• Fire Escape Review: A Complex, Engaging Interactive VR Thriller
    Fire Escape Review: A Complex, Engaging Interactive VR Thriller

    Remember Private Eye? It was an early VR demo that captured a lot of attention. The game’s premise had players overlooking a block of apartments and peering into the lives of others to solve mysteries. It sadly never came to fruition but the concept lives on in Fire Escape.

    This is a tense interactive VR murder mystery from 1979 Revolution developer, Ink Stories. In it, you find yourself out on the fire escape of your apartment, surveying a group of tenants that are being pressured to leave their homes by a ruthless landlord. Graffitied walls and dingy, dimly-lit apartments make it clear that people aren’t happy. Then the landlord calls everyone upstairs to kick them all out. It doesn’t take a detective to see where that situation might lead. Sure enough, you’ll soon find yourself exploring each character’s backstory and motivations across three episodes. Each window has a story to tell, and it’s up to you who you focus on.

    There’s an obvious comparison to be made with Tequila Works’ The Invisible Hours here, though Fire Escape is a more accessible approach to the VR murder mystery. It’s impossible to get the entire story in one playthrough, but you can get a taste of every suspect by listening in on their conversations with each other.

    Crucially, there’s authenticity in its depiction of a rundown Brooklyn block and its inhabitants. Each member of the cast has depth and diversity, hiding skeletons in their closets that make them plausible suspects. The loyal but beleaguered Sal finds himself trapped between his boss’s demands and his friendship with tenants. A YouTuber with growing popularity takes flight as things go south. Elsewhere, a successful couple find their relationship unravel. The writing is sharp as is the voice acting, making it easier to invest in the cast and overlook the somewhat dated visuals.

    Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Fire Escape, though, is how it keeps you engaged in its story across close to an hour of content. That makes it easily one of the longest VR experiences I’ve yet seen. Each of the 20-minute installments is punchy and generous in its delivery of twists and turns. The developer delivers gripping cliffhangers and the substance in between to keep you engaged. Perhaps it’s down to the freedom each viewer has to follow the stories that interest them, come to their own decisions about the suspects and spread their focus accordingly. You’ll occasionally be forced to watch certain sequences but the vast majority of the story is on you to discover.

    It gives Fire Escape complex layers that the viewer can decide what to do with. A single viewing gave the piece a gripping structure. I anxiously worried about what other scenes and puzzle pieces I was missing. At the same time, you could just as easily go back and study each character individually to get the full picture. But it’s to Ink Stories’ credit that Fire Escape works either way.

    The night’s events might end on something of a flat note (although multiple endings are available), but

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  • The Best Mobile Games Coming in 2019 These are some of VRFocus' most anticipated titles coming to mobile headsets this year.
  • Contractors Hands-On: Gunning Down Enemies In The Latest VR FPS
    Contractors Hands-On: Gunning Down Enemies In The Latest VR FPS

    Contractors is one of the newest VR shooters to hit the market and after spending some time with it we've got impressions.

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  • Oculus Rift Is $349 / £349 / C$449 / €399 At Retailers This Weekend
    Oculus Rift Is $349 / £349 / C$449 / €399 At Retailers This Weekend

    Didn’t get a chance to pick up an Oculus Rift in the Christmas sales? Various retailers in the USA, UK, Canada are offering the headset (and controllers) for a reduced price this week. The discount will continue over the weekend.

    The Rift’s regular price is $399 / £399 / C$529.


    In the USA, the discounted price is $349 ($50 off).

    Amazon and Microsoft Store were offering this price, but are both now out of stock due to high demand.

    Thankfully, Best Buy and Newegg still have stock.


    In the UK, the discounted price is £349 (£50 off).

    The price was being offered by Amazon UK and John Lewis, but both are now out of stock. Argos is the only retailer with stock at this price.


    In Canada, Amazon CA and Best Buy are offering the bundle at C$449 (C$80 off).

