• Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR1 Aims to Make Standalone Headsets Mainstream
    Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR1 Aims to Make Standalone Headsets Mainstream

    There is no doubt that standalone headsets, be they for AR or VR, are starting to pick up some steam. This momentum is especially noticeable with headsets like the ODG R9, HTC Vive Focus, Lenovo Mirage Solo and the Oculus Go. Smartphone designs like Gear VR and Daydream are fundamentally incompatible with long-term VR usage. Now that we have standalone VR headsets and the market is starting to heat up it only seems logical that we would finally start to see XR-specific components. One of the most expensive components in an XR headset is also one of the most important parts of the headset, the SoC (system on chip) which does nearly all the device’s processing.

    Qualcomm’s smartphone chips that are powering nearly all the standalone XR headsets today are repurposed for XR uses. Because Qualcomm’s chips are designed to be very low-power and high-performance, especially on graphics, they are uniquely suited to power standalone XR headsets. However, there are certain aspects of the smartphone design cycle and SoC design that aren’t optimized for XR. As a result, the cost of using a Snapdragon smartphone chip is higher than it needs to be since not all the components of the smartphone SoC are being used. By building an optimized chip for use in XR headsets, Qualcomm is enabling their many partners in the XR ecosystem to be able to build higher quality devices with more features at lower cost.

    That gets us to the Snapdragon XR1, Qualcomm’s first and the industry’s first built-for-XR SoC to power a standalone headset. The XR1 is the first in what I expect to be a series of XR-specific SoCs targeted at satisfying the needs of headset manufacturers and the developers that build applications for them. However, the XR1 is not the pinnacle of VR or even mobile VR for that matter; the XR1 is designed to hit the segment of the market that delivers a high-quality VR experience at an affordable price. This isn’t quite the same as the premium quality devices that feature the company’s fastest and most expensive SoCs (Snapdragon 835 and 845). While there is no defined price point that the XR1 is trying to hit because of the flexibility of being an XR-capable chip, I expect that the XR1 will deliver a good experience regardless of the device…but with limitations.

    These more mainstream XR1-based devices would fit more into the Oculus Go category of devices. They could have 3-DoF tracking and relatively simply point and click controllers like the Oculus Go or 6-DoF tracking and 6-DoF controllers, at a cost. In fact, one could almost see the XR1 as the chip that will enable VR manufacturers to be competitive with Facebook and Oculus on the Oculus Go while still being within reach regarding price. Before today’s announcement, the Snapdragon 845 was the only SoC that Qualcomm offered for XR that could offer 6-DoF head tracking and 6-DoF controllers. With the introduction of the XR1, we could see the democratization of 6-DoF head tracking

  • IDG Contributor Network: Healthcare goes mobile: how consumer devices are changing the future of care Digital health is the next frontier of healthcare. Across the entire care continuum, hospitals, clinics, and other institutions have recognized the transformational role technology can play in helping practitioners treat patients in more efficient, ...
  • IDG Contributor Network: Healthcare goes mobile: how consumer devices are changing the future of care Digital health is the next frontier of healthcare. Across the entire care continuum, hospitals, clinics, and other institutions have recognized the transformational role technology can play in helping practitioners treat patients in more efficient, ...
  • Vengeful Rites Is A VR RPG That Could Fill The Void Left By Vanishing Realms
    Vengeful Rites Is A VR RPG That Could Fill The Void Left By Vanishing Realms

    Remember Vanishing Realms? The VR role-playing game (RPG) that got a very promising Early Access release at VR’s launch? It’s been a long time since we’ve seen anything significant from it, but Vengeful Rites looks like it could fill the void it’s left.

    This new fantasy game from Deep Dive Interactive is coming to the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive via Early Access in August. Designed exclusively for VR, players embark on an adventure across a world consumed by monsters. You’ll use a mix of sword combat, archery and even magic to defeat enemies in one-on-one battles that look similar enough to Vanishing Realms to catch our attention but also promises the chance to expand on the foundations Indimo Labs laid down. The trailer below suggests the melee combat in particular will be quite refined and the developers say they want to make it difficult. That’s good by us.

