• 5 Upcoming Oculus Exclusives That Could Carry ‘Rift S’ This Year
    Stormland Asgard's Wrath

    Facebook is rumored to launch a refresh of the Oculus Rift this year dubbed the Rift S. Every Oculus VR headset launch so far has been accompanied with an impressive collection of new games. These five major Oculus exclusives launching this year could be Rift S‘s big hitters.

    All five games are fully funded by Oculus Studios, Facebook’s VR content division, and are currently only confirmed for the standard Oculus Rift headset.


    Insomniac Games

    Stormland is a AAA open world co-op adventure from Insomniac Games.

    The game features a vast open world that is part procedural and part hand-crafted. It also features mechanics like crafting, gliding, and climbing. The graphics look incredible from what we’ve seen when we went hands-on with it. This honestly may be the best looking made-for-VR open world title yet.

    When we tried it at PAX West last year we were blown away, concluding that it could be something truly special.

    Insomniac’s previous VR titles were the 3rd-person Lovecraftian adventure Edge of Nowhere . Outside VR they’ve developed hit titles like Spyro the Dragon, Ratchet & Clank, Sunset Overdrive, and the Resistance series. More recently they developed Marvel’s Spider-Man.

    Asgard’s Wrath

    Sanzaru Games

    Asgard’s Wrath is a AAA Norse-inspired action RPG.

    In Asgard’s Wrath you take on the role of a Norse God with the power to inhabit the bodies of mortals. Throughout the 30+ hour adventure you’ll frequently swap back and forth between the perspectives of a towering God with an epic sense of scale and the perspective of on-the-ground mortal warriors to take advantage of the game’s brutal melee combat.

    Sanzaru Games’ previous VR titles were Touch launch titles VR Sports Challenge .

    Lone Echo 2

    Ready at Dawn

    Lone Echo 2 is the sequel to the hit 2017 voice acted story from Ready at Dawn.

    We loved the original Lone Echo, giving it 8.5/10 in our review, stating that it was a “landmark achievement” in locomotion, UI, and interaction, and that the character-driven storytelling creates “a compelling sense of presence that few VR games could hope to match”. Our biggest complaint was that it simply felt incomplete, making us hungry for a full-fledged sequel.

    Not much is known about Lone Echo II yet, but if it’s anything like the original, it’s sure to be a title to look out for.


    Twisted Pixel Games

    Defector is an action packed spy game that turns you into Jason Bourne (or James Bond, if you prefer). Originally slated for 2018, the game was delayed to some time this year.

    We’ve tried this game a few times now — most recently at Oculus Connect 5. Each time we tried it we had a blast. This game probably won’t make you think a whole lot other than deciding how to smooth talk your way out of trouble, but its exhilarating over the top action sequences are downright fun.

    Twisted Pixel previously developed Wilson’s Heart

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  • The HTC Vive Focus Plus is a new Enterprise Focused Headset Coming Q2 2019 The standalone device will include 6DOF controllers and more.
  • HTC Vive Focus Plus Is A New Standalone Headset With 6DOF Controls And Improved Comfort
    Vive Focus Plus HTC standalone

    It’s time to meet yet another new member of the HTC Vive family. Say hello to the Vive Focus Plus.

    Announced today ahead of next week’s Mobile World Congress, Vive Focus Plus is the next entry in HTC’s enterprise-level standalone headset series. It’s got everything you need to jump straight into VR, just like the original Vive Focus. You don’t need a phone, PC or even external sensors thanks to inside-out six degrees of freedom (6DOF) tracking. The biggest additions here, though, are the new 6DOF controllers.

    The original Vive Focus came with one 3DOF controller that allowed you to point in VR. This pair of new controllers, first announced last year, let you reach into virtual worlds just like on the original HTC Vive. Unlike the first Vive, though, Focus Plus uses ultrasonic technology for tracking. The controllers also sport triggers, grip buttons, a trackpad and home and menu buttons. Like the newly-redesigned Oculus Touch controllers for Oculus Quest, the tracking ring runs over the top of the kit.

    We went hands-on with the controllers last year and came away impressed.

    HTC introduced these controllers as a developer kit for the original Focus. They shipped out to studios with a mount you needed to fit to your headset for tracking. However, HTC told UploadVR that it currently has no plans to bring the controllers to original Vive Focus owners.

    “At this time, the new 6Dof controllers are not compatible with the Vive Focus,” a company spokesperson said in a statement. “In working with our partners, they’ve expressed the need for both devices and we’re thrilled to offer a portfolio of standalone products which cater to different developer and company needs.”