    The Best Buy listing states that the sale there will end today, and the Amazon listing states that it won’t be shipped until stock comes back in on January 19th.


    In Germany, the discounted price is 399€ (50€ off).

    Amazon DE was offering the price but is now out of stock. Thankfully, MediaMarkt / Saturn still has stock, with delivery within 2 weeks.

    Tagged with: Amazon, best buy, oculus, oculus rift, VR sales

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  • CES 2019: Pico Reveals Standalone G2 4K VR Headset
    4K VR headset G2 Pico

    Chinese VR hardware company Pico is back with its latest headset, the Pico G2 4K VR headset.

    Announced ahead of CES in Las Vegas next week, the G2 4K is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a 4K version of the Goblin 2 standalone headset that the company revealed last August. It’s powered by a Snapdragon 835 chipset (the same processor seen in Oculus Quest and a step above the 821 in Oculus Go) and features 4GB of RAM and 32GB storage. It weighs in at 278g and runs both Pico’s own store and HTC’s Viveport M storefront.

    The headset is an enterprise-level kit. The Goblin line consists of three degrees of freedom (3DOF) tracking and that doesn’t appear to be any different here.

    In a prepared statement, Pico CEO Henry Zhou said the company currently felt like that enterprise market held ‘far more untapped potential’ than the consumer side of VR. “The use cases for VR and AR are limitless and we aim to help businesses realize this with our products including the Pico G2 and Pico G2 4K headsets,” he said.

    To that end, the G2 4K features enterprise-focused aspects. A Kiosk Mode tailors the headset to run a single application for events much like CES. There’s also a hands-free control option for suitable apps. Earlier this week we reported that Oculus was looking into a similar offering for the Go headset.

    We’ve had mixed feelings about Pico’s past products. The original Goblin was a decent standalone VR headset though it cost $50 more than an Oculus Go and couldn’t contend in terms of content. However, when we tried the 6DOF Neo at CES last year we struggled with controller tracking.

    There’s no price on the G2 4K but it will launch in H1 2019 in the US. We’ll try and get our hands on it at CES later this week. Pico raised $24.7 million in funding last year. Now we know where at least some of that money went.

    Tagged with: 4K VR headset, CES, G2 4K, Pico

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  • Pico Unveils its Latest Standalone Headset the G2 4K The new Pico G2 4K will be aimed towards the enterprise market.
  • Bionic Rage Brings Streets Of Rage And Final Fight To VR
    Bionic Rage Brings Streets Of Rage And Final Fight To VR

    Remember the glory days of the beat ’em up? Taking to the streets and delivering justice with your fists? Indie developer Line Above wants to bring them to VR with its debut game, Bionic Rage.

    This is a third-person brawler heavily inspired by the likes of Streets of Rage and Final Fight. Developer Krisztian Nagy tells UploadVR that the idea came from a desire to play those favorites in VR.

    “Honestly I was skeptical if this type of locomotion will work in VR at first, but decided to spend a few days to give it a proper shot,” Nagy says. “I was genuinely surprised how natural and good it felt to play my favourite genre in VR, so after then I started planning out the full game and after an initial MVP, I collected a few other members to the team to help me with the development process.”

    As you can see in the trailer above, Bionic Rage looks like a fairly traditional beat ’em up on a mechanical level. You walk from one side of the screen to the other punching monsters in the face. But that isn’t the whole story; Nagy says there will be first-person shooter (FPS) segments too. And, yes, you can expect multiple playable characters as seen in the trailer. Local co-op, with one player in the headset and another on the screen, is also on the cards though not confirmed yet.

    “We have 6 main levels planned with 4 sublevels on each, so a total of 24 sublevels, at an average of 7-8 minutes each, so a basic playthrough on normal will take about 2.5-3 hours,” Nagy adds, noting that extra modes will expand the length.

