• Oculus Sending Out ‘Surprise Shipment’ To Start Devs Soon
    Oculus Sending Out ‘Surprise Shipment’ To Start Devs Soon

    Back in January we reported that Oculus was starting up a new initiative to help smaller, independent VR developers find their feet in the industry. The program was simply called Oculus Start. This week, developers accepted into the program are going to be getting a surprise.

    Oculus’ official developer Twitter account yesterday posted a message teasing a mysterious package that’s being sent to Start teams “very soon”. The tweet shows a package wrapped in brown paper with an Oculus Start sticker attached to it. Oculus is encouraging developers to share their reactions when they open the box.

    Hey #OculusStart devs! A surprise shipment is headed your way very soon & we can’t wait to see your reactions! Share your unboxing pics and videos using the hashtags #OculusStart #Sponsored

    — Oculus Developers (@Oculus_Dev) June 6, 2018

    Not to get all Brad Pitt about this, but we want to know what’s in the bahx. If Start is aimed at giving developers a leg up then the most likely answer is new hardware, perhaps a free Oculus Rift or Oculus Go headset. We’d love to say it’s Santa Cruz but that’s probably too generous.

    That said, to be a Start dev you have to have already published an app (and, notably not taken anymore than $10,000 in funding from others). Instead of a headset, then, could it perhaps be a new PC to develop with?

    Either that or we’re getting far too ahead of ourselves and it’s Oculus-branded toilet paper. We’re really sorry if that’s the case.

    We’ll no doubt start seeing some very excited tweets in the coming days as packages start arriving at developer’s door stops.

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  • Valve Will Now Allow ‘Everything’ On Steam That Isn’t ‘Illegal’ Or ‘Trolling’
    Valve Will Now Allow ‘Everything’ On Steam That Isn’t ‘Illegal’ Or ‘Trolling’

    After recent backlash from blocking sexually explicit content, Valve has decided to not just be more lenient with its curation practices on Steam, but rather to just go ahead and remove them all together. In a recent blog post, Valve’s Erik Johnson explains that, “we’ve decided that the right approach is to allow everything onto the Steam Store, except for things that we decide are illegal, or straight up trolling.”

    And he seems pretty honest when he says “everything” there. That means content that’s clearly offensive, overly graphic, potential racist, or otherwise harmful could very well end up published on Steam now.

    According to Johnson, this doesn’t mean that Valve agrees with it, but rather they’re letting the curation decisions be made by their algorithms and the community itself.

    “If we allow your game onto the Store, it does not mean we approve or agree with anything you’re trying to say with it,” Johnson writes. ” If you’re a developer of offensive games, this isn’t us siding with you against all the people you’re offending…However, offending someone shouldn’t take away your game’s voice. We believe you should be able to express yourself like everyone else, and to find others who want to play your game. But that’s it.”

    It seems like a noble ideal, but I have concerns about how this will play out in practice. Hands-on curation and quality control used to be the goal here, but in some ways it feels like Valve is just giving up and waiting to see if the market will correct itself.

    “We ended up going back to one of the principles in the forefront of our minds when we started Steam, and more recently as we worked on Steam Direct to open up the Store to many more developers: Valve shouldn’t be the ones deciding this,” Johnson writes. “…So what does this mean? It means that the Steam Store is going to contain something that you hate, and don’t think should exist.”

    Time will tell what this means for VR content — we all know there is a lot of inappropriate and potentially offensive uses of VR out in the wild already.

    What do you think of this news? Is less moderation a good thing? Let us know down in the comments below!

    h/t: Kotaku

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  • Sony Announces Tetris Effect For The PSVR

    The creators of Rez Infinite are bringing one of the most legendary titles in gaming to VR for the first-time. With E3 2018 just around the corner, we’re already being treated to a generous serving of new pre-con reveals and announcements. This morning was particularly exciting however as Sony made its first VR-related announcement of

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  • Magic Leap One Is Designed For Indoor Use, Fit Shown For The First Time
    Magic Leap One Is Designed For Indoor Use, Fit Shown For The First Time

    Magic Leap just offered the most detailed look yet at its hardware. But don’t get too excited — all they did was press the power button to show that Magic Leap One actually turns on.