    The Vive Focus first arrived in China in 2017 but only released in the west in November 2018. That leaves just a three-month gap between Focus’ release and the announcement of this upgraded model.

    Vive Focus Plus also improves comfort though you wouldn’t know by looking at it. At a glance it looks identical to the old model. A Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset powers the kit. That’s the same as the one seen in the original Focus. It’s also got a 3K display, which is what the original included, though HTC also says it has improved optics. It runs on HTC’s Vive Wave platform.

    Vive Focus Plus will be launching in 25 countries in the second quarter of 2019. We don’t know how much it will cost yet. That said, the original Vive Focus cost $599 when it launched three months ago. Expect it to be higher than that.

    Elsewhere, HTC is also set to release the Vive Pro Eye in Q2. Like the Focus Plus, it’s an upgrade to the original enterprise-level model that won’t replace it. Finally, the Vive Cosmos is also on the way this year. That’s a new consumer headset with 6DOF tracking of its own. We still have a lot to learn about it.

    Tagged with: 6dof controllers, htc, HTC Vive Focus, HTC Vive Focus Plus, standalone

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  • This VR Demo Uses Mid-Air Haptics To Make Affected More Immersive
    Ultrahaptics haptic feedback mid-air

    UK-based Ultrahaptics thinks it has the key to haptic feedback in VR. This week you can try it out for yourself.

    The company partnered with Fallen Planet Studios to integrate its mid-air haptics technology into VR horror title, Affected: The Visit. The experience is showing at the ImmotionVR center in Cabot Circus, Bristol until the end of February. It’s the first UK showing for the demo, which has previously done tours in the US. Check it out in the trailer below.

    Ultrahatpics’ solution uses ultrasound to apply feedback to the user’s hands. It’s previously been showcased as means of controlling other devices, but it could take on new meaning inside VR. Imagine paying a visit to Affected’s virtual house of horrors and not just seeing every jump scare but feeling it too. Or, y’know, something not as massively terrifying.

    Haptics is a crucial area of R&D for VR right now. Current systems bring our hands into VR with full control, but they don’t help you feel the experience. Hands float through walls and surfaces and there’s no resistance to, say, pushing a button. Ultrahaptics solution is one of many potential methods to solve this problem, though all of them seem far off. Currently, you have to hold your hand over a platform laid on a surface in front of you. It’s a little similar to early versions of Leap Motion before it started integrating itself into headsets.

    We’re not sure when Ultrahaptics might be ready for consumer-level VR (if ever), but the studio did raise $23 million in funding in early 2017. It’s a very promising concept.

    Tagged with: Affected: The Visit, Ultrahaptics

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  • The Gear VR Lives on as Samsung Confirms Galaxy S10 Support There's no new headset, it's just the current one with an adaptor.
  • Raiders of Erda Dev Reveals Investment, Ikabod For Accurate VR Avatars
    Raiders of Erda Dev Reveals Investment, Ikabod For Accurate VR Avatars

    It’s been a while since we’ve heard from UK-based Cooperative Innovations. Today, though, it’s got plenty of news to share.

    First up, it’s raised some cash. The team today revealed it had raised £500,000 (about $653,000) in a round of seed funding. Investors include Craig Fletcher, Ascension Ventures and Trend Investment Group. Cooperative Innovations says it will use this money to expand its team (it’s now hiring), but also launch something a little different.

    Cooperative Innovations is also announcing pilot licensing for its VR/AR avatar mapping system, Ikabod. It’s designed to more accurately represent a user’s physical movements through their virtual bodies. Like other animation systems, it does this using the position of the headset and controllers. But the developer claims Ikabod also uses real-time animation corrections to deliver more realistic results. that hopefully means no more elbows suddenly shooting off in weird angles.

    It’s currently available as a plug-in for Epic Games’ Unreal Engine. Speaking to Upload, studio CEO Simon Barratt said that Ikabod was focused on that engine for now but the team would look at bringing its tools to other platforms in the long term.

    We should see Ikabod in use in the studio’s upcoming game, Raiders of Erda.We’ve been excited about Erda for some time. It’s a fantasy action game with co-op support. Players will take on quests, raiding dungeons with swords and arrows. In a preview back in 2017, we said it was like a dream come true for dungeon crawling fans. No word yet on when it might release and on what platforms, but we’ll keep an eye out.

