequel allows full freedom of movement through virtual environments. The original had players rooted to specific places on a map.

    Here are five minutes of the game being played on Oculus Rift. It looks pretty frantic, with inventive weaponry and dual-wielding action. At one point you can see a logo for the ‘Oculus Strike Team’ developer too. Like the first, Dead and Buried 2 is largely developed by a small internal team at Oculus. The original game did get a helping hand from Chronos and From Other Suns developer, Gunfire Games, though it’s not clear if that’s the case here too.

    We’ve also got a few GIFs of the game in action (on Quest) below.

    We should have more details on the game for you later this week. Though unconfirmed, this certainly seems like a good place to demonstrate the cross-buy and cross-play features between Rift S and Quest. The former means that anyone that buys a compatible game on one headset will get it on the other headset too. Cross-play, meanwhile, means Rift S and Quest players can play together in compatible multiplayer titles.

    We’re expecting the game to be a launch title for Quest but, again, that’s unconfirmed.

    Tagged with: Dead and Buried 2, VR FPS

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  • Oculus Rift S out this Spring for $399, Design Features Massive Overhaul The new headset is going to feature some interesting changes.
  • GDC 2019: Oculus Explains Why It Partnered With Lenovo On Rift S
    oculus rift s top camera insight

    The reveal of the Oculus Rift S at GDC this week was one of the industry’s worst kept secrets. What was better hidden, though, was the fact that Rift S is built in partnership with Lenovo. It’s even got a Lenovo logo on the side.

    Oculus is no stranger to partnering up with manufacturers, at least on mobile VR hardware. Its first-ever headset, Gear VR, was made with Samsung and it collaborated with Xiaomi on the Oculus Go. Still, building a successor to the Rift with another partner seems strange. VP of Product Nate Mitchell says the decision was fairly straightforward, though.

    “In the case of Rift S, we saw the opportunity to build through this evolutionary version of Rift,” Mitchell told us. “And we decided to ourselves, ‘Hey it would be great if we could partner who can speed to market, who can help us take off some of the heavy lifting from our team and ideally bring some of their own expertise.'”

    Lenovo was apparently quick to emerge as an ideal partner. “They’ve just done a lot of products in AR and VR so they’re very knowledgeable, actually, about what works and what doesn’t,” Mitchell added.

    Indeed, Lenovo has both VR and AR headsets. For the former, it was a part of Microsoft’s line of Windows VR headsets that released in 2017. It also partnered with Google to release the Mirage Solo standalone headset for Daydream in 2018.

    “So sitting down with them to design Rift S was actually a lot of fun,” Mitchell concluded. “And, ultimately, they did help in a really big way, bringing this product to market faster and more affordable.”

    Even with Mitchell’s explanation, we can’t help but wonder if the real reason is a little different. Last year Lenovo revealed it had come to an agreement with Sony Interactive Entertainment. The deal allowed Lenovo to keep using the halo-ring design for the Mirage Solo. Fast forward to today and Rift S is using the same halo ring. We don’t know the true specifics behind that deal, but it may be why Oculus sought out Lenovo in the first place.

    Rift S is due to launch this spring for $399.

    Tagged with: lenovo, nate mitchell, oculus rift s

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  • GDC 2019: Oculus Confirms Cross-Buy And Play For Rift/Quest Apps
    oculus rift s rear view

    Already own an Oculus Rift but thinking of picking up an Oculus Quest? Don’t worry; you probably won’t have to pay for the same app twice.

    Oculus today confirmed that games and experiences appearing on both platforms can support cross-buy and cross-play. Cross-buy means if you’ve bought a game on Rift over the past few years that’s coming to Quest when it launches this Spring, your Oculus account will recognize the previous purchase and let you download the Quest version free of charge. Similarly if, after a bit of Quest ownership, you decide to pick up a PC VR headset suchs as the newly-announced Oculus Rift S, your PC Oculus Store account will already have your pre-bought Quest games waiting to be played again.