    The startup which raised billions in funding and spent years developing its product in almost complete secrecy is ramping up for a 2018 release. Magic Leap One is geared toward developers and creators and features a pocket processing pack with a wire running to goggles. The eyewear is covered in a suite of sensors designed to understand the surrounding environment and there’s a hand-held controller which is tracked by the headset.

    After years of hype and secrecy, these livestreams on Twitch are finally starting to offer developers some tangible information. The second stream happened today revealing a more detailed look at the system than the company has offered before — showing a USB-C connection on the processing pack, for instance, so it can connect directly to a laptop for development. The headset needs to be calibrated for eye tracking and fitting, Magic Leap representatives explained, but Shanna De Iullis from Magic Leap’s Technical Marketing team also showed how the quickly the headset slips on once that’s already been done.

    Magic Leap just showed the first detailed look at how its Magic Leap One headset fits. @magicleap

    — Upload (@UploadVR) June 6, 2018

    Magic Leap also confirmed that they are gearing this initial headset toward indoor use and that they don’t recommend wearing glasses while wearing it (they are working with a partner on prescription lenses). Representatives promised to show more in future streams, but for now they’ve only shown the device power up with some indicator lights turning on.

    Check out the video on Twitch and skip to about 15 minutes in to see a tour of the hardware.


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  • Build Your Own Useless Rube Goldberg Machine In VR

    A totally unnecessary contraption is just a headset away when ‘Ruberg’ leaves pre-alpha later this year. If campy 80’s cinema has taught us anything, it’s that every suburban family has at least one genius child building overly complex machinery designed to perform painfully-basic tasks. Often referred to as Rube Goldberg Machines, these convoluted devices use

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  • POGs AR Is A Thing And We Don’t Know How We Feel About It
    POGs AR Is A Thing And We Don’t Know How We Feel About It

    Remember POGs? No? Firstly, I envy your youth and, second, you’re about to be introduced to them in an entirely new way.

    POGs were little discs you collected and played games with if you were alive two decades ago. I mostly remember them from my near-complete collection of Star Wars POGs that I definitely now need to go and find/sell on eBay. Anyway, London-based Compton Technology wants to bring the 90s phenomenon back to life with the help of augmented reality.

    With the help of an IndieGoGo crowd-funding campaign, the company plans to launch a smartphone app that can scan POGs you collect to use them in a virtual game with online play. The app recreates many of the original discs from the 90s, which can now be traded in-app. You can complete sets that will unlock new content and upgrades.

    We’re not entirely sure POGs will take the world by storm once more, but this certainly looks like a fun bit of nostalgia.

    Currently the company is planning to run a closed beta for the app in August of this year, with the full launching coming the following September. Backer rewards include a variety of goodies including, you guessed it, physical POGs to clutter your house with. Compton is hoping to raise $50,000 within a month and has so far raised more than 10% of that total.

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  • Nvidia CEO: Next GeForce Cards Won’t Be Revealed For A ‘Long Time’
    Nvidia CEO: Next GeForce Cards Won’t Be Revealed For A ‘Long Time’

    Nvidia’s GeForce graphics cards are some of the most popular choices for powering consumer PCs today and thus, by extension, consumer VR too. But the next iteration of those cards isn’t going to be ready for some time, according to the company’s CEO.

    At the Computex event in Taiwan this week, Nvidia boss Jensen Huang was asked about when we’d see the next generation of GeForce GPUs. According to PCGamer, Jensen simply replied: “It will be a long time from now. I’ll invite you, and there will be lunch.”

    There’s already been several events this year at which we expected to hear about the arrival of the next GeForce cards. The company’s most recent 10 series, which is headlined by the GTX 1080, has been available for two years now. Many had hoped that there would finally be news on the cards at the Hot Chips event in August, but other reports also suggest Nvidia’s talk there has been canceled.

