News

  • The VR Job Hub: From ARKit To Artist Roles at Apple, Facebook, YouTube, Niantic Labs, Survios and more are in this week's edition of the VR Job Hub
  • Something for the Weekend: PSVR Halloween Hijinx (2018 Edition) Deal with zombies, demons, your inner demons and bananas(?) in this week's selection of sale titles from the PlayStation Store.
  • HTC Launches Flagship Vive Store In China

    The Shenzhen location allows visitors the opportunity to experience VR and purchase the latest Vive products.   It’s no secret that China loves VR. Whether it be the countries ambitious program to integrate VR education into all Chinese schools, or, more recently, the Jiangxi Province’s massive investment $460M in support for the AR/VR sector, its

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  • Bionik Announces Mantis VR Headphones Now Have Official Licensing PlayStation VR sound solution now has official status thanks to licensing deal.
  • China’s Jiangxi Province Pledges Substantial Investment in VR and AR Government of China's Jiangxi province announces up to $460 million in funding for VR and AR.
  • Vuzix Blade Smart Glasses App Wins Health Award AR healthcare app for Vuzix Blade wins first place at Cerner Corporation Code App Challenge.
  • This Week In VR Sport: VR Upgrades in NASCAR and AR Adverts in Baseball FOX Sports dominates this week with AR and VR upgrades for NASCAR and more
  • Onward Update 1.4 Adds Spec Ops Halloween Mode And Pistol Attachments
    Onward Update 1.4 Adds Spec Ops Halloween Mode And Pistol Attachments

    Onward’s 1.4 Update today brings with it a lot of improvements and new additions. Chief among them is a brand new game mode called Spec Ops, which works a lot like typical “Infection” modes from other shooters. In the mode, a Volk soldier armed with only a knife gets increased speed, visibility, and some utility items to try and take out the Marsoc team. It’s hunter versus hunted.

    You can see a teaser of the mode, which has some heavy Halloween-style undertones, right here:

    Also included in the 1.4 Update are molotovs and C4 for the Volk specialist class, pistol attachments like suppressors and red dots, a revamped Subway map, some new gun models, better UI, and more. Onward will also be free on Oculus Home this weekend from today until October 29th so you can try it out at no charge to see if you like it.

    Onward is widely considered to be one of the (if not the absolute) best VR shooters on the market and it was first created by a single indie developer. You can read more about its origin story here. We’re still waiting to hear about what’s next from developer Downpour Interactive.

    Since then the game has gone on to include co-op modes, tons of maps and guns, and so much more to establish itself as the premiere VR military simulation shooter. Check out our field guide for detailed advice on getting started with the game.

    Let us know what you think of the update down in the comments below!

    Tagged with: downpour interactive, halloween, onward, Spec Ops

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  • ‘Nightmare on Oculus’ Sale Offers Halloween Savings for Rift, Go, and Gear VR
    ‘Nightmare on Oculus’ Sale Offers Halloween Savings for Rift, Go, and Gear VR

    Oculus launched its ‘Nightmare on Oculus’ sale across Rift, Go, and Gear VR, with reduced prices on dozens of Halloween themed VR games on the Oculus Store. The sale will last for 7 days, ending next Friday.

    As well as the individual game sales, Oculus is also offering four Halloween themed bundles, two for Rift and two for Go/Gear VR – with each containing 3 games.

    Best Rift Deals: Arizona Sunshine & Killing Floor Incursion

    The full fledged Rift zombie games Arizona Sunshine are each 1/3rd off, making their sale prices $25.99 and $19.99 respectively.

    Both games offer voice-acted singleplayer campaigns and co-operative “horde” multiplayer. While we preferred Arizona Sunshine overall, Killing Floor’s advantage is its satisfying melee weapons, which Arizona Sunshine lacks.

    Best Go Deals: Dead Secret & République VR

    Dead Secret is one of the most atmospheric and engaging games on mobile VR – a true murder mystery experience in VR set in a remote abandoned house filled with secrets. It is offered at $5.99 (40% off).

    République VR is an engaging stealth experience that pushes the boundaries on what was graphically possible in mobile VR, with graphics that look almost console quality. It is offered at $4.99 (50% off).

    ‘Freaky Frights’ Pack (Rift)

    The Freaky Frights bundle contains:

    Wilson’s Heart – Twisted Pixel’s fully voice acted black & white mystery thriller – a throwback to classic The Twilight Zone style horror
    Duck Season – Stress Level Zero’s 80’s retro throwback where Duck Hunt comes to life
    Paranormal Activity: The Lost Soul – the terrifyingly atmospheric, if janky, game based on the popular franchise

    The pack is priced at $39.99, saving $40 (50%) over buying the 3 games when not on sale.

    ‘Ghouls Galore’ Pack (Rift)

    The Ghouls Galore bundle contains:

    ARKTIKA.1 – the “AAA quality” singleplayer story shooter from the makers of Metro 2033 and Metro Last Light
    Edge of Nowhere – Insomniac Games (makers of Spiderman and Ratchet & Clank) Lovecraftian adventure set in 1930’s Antarctica
    In Death – regarded by some as having the best bow & arrow mechanics in a full VR game

    The pack is priced at $44.99, saving $35 (~40%) over buying the 3 games when not on sale.

