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  • Walking the Walk With LBE VR Specialist PlatformaVR VRFocus caught up with PlatformaVR's Ilya Kuzyuk to learn more.
  • The Messy Truth Is A VR Experience About Race Starring Black Panther’s M’Baku
    The Messy Truth Is A VR Experience About Race Starring Black Panther’s M’Baku

    A new VR experience focused on race made waves at this week’s Lumiere Awards.

    The Messy Truth VR Experience, which is the latest addition to TV host Van Jones’ long-running series, took the Social Justice Award at the event on January 30th. The experience stars Winston Duke, best known for playing M’Baku in last year’s Black Panther. In it, viewers step into the shoes of a 12-year old African American boy. Based on a real-life incident, the story follows both him and his father (Duke) when they’re pulled over by the police.

    The piece is directed by Elijah Allan-Blitz and produced with the help of research from Time Magazine. But it’s not just a simple 360 video; the piece used Leap Motion hand-tracking to put you in the body of the character.

    “Sometimes it seems nearly impossible to truly understand what a person of a different race, gender or worldview is going through,” Jones said of the piece. “But a Virtual Reality experience can give life-changing insight. VR has the potential to be the world’s most powerful tool for generating empathy and understanding. It’s time to start using this new technology to bring us together across old divides.”

    For now, The Messy Truth VR Experience is on display at LA’s Technicolor Lab. The production team plans to take it on tour, though, visiting sites like airports across the country. No word on a home release just yet, though. This is the first in a planned series of VR episodes.

    Interested in other VR apps about race? We’d definitely recommend I Am A Man, a powerful retelling of transformative days for America.

    Tagged with: The Messy Truth VR, vr movies, Winston Duke

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  • Onward Goes Arctic With New Level, Trailer Debuts
    Onward Goes Arctic With New Level, Trailer Debuts

    Onward‘s 1.5 update is just a little late for Christmas but still offers some snowy slaughter.

    The latest version of Downpour Interactive’s military simulation shooter adds a host of new features. Chief among them is a new map, named Snowpeak. It’s set in Russian mountains and has one team making their way into an enemy base. You can check it out in the trailer below.

    But that’s far from all that’s new here. In a new game mode, Uplink Assault, you’ll finally be able to respawn in a match. The mode is largely similar to Onward’s core online mode, getting one team to secure an uplink and the other to defend it. The attacking team will now be given 20 respawn tickets, though, giving the match a little more space. The defending team will have infinite respawns.

    There’s also another new mode called Gun Game. In this 10 player deathmatch, you get a new gun every time you kill another player. The first player to cycle through all of the weapons wins. Gun Game is the first in a rotating series of modes that will switch out every two weeks. These will be more casual game types and will feature the return of Spec Ops.

    Still going: update 1.5 adds the RPG7, M203 Grenade Launcher for both frag and smoke, flare gun, and new AK-74, SKS, and Makarov models. There’s also new hand models, gestures and new animations. And, of course, 1.5 rounds out with a massive list of changes and tweaks including bug fixes and more.

    Whew! That should keep you happy for a while. You can see the full list on a Steam blog post.

    Tagged with: onward, vr shooter

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  • Start A VR Band With EXA’s Multiplayer Music Update
    Start A VR Band With EXA’s Multiplayer Music Update

    PC VR headset owners can start a band in VR with music-making app EXA: The Infinite Instrument.

    The added multiplayer functionality in a new Early Access build gives players the ability to share music-making sessions with others around the world. One player hosts a room and EXA keeps layouts synced for the various instruments as well as “items, playback states, metronome, and live ringer events.”

    “The room can be made available publicly, can be hidden until a player enters the room name, or can be limited to your local network (LAN). The room creator can even put players into a ‘spectator’ mode by disabling some of their room permissions,” developer Zach Kinstner wrote in an update explaining the change.

    Calling All Bands

    A video further explains the syncing functionality and how it might work better over lower latency conditions. Players can talk to one another and record loops in any network condition — arranging instruments, adding sounds and building up compositions together. Loops, however, transfer to other players upon completion. That process could take several seconds for detailed loops with lots of data to transfer, according to Kinstner. Musicians can add live sounds on top of the loops via their shared instruments — just like a real-life band — in extremely low latency sessions, like over a local area network.