    Even so, we’re still hopeful that Huang’s comments were more on the comedic side and that we’ll still see the new cards, presumably the 11 series, later this year. More powerful graphics cards means even more powerful VR experiences running inside out Oculus Rifts, HTC Vives and Windows VR headsets. More than that, though, we’ll need better cards at more capable VR headsets with higher resolution displays start to roll out over the next few years.

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  • Tetris Effect Announced For PSVR And PS4 From Rez Infinite Team
    Tetris Effect Announced For PSVR And PS4 From Rez Infinite Team

    As promised, Sony has kicked off its countdown to E3 with the reveal of a brand new PS4 game that supports the PSVR headset. That game is Tetris Effect.

    Yup, Tetris – the game we’ve known and loved for decades now. But this isn’t just any old Tetris; this is developed by Tetsuya Mizuguchi and Enhance games, the team that brought us Rez Infinite on PSVR back in 2016. Expect an experience very similar to that classic, with neon lighting. The game’s coming this fall.

    The name tips its hat to a real world effect in which the images of Tetris blocks linger in a player’s vision after extended sessions. Tetris Effect will include over 30 stages including an all-new Zone mechanic that allows players to stop time.

    There are two more PSVR games set to be revealed this weekend. On Saturday at 8am PT/4pm BST we’ll see another new VR title, while on Sunday Sony will reveal that an ‘eagerly anticipated game’ is on its way to PSVR. We’ve got bets on what they could be.

    All of this is counting down to Sony’s E3 press conference on Monday, June 11th, where we’re bound to see yet more new VR games. Best strap in; it’s going to be a busy week.

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  • Gunheart Review: Liberating Movement And Bullets Galore In This Co-Op Shooter
    Gunheart Review: Liberating Movement And Bullets Galore In This Co-Op Shooter

    Gunheart feels like the result of developers listing out all of the things most hardcore VR gamers want from their ideal game. Drifter Entertainment have crammed in tons of weapons to pick from, dynamically generated missions so you don’t run out of content too quickly, procedural and hand-crafted maps, lots of enemies, satisfying and tight gun mechanics, and a strong networking system to facilitate co-op. You can also freely move around the map with smooth locomotion, leap dozens of feet into the air, and teleport anywhere as much as you’d like.

    In fact, Gunheart is such a thoroughly robust shooter that it’s even got a fully functional non-VR mode for PC players so everyone can play co-op running the same missions together regardless of device. It’s ambitious and after about a year of Early Access refinement, extremely polished.

    Gunheart is an excellent example of a game that evolved in smart ways throughout its time in Early Access and became better as a result. For example, when I first played Gunheart all the way back over a year ago it was a teleportation-only game. Since then, they added full locomotion, jumping, and a slew of enhancements and content expansions. Other than the core shooting mechanics, it’s hardly even the same game anymore.

    The premise here is that you’re a robotic bounty hunter that takes on jobs to hunt down and kill disgusting bug-like alien monsters. While the plot is just light enough to give you a reason to shoot at things, the real selling point is the atmosphere.

    Before and after every mission you’ll visit the Bent Horizon club, which gives off a Star Wars-esque cantina vibe. From here you can customize your bounty hunter with hats, face designs, different vests/capes, and more. You’ll also be able to equip dozens of different weapon mods to tons of different weapons to augment and change how they’re used in battle.

    Each Bent Horizon instance also serves as a multiplayer hub lobby where other players materialize so you can chat and meet people and decide if you want to group up for some missions together. Having a physical (or rather, virtual) place to walk around and adjust things rather than just a bunch of menus really helps establish Gunheart’s personality and lore. It feels like a sci-fi version of Rec Room’s gym.

    While there aren’t as many varied missions in Gunheart as you’d find in a game like Destiny 2, that had years of development time across hundreds of team members for example, there’s still quite a lot going on here. A semi-procedural system shuffles map layouts around to keep missions fresh and there’s a set-in-stone progression of campaign stories to finish.