    At a GDC event earlier this week VP of Content Jason Rubin explained that the decision to support cross-buy was ultimately up to developers. That said, Rubin noted Oculus expected most to support the scheme. Games with more sizable differences between Quest and Rift may opt to charge for both, though.

    Cross-play, meanwhile, means Rift and Quest owners can play together in the same games. Imagine, say, Dead and Buried 2’s western shootouts, expect one of you is on a Rift and the other is on Quest. The Quest player won’t have the same visual fidelity but the six degree of freedom (6DOF) tracking should put you on a mostly equal playing field. In the past multiplayer VR games have often struggled to build up long-lasting communities for players to find games in. By growing the potential audience with cross-play Oculus could help tackle that problem.

    Tagged with: Cross-buy, Oculus Quest, oculus rift s

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  • GDC 2019 Hands-On: Oculus Quest Feels Like A Turning Point For VR
    oculus quest standalone vr headset

    GDC 2019 ended up being a weird event for the Oculus Quest. Facebook’s upcoming standalone inside out six degrees of freedom (6DOF) VR headset with two Touch controllers is coming very soon, but we basically learned zero new information about it.

    We already knew it was coming in Spring 2019 and would cost $399 — they told us that at OC5 in September. We already knew it featured an inventive “Insight” tracking system that analyzes your world and lets you freely move around. We even knew about some of the biggest games coming to the headset like Superhot, Robo Recall, and more.

    All we learned is that Beat Saber is coming, it works great, and we found out about three other new games (Journey to the Gods from Turtle Rock, Shadowpoint from Coatsink and Dead and Buried 2 from Oculus Studios internal “Strike Team”). That’s…basically it.

    Other than that it was just a rehash of Oculus Connect 5 in a lot of ways since we still don’t know the launch lineup and we still don’t know the exact release date. If you want to read my original, initial first impressions of the Oculus Quest you can do that right here. I spend a lot more time detailing the comfort, specs, and details of the headset itself. We’ve got more specs and details here too.

    Oculus Quest at GDC

    Instead of new information, Oculus just solidified my excitement even more instead by showing off a new Rift S headset alongside the Quest that mostly underwhelmed. In fact, the Rift S has worse resolution, it has an LCD display instead of OLED, and it’s still got a tether to a cumbersome PC all for the same exact price of the full Quest setup. You’re getting a lot more fidelity due to the need for a powerful gaming PC, but for two unreleased products only one really has me excited for the future of this medium.

    Let me put it this way: Oculus announced a new PC VR device in the Rift S headset that people have been buzzing about online for months and even after trying it I’m still more excited about a standalone device officially announced 6 months ago, aka Quest.

    The prospect of being able to pack up and take a Quest with me, wherever I go, is extremely exciting and I can’t wait to introduce roomscale VR to a whole new category of people in my life. Comparing that type of paradigm shift to a marginal upgrade over a three-year old HMD is just no contest.

    Oculus Quest Tracking

    A topic I’ve seen come up a lot is the assumption that three external Rift camera sensors will be able to do a better job tracking your controllers than the inside-out tracking system of Quest. A lot of that analysis seems to be based on experiences with Windows VR headsets that only have two front-facing cameras. It’s important to understand that the Quest actually has four cameras placed in each corner of the headset’s front face. This means it can see

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  • GDC 2019: Journey Of The Gods Is Left 4 Dead Dev’s New VR Adventure For Quest/Rift S
    GDC 2019: Journey Of The Gods Is Left 4 Dead Dev’s New VR Adventure For Quest/Rift S

    Turtle Rock Studios, the developer best known for its work on Left 4 Dead, today announced its new VR game, Journey of the Gods.

    As teased ahead of GDC this week, Journey of the Gods is an action-adventure RPG. In the game, you go in search of the power of ancient gods, which will allow you to fight back evil. Oculus VP of Product Nate Mitchell previously said the game reminded him of Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda series. We can see why; you’ll fight monsters using a mix of sword and shield as well as crossbow combat. There will also be plenty of puzzles to test players with.