    ‘Phantom Fun’ Pack (Go / Gear VR)

    The Phantom Fun bundle contains:

    AFFECTED: The Manor
    Dreadhalls
    Drop Dead

    The pack is priced at $9.99, saving $9 (50%) over buying the 3 games when not on sale.

    ‘Scary Nights’ Pack (Go / Gear VR)

    The Scary Nights bundle contains:

    Dead Secret Circle
    Zed Shot
    Death Horizon

    The pack is priced at $9.99, saving $13 (~40%) over buying the 3 games when not on sale.

    Tagged with: halloween, oculus store, VR sales

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  • Cybershoes Impressions: A Convincing Alternative For Movement In VR
    Cybershoes Impressions: A Convincing Alternative For Movement In VR

    Before I talk about the Cybershoes, it’s important to frame the color the experience with framing from my past that I think many of our readers will relate to on some level. One of my first modern VR experiences was EVE: Valkyrie back at E3 2015 on the (then) Project Morpheus headset from Sony — a game in which you’re flying through space at blistering speeds and shooting down enemies. After that I got a Gear VR for my Samsung Galaxy phone shortly after and was forced to sit, stationary and unmoving, and just look around the room. Two polar opposite sensations. Then the Rift and Vive came out in 2016 and redefined how I viewed video games, with one major stipulation: physical boundaries.

    When I played Job Simulator for the first time, I wanted to walk around the office. When I played The Gallery, I wanted to explore the entire beach coastline. When I played Vanishing Realms, I wanted to sprint down corridors past traps. Eventually developers started including artificial locomotion so you can just use the analog stick on the Oculus Touch controllers or the track pad on the HTC Vive wands to “slide” across the world like you do in non-VR games, but that’s an imperfect solution. It lacks physicality and tactile feedback on my body and in some cases just feels clumsy.

    I’ve tried omnidirectional treadmills like the Virtuix Omni. I’ve tried the 3dRudder. I’ve seen the Kat Walk Mini in action. But those are all imperfect as well. While I’m not saying that the Cybershoes are perfect by any means, they do a wonderful job of delivering a direct physical interaction with the virtual world to cause movement that is both easy to use, comfortable, and above all else, surprisingly immersive.

    To be honest, I was skeptical of the Cybershoes. After seeing their Kickstarter rapidly explode over the last few weeks it seemed like a lot of empty hype. The company contacted me to send a unit to my house to try in my own time and after spending about a week toying around with the device in Skyrim VR, DOOM VFR, Fallout 4 VR, and even Onward, my thoughts are turning around a bit.

    Included with the Cybershoes themselves (shown above) the company sent me a swiveling bar stool-style chair, a circular rug, and an IKEA-style lamp stand to run the wires above my head.

    The way the Cybershoes work are that you strap them onto the bottom of whatever shoes you’re already wearing — the strap itself reminded me of rollerblades. They’ve got rollers on the bottom that track your feet movement across the ground and transmit that back to your PC in the form of movement inside the game. You need carpet or a rug for it to work well (they’ll ship with a circular carpet if you need it.)

    So you sit in a swivel chair and you rub your feet across the ground to move. It sounds silly and it looks even sillier, but anyone that has

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  • Ground Runner: Trials Speeds out of Early Access Jump on a hoverbike and start shooting.
  • Pimax Controllers Look A Lot Like Valve’s Early ‘Knuckles’ Prototypes
    Pimax Controllers Look A Lot Like Valve’s Early ‘Knuckles’ Prototypes

    China-based VR company Pimax recently put up a listing on its website for upcoming controllers for its “5K Plus” and “8K” PC headsets. Pimax plans to ship them sometime next year paired with base stations for $300.

    In its 2017 Kickstarter for the “8K” ultra-wide FoV VR headset, Pimax promised simple VR controllers for $200 extra, with buttons, a thumbstick, and trigger, however the ergonomics did not seem to match more advanced VR controllers like Oculus’ Touch and Valve’s “Knuckles” prototypes.

    Pimax original controllers from the Kickstarter.

    In April of this year, Pimax scrapped its old controller design and revealed new ones, seemingly based on Valve’s early “Knuckles” prototypes of the time. The new controller promised an ergonomic design and is strapped onto the user’s hand directly, letting them open their hands and throw objects naturally, as well as a grip button and capacitive finger position detection.

    Valve’s early “Knuckles” design.

    With the recent store listing, Pimax has now refined its design. While they should have input parity with HTC’s Vive wands, the lack of a thumbstick may put some potential buyers off, and may be missed in a future where Oculus Touch and “Knuckles” could dominate the PC VR install base.

    This animation shows the Pimax controllers compared to Valve’s latest “Knuckles” design. While Valve made significant changes to “Knuckles”, adding a thumbstick and 2 buttons as well as changing the trackpad into a “track button”, Pimax kept with the same basic design as the earlier “Knuckles” prototypes. It is possible Pimax chose not to emulate Valve with the final design simply because the controllers were too far along in development, or because they prefer this iteration. We reached out to Pimax to ask about the inspiration for the controllers but we didn’t hear back.