    The temporary event missions spice things up a bit, as do the competitive PvP maps, so there’s definitely something for everybody. During a mission you’ll come across loot like money and ammo, but not much in the way of gear. Uncovering loot caches and treasure chests that contain cosmetic skins or even new gun mods more frequently during missions

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  • Dave &  Buster’s Installs Impressive Jurassic World VR Expedition At 112 Locations
    Dave &  Buster’s Installs Impressive Jurassic World VR Expedition At 112 Locations

    One hundred and twelve Dave & Buster’s locations will soon offer an impressive Jurassic World VR attraction.

    The restaurant and entertainment company is partnering with the Virtual Reality Company, VRstudios and Universal in one of the biggest roll-outs for a VR attraction ever seen in North America. Jurassic World VR Expedition arrives decades after Dave & Buster’s provided many people their first VR experience by way of relatively primitive hardware, back before the industry went into hibernation. With VR’s re-emergence over the last few years the company tried multiple VR attractions that didn’t extend far beyond testing.

    “The novelty of VR itself is not sufficient enough to build a business around,” said Kevin Bachus, Senior Vice President, Entertainment & Games Strategy at Dave & Buster’s.

    They needed to create something people would want alongside all the other games at Dave and Buster’s, according to Bachus, and Jurassic Park is already a popular traditional arcade game for the restaurant chain. With Jurassic World VR Expedition, they also have the chance to draw in visitors excited for the release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

    Starting June 14, four people at a time can spend $5 each to experience a 5-minute trip together in the Jurassic World VR Expedition simulator. An early version of the system I tried at VRC’s offices in Los Angeles featured four HTC Vive headsets each with one controller to point at and “tag” various dinosaurs. Each person is buckled into a comfy chair on the same motion platform. The platform moves in sync with the headset’s visuals to produce the feeling of being seated in a vehicle roaming through Isla Nublar. Wind unexpectedly rushed by my face as we were chased by some of the most iconic creatures ever to grace the big screen. For those brave enough to stay focused through it, competing for a high score is as easy as pointing your controller at different dinosaurs and pulling the trigger.

    Jurassic World VR Expedition is written and directed by VRC’s James Lima, and they waste little time delivering an exhilarating trip using the power of high-end VR graphics combined with best-in-class haptics, sound and tracking. I experienced both the awe and action of this famed movie franchise in less than five minutes, and found myself torn between just wanting to take in the sights and sounds of the adventure and trying to tag dinosaurs with my controller.

    Jurassic Park: The Ride originally opened in 1996.

    If you’ve ridden Jurassic Park: The Ride at Universal Studios Hollywood it is impossible to experience this new VR attraction without drawing comparisons. I miss the water of the Universal Studios ride, the rush of a real world drop and the look of terror on my friend’s faces as we did this all together, but for $20 during a night out at Dave & Buster’s four friends can still scream together and lock hands while feeling just as close to the dinosaurs as the more classic Jurassic Park ride.

    I’ve seen a lot of different VR attractions, from Gear VRs

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  • Report: Samsung To Rebrand Gear VR As Galaxy VR
    Report: Samsung To Rebrand Gear VR As Galaxy VR

    After nearly four years on the market, Samsung’s Gear VR smartphone-based headset may be getting a rebrand.

    A report from Sammobile states that Samsung will soon rename the Oculus-powered device to Galaxy VR. That name would bring it in-line with the company’s Galaxy series of smartphones that power the device, and Samsung is said to also be rebranding other Gear peripherals under the same banner. The report doesn’t state exactly when the switch will be announced, though does speculate that it could happen with next year’s Galaxy S10 instead of the upcoming announcement of the Galaxy Note 9.

    We’ve reached out to Samsung for comment on the rumor.