    Outside of combat, you’ll also find a perk system that allows you to customize your play style, mining to enhance your weapons and puzzles that hide optional treasures. The game will feature both smooth and teleportation-based locomotion as well as climbing.

    The game will launch with its first chapter complete, including a tutorial. Over the course of Early Access, Deep Dive plans to add three new chapters, each including two to three hours of gameplay. These will add new spells, weapons, puzzles and enemies. The studio wants the full game to offer around 12 hours of content which, by VR’s standards, is pretty good. Early Access is planned to last around a year.

    Look for Vengeful Rites to launch on August 31st.

    Tagged with: Vengeful Rites

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  • Battlezone Publisher Rebellion Announce New VR Game Arca’s Path
    Battlezone Publisher Rebellion Announce New VR Game Arca’s Path

    Rebellion, the same publisher behind the VR-revival of Battlezone, is today announcing a brand new VR title called Arca’s Path, which is slated for most all major VR platforms later this year.

    Arca’s Path is in development by Dream Reality Interactive, a London studio founded by experienced VR developers that helped create PSVR Worlds for Sony’s flagship headset, as well as Wonderbook.

    As you can see in the trailer above, Arca’s Path is a beautifully abstract world that raises tons of questions. I’m getting an esoteric endless runner meets adventure game type vibe, but I’ve got no clue if that’s accurate or not. We’re told that “skill, instinct, and awareness” will be needed to guide a girl through a dangerous labyrinth in the land of Arca.

    That’s literally all we know.

    According to the press release Arca’s Path will also be playable without a controller, which leaves me curious about how exactly it controls. Perhaps it’s all gaze-based, similar to Bazaar?

    Arca’s Path is expected for PSVR, Rift, Vive, Windows VR, Go, and Gear VR this year. That’s a lot of headsets. We’ll find out more very soon at E3 2018 next month as we go hands-on with the title and see what it’s really like.

    Let us know what you think so far down in the comments below!

    Tagged with: Arca's Path, Battlezone, Rebellion

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  • Downward Spiral: Horus Station Review: The 2001 To Lone Echo’s Gravity
    Downward Spiral: Horus Station Review: The 2001 To Lone Echo’s Gravity

    Let’s get this out of the way first: Downward Spiral: Horus Station is not a rip-off of Lone Echo. Yes, the zero gravity traversal is strikingly similar to Ready at Dawn’s Oculus exclusive but we actually saw it first in Downward Spiral: Prologue, which released a little over a year ago now. More than that, though, 3rd Eye Studios’ brilliant new sci-fi game is less interested with the blockbuster thrills of its contemporary, instead in pursuit of a different kind of space odyssey.

    The entire four-hour campaign comes and goes without a single spoken word, for example, leaving you to piece together the story of a survivor exploring the wreckage of a space station. The void is filled by a mesmerizing soundtrack that lures you along each deserted corridor and barren control station, effortlessly switching from swathy mystery and intrigue to rhythm-setting action pieces when the time arises. Then there’s that combat, which somehow finds a natural fit in an otherwise atmospheric exploration game.

    Add to that full co-op support and a competitive multiplayer mode to boot and Horus Station is quite the package.

    Much of your time onboard Horus Station is going to be spent throwing yourself out into the zero gravity open, catching yourself on the closest wall, realigning and then doing it all over again. Even after hours of Echo Arena and the like, this remains one of the most convincing and outright enjoyable means of getting around in VR, which is fortunate considering there are lengthy sections of the game where it’s all you’re doing. Just getting from A to B is an enjoyable game in its own right here, though 3rd Eye does lean a little too hard on the mechanic at times. Some of the eight acts feel like they come and go without much of anything happening, even if you are rigorously hunting down plot points in the game’s environment.