    This isn’t the first VR beat ’em up we’ve seen. Back in 2017 Paw Print Games took a respectable jab at the genre with Bloody Zombies. We’re hoping for something a bit more VR-specific with Bionic Rage, though.

    For now, line above is looking at a Q3/Q4 2019 release for Bionic Rage on Vive and Rift. A PSVR port could come after launch, too. For now, you can sign up to a mailing list here.

    Tagged with: beat 'em up, Bionic Rage, htc vive, oculus rift, PSVR

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  • DESIRIUM’s VR Platform Comes to Xiaomi Store Now Xiaomi Mi VR owners can utilise the platform.
  • The Mage’s Tale Confirmed for February Launch on PlayStation VR Magical RPG adventure awaits PlayStation VR owners.
  • Accell Reveals USB-C VR Adapter For Oculus Rift, Windows VR
    Accell Reveals USB-C VR Adapter For Oculus Rift, Windows VR

    A new VR standard named VirtualLink is set to connect the next generation of VR headsets to PCs with a single USB-C wire. Accell’s VR adapter claims to let current headsets like the Oculus Rift and Windows VR headsets do the same.

    The Fremont-based company revealed its USB-C VR adapter this week. It features HDMI 2.0 and standard USB-A 3.0 ports that connect to a single USB-C cable. The company says this will allow you to plug your Rift or Windows VR headset into one of Nvidia’s latest RTX GPUs, which come with a USB-C port. The port was integrated for the eventual arrival of VirtualLink-supported headsets. The cable itself is eight feet long.

    As for Vive users? Support is not listed on the website. HTC’s headset has to be connected to a breakout box of its own, which could be the reason why. We haven’t tried it out for ourselves so we can’t comment on any possible added latency and other possible side effects.

    Product imagery shows the ‘Oculus Ready’ label posted on the box. We reached out to Oculus to confirm that the Rift is safe to use with the adapter. We’ll let you know when we hear back.

    It may seem convenient for Rift users but you’ll still need at least two USB-A ports in the back of your PC to accommodate the tracking sensors. Windows VR users won’t have the same requirement thanks to inside-out tracking.

    Accell’s website says the adapter will arrive on January 14th for $49.99. It’ll also be available on Amazon in the US. No word on a European release just yet.

    Tagged with: Accell, oculus rift, USB-C VR Adapter, windows VR

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  • The Mage’s Tale PSVR Version Launches Early Next Month
    mage's tale PSVR Rift Vive dungeon crawler VR

    Earlier this week we reported on the launch of a new trailer for inXile Entertainment’s The Mage’s Tale PSVR port. The clip showed the first console gameplay from the title but didn’t say when it would arrive. Strangely enough, a new version of the same trailer just popped up online, confirming the date.

    The below trailer confirms a February 5th launch date for the game. Note that this version of the trailer is from PlayStation’s US YouTube channel. The last was from the EU channel, which may suggest this is a US-only date. Either way, that’s earlier than we expected and a very welcome surprise. No word on price, though on Steam the game goes for $29.99.

    Originally launched on the Oculus Rift in 2017, The Mage’s Tale is a VR dungeon crawler. It stays true to the types of games inXile is known for, with a high fantasy setting and role-playing elements. We were big fans of the original version, calling it “one of the best examples of how to take a tried-and-true existing gaming genre and adapt it for the new VR medium.” We’ll be very interested to see how the PSVR version holds up.

    This is inXile’s first VR release since Xbox maker Microsoft acquired the studio last year. At the time the studio confirmed it was still working on both The Mage’s Tale PSVR and a new VR game, possibly set in its Wasteland series. We’re hoping to see more from that this year, though we wouldn’t hold our breath for a PSVR port this time around.

    Tagged with: Dungeon Crawler, inxile entertainment, PSVR, the mage's tale

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  • FinchShift 6DoF Controllers To Work With Any Vive Wave Headset, Demo At CES
    finchshift controllers

    Finch Technologies announced today that it partnered by HTC to allow their 6DoF controllers to be compatible with any VIVE Wave headset. Qualcomm also tested the controllers and confirmed their compatibility with its VR845 reference headset.