    Tagged with: Knuckles, pimax, valve

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  • Dark Corner Releases 4 New Horror Films for Halloween The app supports iOS, Android, Samsung Gear VR, Google Daydream, Oculus Rift, and Oculus Go.
  • The Biggest VR Releases Of The Week 10/21/18
    The Biggest VR Releases Of The Week 10/21/18

    Hi there! You might notice things are looking a little different around here. Well we’re streamlining a little; we’re now putting the most interesting releases on all VR platforms in one spot for the week to help give you a clearer picture of what you need to check out. Plus it helps us take a better look at mobile titles, which we haven’t been covering so well of late.

    Anyways, we actually kick off the new week on a bit of a quiet note (it’s as if there were some big cowboy game taking everyone’s money). But there are a handful of new titles you should check out all the same.

    War Dust, from raptor lab
    Price: $24.99 (Rift, Vive, Windows VR)

    Online shooters seem to be a dime a dozen since to launch of Firewall, but War Dust does at least seem to have ambition on its side. This is a 64-player modern combat game that allows you to pilot helicopters, drive tanks and ATVs, or just head into battle as an infantry unit. It’s already been pretty well received on Steam, though as always with Early Access you might want to wait and see what type of support its developers are preparing.

    3DNewsVR Demo, from Geod Studio
    Price: Free (Rift, Vive, Windows VR)

    This intriguing bit of software uses a proprietary algorithm to 3D-ize your favorite 2D NES games and even throws in VR support for good measure. In the demo, you can try out VR versions of games like Super Mario Bros, Tetris and Dr. Mario. It’s a pretty interesting way to pad out your VR content library at the very least.

    VR Trivia Battle, from RLTY Check
    Price: Free to Play (Rift, Vive)

    Ever wanted to be on a game show? VR Trivia Battle allows you to do just that, facing off online with up to eight players, answering over 10,000 questions and taking part in mini-games. The game’s got a great atmosphere too it. Note that once you’ve downloaded the free to play version you can grab a full game unlock with more questions.

    Neverout, from Setapp
    Price: $7.99 (PSVR)

    An entertaining, wall-walking VR puzzle game finally makes its long-awaited debut on PSVR. In Neverout you have to reach the exit in a series of rooms, defying gravity in order to find the correct path to freedom. Switching walls and dropping to the floor can be a somewhat awkward sensation, but there’s a few hours of brain-teasing fun to be had here.

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  • Community Download: Does Oculus Quest Need Fortnite Or Minecraft To Succeed?
    Community Download: Does Oculus Quest Need Fortnite Or Minecraft To Succeed?

    At Oculus Connect I spoke with CTO John Carmack some and reminded him of comments he made about Minecraft being the best title for Gear VR.

    He explained the call was made not to bundle a gamepad with Gear VR, as they had for all the developer attendees at Oculus Connect one year. This means the game he’d worked so hard with Microsoft to bring to the fledgling Oculus mobile platform didn’t have an audience with the right controller. So it’s unsurprising the game — even with Touch controls on Rift – hasn’t become an anchor or major draw for their platform or VR in general, despite Carmack’s initial enthusiasm.

    With the massive $1.25 billion investment in Epic Games today, the company is likely to undertake a period of rapid change under CEO Tim Sweeney. Epic builds both the Unreal Engine toolset — used by game designers globally to build virtual worlds — as well as its own games, like the cross-platform battle royale leader Fortnite. Balancing both those endeavors with $1.25 billion to spend is going to be an interesting process to watch. For VR, then, I don’t think we can discount Epic’s support (or lack thereof) in a particular platform as being related to the success of the platform itself. Sure, developers can use Unreal tools to make games for Oculus Quest in 2019 and Facebook helped fund the creation of Epic’s Robo Recall, so we know that game is coming to the headset in some fashion. But that’s not the same as Epic supporting VR with its most important title.

    Does Oculus Quest Need Fortnite Or Minecraft To Succeed?

    The list isn’t very long of cross-platform virtual worlds that let players play together from almost any device  — Minecraft, Rec Room and Altspace are available in VR headsets and on other devices, but Fortnite is on practically everything else. The game even came to Android bypassing the Google Play Store because that’s 30 percent more revenue per player for Epic Games.

    If you buy Oculus Quest in 2019 and don’t know anybody else with the headset, what games are you going to play with friends and family? Quest’s $400 price tag will surely be tempting to buy in pairs for local multiplayer action, but it is unlikely too many people are going to do that in the first year. There are likely lots of multiplayer gems in the 40 or so Oculus Quest launch titles that have yet to be officially confirmed, but without a significant install base of passionate players those multiplayer lobbies could turn into ghost towns, just as they’ve have for so many games on other headsets.

    So does Oculus Quest need a popular — and universally available — social gaming experience like Fortnite or Minecraft to succeed? Let us know in the comments what you think.

    Tagged with: Oculus Quest

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