    “When latency is low, each player’s ringer events can transfer fast enough for other players to hear the full ringer sounds at the correct time,” Kinstner explains. “In these conditions, you could conceivably play a live performance in EXA, with everyone playing their virtual instruments at the same time, rather than sharing loops. With higher latency levels, you won’t hear the full sound from a ringer event. For example, if an event reaches you 80 milliseconds late, you’ll miss the first 80 milliseconds of that ringer’s sound. As latency increases, it becomes more difficult for live performers to stay in sync with each other, and players should collaborate using recorded loops instead.”

    EXA lists support for Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Windows Mixed Reality headsets.

    Tagged with: band, Exa, music, perform

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  • Kosmos Looks To Establish K-12 School That Exists Entirely In VR

    Relax, it’s just rocket science. Students taking classes with Kosmos School can design and launch rockets in VR as a way to study physics and chemistry, but the school hopes that students will soon be able to study all of their coursework in a virtual environment. Right now, things are still small. Kosmos School is

    The post Kosmos Looks To Establish K-12 School That Exists Entirely In VR appeared first on VRScout.

  • Chatting With The Developers Of Tactical VR Shooter ‘In League’

    Pick your avatar, customize your loadout, and extinguish your rivals in this homegrown jailbreak-themed shooter. VR has become a beacon for low-budget breakout hits; the success of Beat Saber and Onward in this space would not be possible in the saturated indie market of traditional flatscreen gaming. As such, VR isn’t just an exciting frontier

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  • Mosh Pit Simulator Is A Lacking Attempt At VR Memedom
    Mosh Pit Simulator Is A Lacking Attempt At VR Memedom

    There’s a strand of VR madness that really works. Accounting+ embraces inevitable moral panics and judgment-free murder to create something entirely surreal. Job Simulator finds fun in the mundane, letting you live out your stupidest daydreams free from consequence. As the name implies, Mosh Pit Simulator has a slightly more traditional take on the zany possibilities of VR. It’s essentially a Goat Simulator wannabe inside a headset. I’m sorry to say the results are profoundly less interesting.

    Don’t get me wrong, I had my giggles inside Mosh Pit Simulator’s creaky sandbox. Attaching missiles to a whale’s fin and then watching it corkscrew off into the sunset or punching rubbery humans through windows 50 stories high will always be at least a little funny. But it’s laughter I’ve already enjoyed in other, better games, and it wears too thin too fast.

    If anything, this feels like a cautionary tale. Yes, there’s fun to be had being the last human on earth, but be careful what you wish for. Mosh Pit Simulator is set in a relatively small open world in which human’s bones have been turned to rubber and their brains resemble mush. In the sandbox mode, you can summon missiles and rotators that will send them and other objects spiraling off into space. It’s broken more often than not; humans clip through walls, collisions end with objects disappearing and the screen can stutter with how much it has to handle.

    But any laughter you might get from it rings hollow across the game’s unsightly streets. These aren’t happy accidents; they’re glitches for the sake of glitches. Mosh Pit Simulator seems content with laughing at VR’s limitations rather than finding the deeper humor in what it does right. The world is also empty; there are some NPCs around but you have to summon most of them yourself in a shop. In the game’s single-player story (essentially a glorified tutorial), giant animals tour the town like clockwork. It fleshes the world out considerably. If the sandbox mode itself were this unpredictable I might find a reason to spend more than a few minutes inside it.

    As it stands, this world feels dead and not intentionally so. There’s no audible impact when objects collide, making spectacular crashes feel lifeless. You can stick any two objects together but there often isn’t much point to it. The truth of the matter is that there just isn’t that much to do.

    Now, I realize that I probably just don’t ‘get it’. I know that I’m being a Scrooge here and that people may mine hilarity from Mosh Pit. It’s probably the same people that find Drunkn Bar fight funny (I don’t). And, hey, more power to you. This has enough ammunition to fuel a few hours of streaming madness for sure. But a VR game that’s ultimately better watched than it is played is not something I can recommend.

    Mosh Pit Simulator’s current state is a bit of a disappointment, then. This is all just the start, though. The game’s kicking off a proposed six-month Early Access phase today. If Mosh Pit

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  • Get into the Action as the NHL Partners With NextVR The recent 2019 Honda NHL All-Star Game is currently available to watch.
  • Vreal Adds Desktop Mode To VR Streaming Platform
    Vreal Adds Desktop Mode To VR Streaming Platform

    VR startup Vreal is opening up the audience for its service more widely with the addition of a desktop mode for its streaming platform.

    The Vreal service is integrated with a number of VR titles including Tilt Brush, Superhot, H3VR, Gorn, Blocks and Fantastic Contraption. The app allows folks to record their session in a virtual world for playback later. This new mode lets viewers navigate around a recorded scene to see the action from another angle without needing to put on a VR headset.