    It’s a testament to the intrigue that 3rd Eye drums up that I never found myself getting bored, though. Every new area I entered felt like a discovery worthy of inspection, be it wondering how the poor soul floating in the middle of the room met his end, or catching a rare glimpse of the ominous orange planet that Horus Station orbits around. I was constantly curious as to what I’d find behind each and every one of the facility’s enormous doors, as if the answers left by the harrowing pile of corpses I was wading through were always right around the corner. They’re often not; this is a story that will only stretch as far as your imagination lets it, but the powerful atmosphere drags you through all the same.

    Horus Station clearly fancies itself as the 2001: A Space Odyssey to Lone Echo’s Gravity, and it comes admirably close to pulling it off. At times the game’s intermittent visions from the planet below sent chills down my spine as the hazy soundtrack hypnotized me. Crucially, there’s very little that ever takes you out of the experience;

  • The Forest Update Improves VR Support With Community Suggestions
    The Forest Update Improves VR Support With Community Suggestions

    Endnight Games’ The Forest finally launched in VR last week, though very much in an experimental phase. Some of the issues players have been having are addressed in a just-released patch, though.

    For the second patch to The Forest’s VR beta Endnight has incorporated plenty of ideas and suggestions from the community. There are simple fixes to make the survival game a little more intuitive, like adding a laser pointer to menus to make it easier to select options, and bringing in indicators to show you how long you need to hold a button to pick up an item. One of the most-requested features, controller-based direction for movement, is also included now too.

    Other fixes make The Forest more immersive in VR. There’s a new physical crouching option, for example, allowing you to simulate sneaking through the game’s wooded world. Moving a lighter next to a campfire will light it meanwhile, and the overall feel of firing a bow and arrow has been improved. Full release notes are below.

    It’s a nice update, though there’s still plenty more work to be done on the game. For starters, the game’s cooperative multiplayer options still aren’t included in the VR beta, and we’re looking forward to their eventual integration. We’ll bring you full impressions once the game is in a more complete state.

    Fixed game outputting at lower resolution than it was rendering at Added VR laser pointer to interact with menus New movement option added, controller based direction (direction is controlled by position of left hand) – off by default, can be set in vr option menu Added physical crouching option – off by default, can be set in VR option menu Added visuals for controllers in options menu and title scene Hold to take items such as eating food now have a visual to give clearer idea how long you need to press (same as the 2d version) Can now drop animal heads the same way as dropping bodies and logs, with trigger Blocked opening inventory while holding log sled Improved feel of nocking arrows You can now light fires by moving your held lighter to them Fire arrows can now be lit from fire stands Replaced keybindings window in VR with a VR options menu Fixed entire napkin not selecting the item when there’s only one on it making it easier to take items off mat (same as 2d version) Added new option for auto run Right hand trigger press now clicks the currently targeted UI element in menus Tweaked axe swinging, you now need to swing further to damage structures Now using left trigger to press buttons in book Fixed adding resources to structures input sometimes not responding Improved readability of options menu in game

    Tagged with: The Forest

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  • PSVR Down To $199.99 For Sony’s Days of Play Event, Move and Aim Discounted Too
    PSVR Down To $199.99 For Sony’s Days of Play Event, Move and Aim Discounted Too

    It wasn’t too long ago that Sony slashed $100 off of the price of its PSVR headset, taking it down to $299.99 with bundled games. But you’ll be able to get the kit for even cheaper during an official promotion next month.

    Yesterday, Sony announced Days of Play, a 10-day promotional event taking place across the globe. From June 8th – 18th you’ll be able to get a PSVR bundle for $199.99 USD/$249.99 CDN. It’s not clear exactly what bundle this will be, though the cheapest way to get the current PSVR unit (not the original model that was replaced last year) is via a pack that includes a copy of Doom VFR for $299.99. It’s possible that’s the deal we’ll get during Days of Play, then.

    Over in the EU, meaning, you’ll be able to get the PSVR Starter Pack, which includes a copy of PlayStation VR worlds, for €249.99.

    That’s far from where the deals end, though. Sony is also offering a limited edition Days of Play VR for $299.99 USD/$379.99 CDN which comes with two specially-themed controllers. As for standalone controllers, a DualShock 4 will run you $39.99 USD/$49.99 CDN, a pair of PS Move motion controllers will cost $79.99 USD/$99.99 CDN, and the standalone PSVR Aim controller, available only in the US, will cost $49.99.