    If true, we wonder if this will be the only big change for Gear VR coming soon. It makes sense that a new name would also mean a new model that could support one of Samsung’s upcoming phones, but would that boast any significant new features? We’ve long wanted to see 6 degrees of freedom (6DOF) inside-out tracking on Gear, and Qualcomm says that’s possible with the latest Galaxy S9, so could official support be coming?

    On the other hand, the device is now closely linked to Oculus’ standalone headset, Oculus Go, sharing almost identical content libraries, so we doubt that partnership is going to change any time soon.

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  • Polyarc, HTC, and Oculus Tweets Suggest Moss Coming to PC VR
    Polyarc, HTC, and Oculus Tweets Suggest Moss Coming to PC VR

    Today, Polyarc animation direction Richard Lico tweeted out a GIF that shows Quill, the mouse protagonist from Moss, putting on a VR headset and gazing down at a virtual duplicate of herself. We didn’t think much of it at first, other than how adorable it is, but follow-up tweets are making us a bit more curious.

    For starterts, Moss developers Polyarc retweeted the GIF saying, “We wanted to get Quill’s reaction to putting on a new headset,” which strongly implies the game is heading to new devices other than the PSVR sooner rather than later.

    We wanted to get Quill’s reaction to putting on a new headset, you could say she was pleasantly surprised. #Moss

    — Polyarc Games (@PolyarcGames) June 5, 2018

    Then, Oculus joined in on the fun with a retweet of their own stating, “Stay tuned for some exciting news from Polyarc Games later this week,” which seems like all but confirmation Quill will be seen in an Oculus Rift very soon. Maybe the Go and Gear VR as well?

    Stay tuned for some exciting news from @PolyarcGames later this week… ⚔🍃🐭

    — Oculus (@oculus) June 5, 2018

    Adding further fuel to the fire is HTC also retweeting this GIF, remarking at the presence of Quill’s two spirit hands, which implies motion controller support will also be coming to the Rift (and now presumably Vive) versions of the game.

    Wait…Are those two spirit hands?!

    — HTC VIVE (@htcvive) June 5, 2018

    Keep in mind nothing has been formally announced, but it feels safe to assume Moss is getting officially ported to PC VR headsets. Let us know what you think of the news and when you think it will release down in the comments below!

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  • The Global Skills and Education Forum in Dubai Showcases the Convergence of VR/AR and Education

    An event that proved the importance of XR’s role in the future of education. This March, the Varkey Foundation’s Global Skills and Education Forum (GESF) again solidified its place as the world’s premier education event and conference, bringing together over 2,000 professionals to dream up what the future of education might look like in 2030.

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  • Snapchat Launches New AR Lens With Audio

    Snapchat adds audio reactivity to their latest Lens. Since its initial launch in 2011, social media giant has attracted over 300 million monthly active users. Over the past 7 years the company has evolved from a simple app that lets you share photos that disappear within a few seconds, to a full-fledged platform that has

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  • Oculus Connect 5 Celebrates 5 Years Of VR In September
    Oculus Connect 5 Celebrates 5 Years Of VR In September

    Move over E3; Oculus just announced the return of its developer conference, Oculus Connect, coming back now for its fifth year.

    Oculus Connect 5 will run on September 26th and 27th at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose. This year’s show promises to celebrate the last five years of VR, though technically it will have only been four years since the event started in 2014. But, hey, who’s counting?

    To be fair, Oculus has been around for longer than its Connect conferences, and it’s hard to believe it’s been even four years since the first one, in which it debuted the Crescent Bay prototype that laid the foundations for the consumer Rift.

    You can also expect an in-depth look at the future at this year’s show. Oculus has a lot on its plate right now having just launched its Go standalone device and continuing work on another, more advanced standalone codenamed Santa Cruz. At parent company Facebook’s F8 conference in April we also saw the latest prototypes from Oculus’ PC VR team, suggesting that we’re on the path for the true successor to the Oculus Rift.

    We’ll of course be at Oculus Connect 5 to bring you all the latest from the event.

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