    We’ll have full impressions of the game for you later on, but for now, you can enjoy these GIFs. They showcase some hallmarks of adventure gaming; lava-filled dungeons, magic powers and ancient weaponry. They also introduce us to your little companion, an owl that can take you between missions.

    Journey of the Gods is coming to Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift S. The game will be a launch title for Quest when it arrives this spring, but it’s not clear when it will hit PC VR.

    This isn’t Turtle Rock Studios’ first brush with VR. The studio is behind Face Your Fears, one of the most successful applications on Gear VR and Oculus Go. In fact, the team is also working on a sequel for Oculus Quest too. Elsewhere the team also worked on a Blade Runner VR game and a gorgeous RPG named The Well.

    Tagged with: action-adventure, Journey of the Gods, Turtle Rock Studios, VR RPG

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  • Oculus Rift S Is Official: 1440p LCD, Better Lenses, 5 Camera Inside-Out Tracking, Halo Strap, $399
    oculus rift s headset and controllers

    Amidst GDC 2019 today Facebook announced a new version of the Oculus Rift called Rift S. It’s priced at $399 and will release this Spring.

    Rift S replaces the original Rift. Apps and games are fully compatible between both. Just like the original, Rift S is powered by your gaming PC so should work on both the Oculus PC Store and other stores like Steam.

    Updated Screen & Lenses

    The original Rift used dual PenTile OLED panels for a total resolution of 2160×1200. Rift S replaces this with a single LCD panel with a resolution of 2560×1440- the same panel used in the Oculus Go standalone. That’s roughly 40% more pixels, and each pixel now has three subpixels instead of just two.

    This provides a higher detail image with reduced “screen door effect”. However, you don’t get the deep blacks of OLED since LCD displays use a backlight. The refresh rate is 80Hz compared to the 90 Hz of the original, but we didn’t notice a difference.

    Arguably the main flaw of the Rift was the “god rays” in the lenses which occured in high contrast scenes. Rift S uses the “next generation” lens technology introduced in Go which almost entirely elminates this issue. There’s no word on field of view just yet, but expect it to be similar to other Oculus headsets.

    ‘Insight’ Inside-Out Tracking: 5 Cameras

    The Rift used external USB sensors for positional tracking. They were difficult to set up and you needed to buy a third for full 360 degree roomscale. Like the upcoming Oculus Quest standalone, Rift S instead uses onboard cameras for “inside-out” tracking.

    However whereas Quest uses 4 cameras, Rift S uses 5 and they’re in different positions: 2 in front, 1 on each side, and 1 on top. This should provide a wider controller tracking range than Quest and should eliminate many deadspots.

    When we tried Asgard’s Wrath, controller tracking was very fluid and we were even able to reach behind our back to grab the shield. When we played Stormland, we were able to grab a part of a wall behind us to shoot in the opposite direction while hanging.

    The controllers are essentially identical to the original Oculus Touch, but with the tracking ring on the top instead of bottom. This lets the IR LEDs inside the rings be seen by the headset. These exact same controllers are used on Quest.

    Rift S isn’t compatible with the original Rift sensors. Facebook seems confident their five camera system is so good you won’t miss sensors at all.

    Comfortable Halo Strap

    Whereas the Rift used a semi-rigid strap, Rift S uses a much bulkier rigid halo system similar to PlayStationVR. We found it to be a noticeable step up in comfort, balancing pressure well across the head.

    Facebook partnered with Lenovo to bring this strap design to the Rift. This could be because Lenovo licensed the patent from Sony.

    However, it is now a heavier headset overall with the new strap making it fit less easily into luggage or storage.

    The nose gap has also been redesigned, so

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  • Fallout 4 VR is Free With Every HTC Vive Pro Starter Kit But only for a limited time.