    Elsewhere, the studio says it’s also working on another unannounced multiplayer VR title.

    Tagged with: Cooperative Innovations, Kiabod, motion capture, Raiders of Erda

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  • Angry Birds VR Giveaway Livestream: Win A Free Steam Key!
    Angry Birds VR Giveaway Livestream: Win A Free Steam Key!

    Join us live on Twitch with Angry Birds VR! We're giving away ten free Steam keys during the Stream so don't miss your shot at a free copy.

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  • HTC Just Dropped A Preview Of Their Vive Cosmos Controllers

    HTC teases new information regarding their upcoming 6DoF headset. Last month the Consumer Electronics Expo 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada, HTC announced the latest addition to their VR hardware line-up, the HTC Vive Comos, a combination PC/mobile 6DoF headset featuring inside-out tracking and a flip-up visor. Since its initial reveal, the Taiwanese company has remained

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  • Facebook’s F8 2019 Conference Promises ‘New Features And Updates’ For Oculus
    facebook f8 2019

    Facebook's annual conference promises "new features and updates" for Oculus. Many expect the Oculus Quest headset to be released at the event.

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  • Shadow Legend Delayed An Extra Week To Feb. 28th Due To Lingering Bug
    Shadow Legend Delayed An Extra Week To Feb. 28th Due To Lingering Bug

    Shadow Legend is getting a little bit of extra time in the oven and has been delayed an extra week to February 28th to iron out a lingering bug.

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  • Developer Uses VR To Build AR Experiences That Mimic Real-World Physics

    Lee Vermeulen is breaking new ground with his experimental AR prototypes.  “Palmer Luckey is a tinkerer,” is how Time Magazine described the creator of the Oculus VR headset back in August of 2015. Since that article, Luckey’s “tinkering” has expanded into a full-blown technological revolution, earning him a whopping 2.3 billion USD when he sold his VR company

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  • Magic Leap Versus HoloLens — Which Is Going To Win Over Developers?
    magic leap hololens

    Object Theory is one of the oldest Mixed Reality companies around, having launched in June 2015, before the HoloLens had even started shipping. In many ways they’re your typical tech company – my demos are delivered in the familiar blueprint of a trendy open-plan office with exposed brick walls, which sits above a sushi restaurant – but it’s got a different vibe from a lot of similar start-ups.

    For starters, they’re based in Oregon as opposed to Silicon Valley. And while Portland is by no means a backwater, it’s still not a major tech or immersive content hub like LA or San Francisco either. For another, its founders Raven Zachary and Michael Hoffman (who left Microsoft to start the company) operate a very profitable business (employing about a dozen people between full timers and contractors) with no investment capital. In spite of the fact we’re joking around and playing Angry Birds on Magic Leap, the whole thing feels very grown up, in the sense that these guys are in this for the long haul, and so, they reckon, is the business of making Mixed Reality.

    A key enabler for Object Theory’s success has been Microsoft’s strategy for marketing, supporting, and developing Mixed Reality content for the HoloLens, which is why Zachary and Hoffman are enthusiastic in their praise for the company, and in particular of the leadership of CEO Satya Nadella. By pivoting toward the enterprise market early on, Microsoft managed to create strong and sustained demand for Mixed Reality tools among companies looking to solve real business needs. That, in turn, allowed their partner developers to secure key contracts as they figured their way around the new technology.

    “It’s curious how the HoloLens originated with the Xbox team (its inventor Alex Kipman was also responsible for the Kinect) so there was this idea that it would be mainly a consumer product,” recalls Hoffman. “It was really interesting to see them pivot in that way and go mainstream towards enterprise and I think it was absolutely the right move for them to make.”

    The other significant pivot Microsoft made in recent years, adds Zachary, was to move away from being hardware-centered to focusing on the cloud, marketing Azure’s ability to enable what they call ‘The Intelligent Edge’: “Microsoft is the only one of the large players that has actively decided to be a multi-platform company. They are actively embracing everything that’s relevant out there, and that makes sense, because they’re making cloud consumption more valuable if it works with everything that’s out there. Because of that we hope – and it would make sense – if they adopt an OEM for their Mixed Reality technology. Microsoft has this great patent portfolio and it would be great to take that amazing secret sauce of the HoloLens and license it out to their existing OEM partners like Dell or Samsung.”