    VIVE Wave is HTC’s platform (OS, runtime & SDK) for standalone VR headsets. It has already been adopted by 15 hardware manufacturers (mostly in China). That means that these controllers should work with HTC’s $599 Vive Focus standalone headset.

    What’s unique about the FinchShift controllers is that they can work without any cameras at all, even on a 3DoF headset. The controllers mainly rely on their accelerometer and gyroscope (collectively called the IMU) rather than an optical solution. Normally, pure IMU 6DoF tracking is not possible. But Finch utilizes dual armband straps which also have IMUs. The tracking from the headset and the four devices combined with a skeletal model is used to derive an estimate of the positions.

    Finch claims that their controllers have 2mm – 25mm accuracy and 27ms latency. These are not impressive numbers. Controllers like Oculus Touch and HTC Vive wands boast sub-mm accuracy and around 2ms latency.

    However, if the headset does have cameras, the LEDs on the controllers will activate and be tracked by them. This should improve tracking quality, although the positioning of the LEDs on the main handle rather than on a tracking ring will likely mean they are often occluded.

    The FinchShift controllers can currently be preordered for $249. This is a steep price given that competitor Oculus Quest will include controllers at $399, but perhaps it will come down over time.

    We have an appointment to try the FinchShift controllers at CES. We’re skeptical of some of the company’s claims, but excited to see what they have to show. We’ll post our detailed impressions after the demo.

    Tagged with: 6dof, Vive Focus, vive wave, vr controllers

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  • HTC Vive Teases New VR Hardware In Blurred Photo

    Looks like HTC will be revealing several new products at the CES 2019 tech conference. The 2019 Consumer Electronics Expo is set to kick-off this Sunday and it looks as though HTC Vive will be using the infamous Las Vegas trade show to reveal new products in its VR hardware lineup. Earlier this morning the

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  • From Other Suns Livestream: Co-Op Looting And Shooting
    From Other Suns Livestream: Co-Op Looting And Shooting

    From Other Suns is a great co-op sci-fi shooter on Rift and we'll be taking it for a spin today on the livestream.

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  • Oculus Rift Sells Out At Amazon, ‘Strong Demand Over The Holidays’
    Oculus Rift Sells Out At Amazon, ‘Strong Demand Over The Holidays’

    Amazon in the United States doesn’t look like it’ll have Oculus Rift in stock for a couple weeks, the website states, with a representative of Facebook’s Oculus telling us they are working now on “replenishing inventory across channels.”

    Facebook’s Oculus Rift “saw strong demand over the holidays,” according to the company, though the headset is still currently “in stock on and Best Buy, among other retailers.” We’ve seen empty shelves too at Best Buy and slow shipping reported at other stores. We note also the gap in usage on Steam between Rift and Vive grew in December, with more people using Rift for Steam content than Vive and Vive Pro combined.

    We initially saw reports of limited stock for Oculus Rift on Amazon in the United States and England — eyebrow-raising timing given a report of “Rift S” in the works from Facebook and the largest consumer electronics show (CES) of the year being held in Vegas next week. So we reached out to Facebook and confirmed the company is still planning to resupply stores with original Rifts for people to buy.

    The outlook for new PC-based VR hardware in 2019 is still unclear, though we are expecting both Knuckles controllers and a new head-mounted display from Valve Corporation. There’s a long year ahead and we know Facebook is planning an enormous launch for Oculus Quest, its $400 standalone headset with Touch hand controls. It seems likely Facebook would wait until after that headset lands to reveal next steps for Oculus Rift, though of course we’ll bring you the latest throughout the year related to Facebook’s PC-based VR efforts.

    Update: Detail added related to Best Buy.

    Tagged with: facebook, oculus rift

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