    This new mode could be useful for folks who spend a lot of time in one of the compatible titles and want to grow an audience for those experiences. The app should let viewers get closer to the action than a traditional Twitch stream. In particular, creators in apps like Tilt Brush or Blocks might be able to explain how they are making something to future viewers who get right up to see every brush stroke.

    The company uploaded the following video to demonstrate the new mode.

    Vreal remains in early access on Steam. Earlier in January, the company added support for Gunheart, representing the first game built in Unreal Engine to get support for the service.

    We’re curious to see what 2019 has in store for Vreal. There is still little in the way of details regarding next generation PC-based VR headsets and those new systems could have a major impact on adoption and usage of a streaming platform like Vreal. We’re expecting major updates in the coming months at events like Mobile World Congress, Game Developers Conference and even E3 which could reshape the market.

    Tagged with: streaming, Vreal

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  • Go Mental as Mosh Pit Simulator is Out Now Humans with literally no backbones.
  • Facebook: Oculus Go “Contributed To Revenue Growth”, But Also To Marketing Costs
    Facebook: Oculus Go “Contributed To Revenue Growth”, But Also To Marketing Costs

    Facebook this week hosted their Q4 2018 earnings call, reporting their finances for the quarter. During the call Facebook Chief Financial Officer (CFO) David Wehner stated:

    Payments & Other Fees revenue was $274 million, up 42%. Sales of Oculus Go and the launch of Portal contributed to the revenue growth in the quarter.

    This is the first time Oculus has been mentioned as a revenue source. In 2016 after the Rift launch Wehner had very different news, stating “It’s not going to be material to our financials this year.”

    This seems to indicate that the Oculus Go is selling much better than Rift ever did. Remember these are revenue figures, not units, so multiple Go headsets need to be sold to generate the same revenue as one Rift.

    At Oculus Connect 5, Oculus CTO John Carmack claimed Go headset sales “exceeded even my expectations”- and that he had been “the most optimistic”.

    It’s important to note that “Payments & Other Fees” is the smallest section of Facebook’s revenue. The company’s main business is still advertising, which brought in over 98% of revenue.

    Marketing Costs

    The notable Oculus Go revenue didn’t come for free, however. Facebook’s total expenses were up by $1 billion – an increase of 62% compared to this time last year. When explaining this increase, Wehr included the marketing cost of Oculus Go:

    In addition to continued investment in infrastructure, safety & security, and innovation, expenses were also driven by seasonal factors – including marketing efforts, notably the promotion of Portal and Oculus Go.

    This likely refers to the celebrity marketing campaign Facebook threw in fall. Wiz Khalifa, Jonah Hill, Adam Levine, Leslie Jones, and Awkwafina were enlisted in an effort to sell the standalone headset. While Facebook doesn’t break down its marketing expenses in detail, we don’t imagine those stars work for cheap.

    Future VR Investment

    The earnings call also gives hints as to Facebook’s future commitment to VR. CEO Mark Zuckerberg commented:

    Longer term, I remain very focused on building technology that brings people together in new ways, including through AR and VR. I’m looking forward to Oculus Quest shipping this spring — the feedback there so far has been very positive.

    CFO David Wehner went into more detail, explaining that the company plans “to continue to invest aggressively in the priority areas, including on the innovation side with AR/VR and AI”. This is consistent with past Facebook statements, including that spending would increase 40-50% in 2019 due to VR, AR, and more.

    Profitability

    No comments were made about the profitability of Go- only about raw revenue. At $199 it’s likely the headset is sold at or near cost. The Oculus Store is where the profits should come from.

    But this early in the VR market Facebook may not care about profit yet. In a 2016 earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg described VR’s profitability as “a 10-year thing”. But what does seem likely from this week’s comments is that Oculus Go is selling better than Rift ever did.

    Tagged with: facebook, Oculus Go

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  • SteelSeries Stratus Duo Is A Sleek New Oculus Go Gamepad
    SteelSeries Stratus Duo Is A Sleek New Oculus Go Gamepad

    The vast majority of Oculus Go apps are best played with a motion controller. But there’s no denying that some games and experiences simply play better with a gamepad. Good news, then; SteelSeries’ latest product is an Oculus Go gamepad designed for gamers.

