• 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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  • Excerpt: Five Stories From Blake Harris Book The History Of The Future
    Excerpt: Five Stories From Blake Harris Book The History Of The Future

    The new book The History Of The Future is out in hardcover, ebook and audiobook. The narrative written by Console Wars author Blake Harris charts the 2012 founding of Oculus. Along the way there is an accounting of the $3 billion acquisition by Facebook and $500 million jury decision. The story ends after the 2017 exit of Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey.

    Along the way is Chapter 23, titled NINE STORIES. The chapter focuses on developers in April 2013 receiving the first Rift development kit — known as DK1. 56,334 of the headsets would eventually ship to 114 countries. The nine stories provide an intimate look into how some lives changed with the arrival of that VR headset.

    Last week, we published a remarkable email referenced in the book originally sent by John Carmack in 2015 to Oculus leaders. The document assesses the group’s strengths and weaknesses with extraordinary detail. This week, we are printing excerpts from Chapter 23.

    Below are the last five of the nine stories. Also be sure to check yesterday’s excerpt of the first four stories from  Chapter 23 of The History Of The Future.


    Los Angeles, California

    Like many gamers in 2013, Chris Gallizzi was obsessed with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. After all, what could possibly be better than playing as Dragonborn, training with the Greybeards, and battling Alduin in an epic, open-world civil war? Well, actually, Gallizzi thought, there was one thing that could make Skyrim even better: actually becoming Dragonborn.

    As the head of R&D for Hyperkin—a hardware manufacturer best known for cloning retro consoles—Gallizzi wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. So he used an open-source 3-D driver called Vireio Perception and began modding a version of Skyrim that would work on his DK1.

    When the mod was in a semiplayable state, Gallizzi called up the head of Hyperkin to tell him how incredible it felt to be immersed inside his favorite game. “I want you to see,” Gallizzi said, and then took in his PC and devkit for everyone in the office to see.

    Unfortunately, Gallizzi’s initial demo didn’t go so well—leading several of his colleagues to feel nauseated—but that only inspired him to make his mod better. To perfect the warping and stabilize the experience, which he did during his off-hours over the next two weeks before demoing it all again. This time, the reaction was totally different; this time he actually made believers out of a few people. And now that his colleagues were starting to see VR through rosier-colored eyes, Gallizzi made his move.

    “I think we should get into VR,” Gallizzi told the head of Hyperkin: CEO Steven Mar.

    “That’s a nice idea,” Mar replied. “But we’re solely focused on retro-gaming.”

    This was true, of course. The company’s claim to fame was their RetroN 2, which was a two-in-one console that could play cartridges for both the NES and SNES systems. Getting into VR wasn’t exactly a lateral move. “But,” Gallizzi explained, “when Hyperkin first started, retro was a small niche market. And now it’s kind of

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  • Tokyo Chronos Free Demo now Available on Steam for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive The VR visual novel is scheduled for launch in March.
  • EU PlayStation Store Drops a Range of Savings Including Games Under €20 and €10 A few good deals to be had on PlayStation VR software.
  • Compete Face-to-Face With AR Social App Teatime Live The first title available is futuristic racer Hyperspeed.
  • Xing: The Land Beyond PSVR Review: Brief Bits Of VR Adventure Magic
    Xing: The Land Beyond PSVR Review: Brief Bits Of VR Adventure Magic

    Read our full and final review of Xing: The Land Beyond on PSVR to see how it lives up to the legacy of its Myst-like adventure roots.

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  • NextVR Takes On MelodyVR With Launch Of Music Channel
    NextVR Music Central Station Records

    For the past few years VR broadcasting app NextVR has largely focused on sports. But, with its latest partnership, the company is setting its sights on music lovers.

    NextVR this week announced a collaboration with Central Station Records. The pair have just launched a suite of new musical VR experiences focused on electronic music. The videos will take viewers on a global tour of the genre, visiting artists and venues alike. You’ll travel to Tokyo to learn about the captial’s underground music scene and get whisked away to London’s Ministry of Sound club.

    Australian DJ Brooke Evers and musical group Killer Hertz are two of the artists you’ll find in the collection of videos. Check it out in the trailer below.

    🚨🎶 #VR Music Announcement

    NextVR Studios and @CentralStnAUS have partnered to bring you first-of-its-kind immersive music experiences!

    ft. @Brookeevers @KillerHertzDNB @A_Hudge + more NOW in the NextVR app 🔥#VirtualReality

    — NextVR (@nextvr) February 19, 2019

    The move pits NextVR against another major VR music service, MelodyVR. That said, the concept behind MelodyVR is quite different. That app gathers a selection of live performances in 360 degrees.

    This is the second major partnership NextVR has announced since holding significant layoffs in January 2019. At the time CEO David Cole told UploadVR that this was the result of being built for a bigger VR market. Since then, NextVR also revealed a collaboration with the NHL.

    All content was shot in 3D and can be seen now inside the NextVR app. That’s on Oculus Rift, Go, PSVR, Vive, Vive Focus, Gear VR, Daydream, Windows VR and even Pimax. Whew!

    Tagged with: Central Station Records, MelodyVR, nextVR

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  • Star Wars: Project Porg Is Like A Tamagotchi For Magic Leap, Out Now
    Star Wars Project Porg Magic Leap One AR

    Forget Jedi training and duels with Darth Vader; the most important Star Wars AR app just released. That’s right, Project Porg is now available for Magic Leap One.

    Wait, what’s Project Porg?

    I’m glad you asked! A few years back we reported that Magic Leap had partnered with ILMxLAB, a division of Lucasfilm. Then, at last year’s LeapCon, the pair announced Project Porg. It’s like an AR Tamagotchi starring the cute little critters that you either loved or hated in The Last Jedi. Sort of like the film itself! This week the app launched for Magic Leap One owners. You can see the trailer for it below.

    In the game, C-3PO instructs you to look after a Porg. The idea, ILMxLAB explains, was to build a relationship akin to owning a dog or a cat. You’ll go through a Porg’s lifecycle, playing with it and caring for it. You can even raise a family of the little guys. Who wouldn’t want to spend time with their adorable little faces? Those abyssal eyes and miserable frowns?

    Okay so it might not be the ultimate Star Wars adventure but it looks like a fun experiment. Real talk, though: did anyone else think that Hoth demo teased at the start of the trailer looked really cool? We’d like to get our hands on that too, please.

    Project Porg is available to download for free. Elsewhere, ILMxLAB is still working on Star Wars: Vader Immortal. It’s an interactive VR series which will pit players against the iconic villain. Expect the first episode to debut on Oculus Quest later this year.

    Tagged with: Magic Leap, Magic Leap One, Star Wars: Project Porg

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