    As for games, you’ll be able to get Gran Turismo Sport for $19.99 USD/$29.99 CDN, Farpoint for $14.99 USD/$19.99 CDN, The Inpatient for $14.99 USD/$19.99 CDN and Bravo Team for $29.99 USD/$39.99 CDN. Quick hint: don’t get Bravo Team.

    Notably, the promotion is running over E3 2018, including Sony’s showcase on Monday, June 11th. If you don’t feel like there’s much of a reason to pick up PSVR thus far, let’s hope Sony gives you a few more reasons then.

    Tagged with: PSVR

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  • Budget Cuts Livestream: Pre-Release Stealthy Robot Murdering
    Budget Cuts Livestream: Pre-Release Stealthy Robot Murdering

    Budget Cuts is releasing soon later this week and we’ve had access to a press preview version of the game for the last few days ahead of launch. While our reviewer has ran into several game-breaking bugs on both Rift and Vive (and has only published a review-in-progress so far) we still wanted to livestream the game ahead of launch while we are able.

    Over the years this has been considered one of VR’s most anticipated games, originally being showcased alongside the HTC Vive years ago. In the game you’ll take on the role of a robot trying to escape an ominous corporation with a very Portal-esque vibe about it using a mixture of stealthy and thrown-object combat.

    We’ll be livestreaming Budget Cuts today on PC using an HTC Vive starting very soon (which means we’ll start at approximately 3:40PM PT) and aim to last for about an hour or so. We’re going to use Restream to hit both YouTube and Twitch at the same time!

    You can see our archived streams all in  this one handy Livestream playlist over on the official UploadVR YouTube channel (which you should totally subscribe to by the way). We’re also rebooting our Twitch channel too.

    Let us know which games you want us to livestream next and if you want to see more Budget Cuts in the future. Comment with any feedback down below!

    Tagged with: Budget Cuts, livestream

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  • Sega Mega Drive And Genesis Classics Get VR Support On Steam
    Sega Mega Drive And Genesis Classics Get VR Support On Steam

    The Sega Genesis will forever be an absolutely essential part of my childhood. I had over 60 games for the system growing up, countless controllers and joysticks, and spent hundreds if not thousands of hours completing the Sonic trilogy, adventuring through all four mainline Phantasy Star games, adventuring through my favorite Disney films like Aladdin and The Lion King, and generally getting to enjoy doing what Nintendon’t.

    Life as a Genesis kid in the 90s was great and now, thanks to the power of VR, it doesn’t just have to be a memory. Rather than simply simulating a large screen in a void like PSVR’s theater mode, the Sega Mega Drive and Genesis Classics collection on Steam has official and robust Steam support.

    As a single new feature in a large update full of new, free enhancements, the VR support is at first-glance an afterthought. But the real highlight is that it lets you experience all >50 Genesis games from the collection as if you’re sitting in a retro 90s-themed bedroom reminiscent of the one you or someone you knew may have grew up in. It reminds me a bit of the living room from Duck Season.

    It’s lacking some highlights from my own childhood of course, but it gets the job done. Sonic and Golden Axe posters adorn the walls, the trusty Genesis is stored below the old rounded-screen CRT TV, and with a quality Genesis-style USB gamepad you’d be good to go. Although, any gamepad would work just fine — or you can even use the Vive wands as well, but I’d recommend a gamepad of some kind with a dedicated d-pad on it.

    This is a pretty cool, free update. Also included are new challenge missions for each game, leaderboards, online multiplayer, mirror mode, and other graphics options. This same bundle just launched on consoles today, but there’s no word of the PS4 version having PSVR support. It’s only listed as Vive support right now. Also worth noting is that a similar effect has been possible for quite a long time using New Retro Arcade: Neon or just an emulator inside of Bigscreen.

    If you’ve ever dreamed of playing Sonic, Streets of Rage, or Phantasy Star in VR before, then here you go. Probably now what you had in mind, but it’s still a great blast from the past.