    The SteelSeries Stratus Duo launched this week for $59.99. It comes with all the usual bells and whistles; dual analog sticks, four face buttons, a d-pad, and shoulder buttons. SteelSeries is keen to mention that the kit works with both the Oculus Go and the Gear VR headsets, though. It connects via Bluetooth.

    The Stratus Duo also comes with over 20 hours of rechargeable battery life. It weighs in at 245g. Inside the box you’ll find a wireless USB adapter (which you won’t need for VR) and a Micro-USB charging cable.

    Outside of Go and Gear, the Stratus Duo also supports Windows PCs and Android devices. It’s also compatible with Steam games, so you could use it with your Vive, Rift and Windows VR headsets too. With a Stratus Duo in hand, you can play some Go games that require a controller like the Herobound series. Other games like Republique also just play better with a gamepad.

    You can also use console gamepads you already own for Oculus Go gaming but support can be finicky. It might be the more expensive choice, but a dedicated controller is definitely the better way to go if you’re serious about an Oculus Go gamepad. Whether or not the Stratus Duo is the best option we can’t say just yet; we haven’t gone hands-on with it ourselves.

    You can order a Stratus Duo direct from SteelSeries’ website.

    Tagged with: Oculus Go, SteelSeries, SteelSeries Stratus Duo, VR gamepad

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  • NHL VR Highlights On The Way Via The NextVR App
    NHL VR Highlights On The Way Via The NextVR App

    Undeterred by recent layoffs, VR broadcasting app NextVR is announcing a new partnership with the National Hockey League today. Get ready for NHL VR highlights.

    NextVR is set to showcase highlights of key NHL games from the 2019 season in VR. The app now features a new NHL channel that will store the stereoscopic 3D content. To kick things off the company launched a VR experience captured at the All-Star Game in San Jose, California last Saturday. Content consists of post-game highlights so expect goals, saves and, of course, some good ol’ fashioned beat-downs.

    It doesn’t look like there will be any live coverage of the games, but NextVR produces some of the best and clearest video we’ve yet seen in VR. It’s also free to watch around the world, which certainly helps.

    “Not every fan can experience our marquee events in-person, but NextVR’s immersive content will bring fans closer to the on-ice action than ever before and make them feel like they are at a live NHL game,” Chris Golier, NHL Vice President of Business Development, said in a prepared statement.

    You’ll be able to watch NHL VR content wherever the NextVR app is. That’s basically everywhere: Rift, Go, Gear, PSVR, Vive, Windows VR and Daydream all support the platform. NHL joins NextVR’s coverage of other major sporting events like the NBA.

    Earlier this month we reported that NextVR had held ‘significant layoffs’. Speaking to UploadVR, the company cited VR’s slow growth as the reason for the layoffs but insisted that the majority of the company and its work wasn’t affected.

    Tagged with: nextVR, NHL

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  • Budget Cuts Confirmed for PlayStation VR, Oculus Quest Version a Possibility No release date has been confirmed just yet.
  • HTC Vive Cosmos FCC Documents Confirm It’s Not A Wireless Headset
    HTC Vive Cosmos FCC Documents Confirm It’s Not A Wireless Headset

    HTC’s upcoming Vive Cosmos VR headset has now received FCC approval. The FCC is a US regulatory agency with responsibility over wireless frequency use.

    FCC filings publibly disclose the exact wireless frequencies a device uses, as well as the peak power output of each.

    The filing finally puts to rest the speculation as to whether the Cosmos would be a wired or wireless headset. The only listed wireless frequency is 2.402-2.48 GHz with an ultra low 2.5 mW power output. This is identical to the frequency and power output the Vive and Vive Pro use to communicate with their tracked controllers.

    Image from FCC filing

    Controllers send a relatively tiny amount of data compared to wireless VR. The WiFi connection on the Vive Focus is in a similar frequency yet draws 558.5 mW – over 200x as much. And even that still wouldn’t be enough for high quality wireless VR.

    Both the Vive and Vive Pro received FCC approval roughly four months before launch. However the Vive Focus had a delay of 7 months between approval and (western) launch.

    At the Cosmos announcement event HTC was already describing the headset as “tethered”. However there was no cable visible. This led to speculation that it could have either optional wireless or that they could mean the headset was wirelessly “tethered”.

    We reached out to HTC about this filing and a representative told us that at launch the headset will connect by “a tether to the PC similar to other Vives on the market today”. While HTC may well be planning a wireless adapter for Cosmos, what we know now is that the headset won’t have wireless built in.

    Tagged with: fcc, htc, htc vive, HTC Vive Cosmos, wireless vr

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