    Since the launch of Magic Leap One earlier this year, Object Theory has also started exploring the possibilities that the other platform brings, such as better eye

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  • NextVR Collaborates With Central Station Records on new Musical VR Experiences Head to the new Central Station Records channel within the NextVR app.
  • Why The Low-End Might Be The Right Start For Nintendo’s VR Offerings
    Why The Low-End Might Be The Right Start For Nintendo’s VR Offerings

    Late last week rumors popped up suggesting Nintendo is getting into VR in 2019. Reports didn’t reveal much other than that the company could release a headset compatible with its Switch console as part of its Labo line. Past patents and a little data mining support the idea that the Switch could go VR, despite the company’s long-voiced skepticism. We’re still taking the reports with a pinch of salt, but they do paint an interesting picture.

    On paper, it’s an exciting premise. Zelda, Metroid, Mario Kart and more in VR? Where do we sign up?

    Anyone with even passing knowledge of how headsets work will have some questions, though. Everyone knows that the best VR requires a high-resolution display, six degrees of freedom (6DOF) tracking and beefy processing power to work. The Switch, with its 720p onboard screen, 3DOF motion controllers and Nvidia Tegra X1 processor, doesn’t tick any of those boxes. It’s possible that any VR headset peripheral could include a better screen, more horsepower and 6DOF inside-out tracking, but it seems like a tall order.

    But maybe Nintendo doesn’t need to push for high-end VR, at least not yet. Maybe it’s got more modest plans for its VR beginnings.

    I see Nintendo’s first VR outing as potentially more of an accessory than a platform. It may be similar in concept to Google Daydream or Gear VR but with more manageable ambitions. Instead of aiming to sell millions of units and pave the path for the future of Nintendo, we might be talking about something closer to, say, the Switch’s Poke-Ball Plus or the Wii Fit balance board. Heck, even the GameCube’s Donkey Konga bongos are an apt comparison.

    It’s the possible inclusion in the Labo line that’s key here. Launched last year, Labo is a range of accessories built out of cardboard that let you play different minigames. You can assemble a makeshift fishing rod and sit out by the lake, for example, or build a motorbike handle and lean from side-to-side as you perfect lap times. I can see any VR efforts fitting in with these design principles quite nicely.

    Nintendo’s fears about VR are well-documented and inform whatever decisions they’re making about it. It seems unlikely, to me at least, that Nintendo would risk making a VR game that could make you sick (they already went down that road). I would highly doubt, for example, that the company is working on a VR-conversion of Super Mario Odyssey that lets you run, jump and fall in VR.

    But a stationary fishing game? One where you need to simply flick your Joy-Con up and down to haul in a catch? Something kids could play and is design to be experienced in short bursts? That seems far better suited to the Nintendo I know. It’s also less demanding on the processor and side-steps any fledgling concerns of VR violence.

    I see Switch VR being less of a platform and more of a peripheral. Something self-contained that has its own collection of much smaller experiences. That doesn’t mean

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  • Dreams Early Access Launch Coming This Spring, PSVR Support TBA
    Dreams Early Access Launch Coming This Spring, PSVR Support TBA

    Following the conclusion of Dreams’ Creator Beta, developer Media Molecule today revealed a release window for the anticipated PS4 exclusive. Well, sort of.

    Dreams will launch in Early Access this spring. That’s right, Early Access. Studio Director Siobhan Reddy took to the PlayStation Blog to explain. This release will again be aimed at creators first and foremost. Reddy assured that “100%” of the tools the studio uses to make levels will be included, but some features will still be missing.

    “If you participated in the beta and felt like Dreams wasn’t fully featured enough for you yet, or you wanted more Media Molecule game content, then Early Access might not be for you,” Reddy wrote. “We’re working on all those things during this period so that you have everything you need on your first day in the Dreamiverse.”

    We’ve reached out to Sony to ask if the long-promised PSVR support will be included in Early Access. We haven’t heard back yet but we wouldn’t hold our breath; the Beta didn’t support VR either. Media Molecule has said the game will support VR from day one in the past, but is this really day one?

    In PSVR, players will be able to create and play levels specifically tailored to the headset. But Dreams’ incredibly accessible toolset, which allows players to build entire games, could make this a hub for an exciting swathe of VR experiences.

    The Early Access build will also be a “limited release”, which suggests Media Molecule will only sell a certain amount of digital copies. It’s set to be priced at $29.99, though it’s not clear if buying into the pre-release nets you the full game too.

    Either way we’re excited to see Dreams finally rolling out on a wider scale.

    Tagged with: dreams, media molecule, PSVR

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