    Let us know what you think of these revived classics down in the comments below!

    Tagged with: Genesis, Mega Drive, sega, sonic

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  • Godzilla Conquers Tokyo In Earth-Shaking Hololens AR Experience

    The king of monsters terrorizes real-world Tokyo during Japan’s “Godzilla Nights” live event. Since its very first appearance in the 1954 classic Godzilla, Japan’s most infamous monster has delighted, as well as terrified audiences around the world with over 60 years of city-smashing films, television shows, and video games. The enormous creature was originally created

    The post Godzilla Conquers Tokyo In Earth-Shaking Hololens AR Experience appeared first on VRScout.

  • Budget Cuts Review-In-Progress: Thrilling Spontaneous Stealth Betrayed By Bugs Galore
    Budget Cuts Review-In-Progress: Thrilling Spontaneous Stealth Betrayed By Bugs Galore

    The last thing I expected Budget Cuts to do was to make me question my mental stability, but here I am, standing over the crumpled body of a harmless worker-bot with a pair of scissors in its back. I put those scissors there. I found myself next to this well-mannered machine and smiled at his cheery greeting, then I killed him. I watched him wave his arms in unexpected agony and then drop to the floor, lifeless. And I smiled while I did it.

    See, Budget Cuts, the long-awaited VR stealth game from Stockholm-based Neat Corporation, is probably the nicest, most polite virtual world you could visit inside a VR headset. It’s a tamer Aperture Science; office spaces are lined with visual jokes about every day being Taco Tuesday and its swinging soundtrack bumbles along at a pleasant pace even when you’re on the run from its robotic guards. But it also gives you one thing a lot of other experiences don’t, something that can cancel out all that kind-hearted world-building with a single stab in the back: freedom.

    It’s up to you how you make your way through the world of Budget Cuts. You can be as a ghost, albeit one that teleports, keeping to your knees as you dart between indenti-kit office cubicles, daring yourself to peek around corners to see if the coast is clear and scanning for hidden exits. Or, if you’ve got a decent throwing arm, you can take the decidedly more malicious route, locating sharp things to stab into patrolling guards, either picking them off one-by-one or doing your best Neo impression as you take everyone on at once.

    These choices are what make Budget Cuts thrive; there’s a spontaneity to the last-minute backstabbing and instinctive ducking that you just couldn’t get with a gamepad in your hand. But the chaos can go both ways, and you’ll often find Budget Cuts crumbles under the weight of this ambition, too.

    Take the path of the murderer, for example. If you choose to slay your way through the game you’ll see it at both its best and worst. For the former, it’s the super-slick sensation that comes with popping out from behind a corner, tossing a knife and then vanishing back behind the wall as your enemies slump to the floor. It’s just as brilliant when things go wrong within the rules of the game, though; if you miss you’ll put guards on alert and have to double back and assess your next plan.

    Better yet, if you hit something non-vital you’ll see the guard yelp in pain, but give them enough time to return fire before they succumb to their wounds. Budget Cuts constantly demands you formalize and act upon ‘Plan B’ at a moment’s notice, and it keeps you on edge throughout.

    On the flip side, the sheer amount of possibilities on offer can leave enemy AI confused and sometimes even dead without you doing anything. From what I’ve seen, there’s no real ramification for the body of a guard being

  • Antilatency Brings 6DoF VR To The Oculus Go

    Add positional tracking to your Oculus Go in just 1.5 hours with Antilatency technology. The Oculus Go is an excellent VR headset. Comfortable face padding, a generous field of view, a healthy line-up of software, all without the need of a powerful PC or smartphone. Despite these impressive features however, the device does suffer from

    The post Antilatency Brings 6DoF VR To The Oculus Go appeared first on VRScout.

  • Augmented World Expo To Showcase Next Steps In AR/VR This Week
    Augmented World Expo To Showcase Next Steps In AR/VR This Week

    Augmented World Expo is this week in Santa Clara, California with an assortment of demos planned to preview next steps for VR/AR.

    The conference in the heart of Silicon Valley kicks off Wednesday with a series of talks followed by more than 100,000 feet of expo space to explore on Thursday and Friday. A 20,000 square foot “Playground” will showcase an assortment of experiences from across the spectrum of AR/VR.

    Here’s a list provided by AWE of projects being shown in the playground:

    Machines of Progress by EyeJack: Illustrated and animated by Australian artist Sutu, Machines of Progress is a colorful, large format illustration of a futuristic laboratory for testing fictional technologies and strange interface designs. Heal-ium: Positivity Tree by StoryUp XR: In a world filled with negativity, harness the power of your brain’s *Positivity* to transform your VR or AR environment. It’s kind of like virtual telekinesis. Use your mind’s gamma asymmetry to grow a VR tree or an AR butterfly from a chrysalis to a beautiful monarch. Kitty Kong — The 8th Wonder of the World by Shape Immersive is a multi-player, interactive, and full 360-degree mixed reality experience. In this mission to save the world from the notorious Kitty Kong, players must work together to create a magical barrier to contain the destruction. Tribe VR DJ School by Tribe XR: Take your first DJ lesson in VR. Relax VR: Take a break. Take a breath. Sit back . . . and escape to the world’s most relaxing, natural settings. Gaze at vast, undulating ocean waves toward the horizon as you de-stress to a gentle meditation or soft melodic tunes. In Situ eXPerience by Realcast will project attendees into an immersive storytelling experience–delivered through AR smart glasses, AR smartphones and movement trackers–so real you think it is actually happening. Where Thoughts Go: Prologue is a groundbreaking interactive social narrative. In this universe, sleeping creatures float toward you awakened by a gentle touch to reveal the thoughts of others who have previously visited. Two Bit Circus: Join the mad scientists, artists, inventors, and storytellers from Two Bit Circus as they showcase some of their most popular games. PUB TALK – An experience like no other by Nuheara: Come try IQbuds intelligent wireless earbuds in a bustling pub setting, and feel the difference that augmented hearing can make. The Multiple Reality Machine by Igloo Vision displays any form of 360°, VR or AR content in a shared, immersive projection space. For AWE, Igloo has developed a series of scenarios to show how groups of people can engage and interact with multiple immersive realities. The Globacore Heist by Globacore: Commit the heist of the century in a VR museum, dodging lasers, fighting off flying drones, and avoiding becoming shark food in order to steal treasured artifacts and return them to their proper place in space and time. Heroes Alliance Online by Beyond One lets attendees connect with other players and battle against a massive fire breathing dragon flying through the venue. Avoid obstacles, dodge fireballs, and aim powerful attacks–all through the lens of a smartphone. Infinadeck is the world’s first commercially-viable omnidirectional treadmill. This patented device
  • Gran Turismo Sport Gets Yet More New Cars This Week
    Gran Turismo Sport Gets Yet More New Cars This Week

    Ready for more cars in Gran Turismo Sport? No? Well you’re getting them anyway.

    The next update for Polyphony Digital’s PSVR-supported racer is due to release this week, series creator Kazunori Yamauchi recently confirmed on Twitter. It’s set to add nine new cars for free. We don’t know exactly what these vehicles will be but you’re welcome to try and guess based on the teaser image below. The replies to the tweet are filled with fans connecting the dots, so check those out too.

    Update is coming next week. 来週、アップデートが来ます。#GranTurismoSport #GTSport #GranTurismo #PS4share

    — 山内 一典 (@Kaz_Yamauchi) May 24, 2018

    As always, you’ll be able to jump into these cars and experience lifelike driving in the game’s PSVR mode, which now consists of both 1-on-1 AI racing and a time trial mode. While GT Sport’s PSVR-support has always been considered fairly barebones, the actual experience of driving these cars in VR is hard to beat, so it’s great to see more support come to the racing sim.

    We’re not yet sure what other features will be added in this update, though hopefully VR fans will have some more content to look forward to. Perhaps we can expect new track layouts for starters.

    Tagged with: gran turismo sport

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