• CES 2019: 3dRudder Brings Its Foot-Based Motion Controller To PSVR
    3dRudder PSVR motion controller

    3dRudder thinks its foot-based motion controller is a perfect fit for PSVR. Meet the 3dRudder PSVR edition.

    The company today announced a new version of its device designed specifically for Sony’s headset. 3dRudder consists of a circular platform players put their feet on whilst seated. They then tilt their feet in the direction they want to move in VR. The idea is to simulate movement in a more convincing and comfortable way. Check out the PSVR version in the new trailer below.

    3dRudder says that over 20 games will support the kit, though right now just 7 are listed on its website. They include some well-known titles like Ultrawings, Sairento and the excellent Red Matter. The main attraction, though, is the upcoming PSVR port of Carbon Studios’ The Wizards. That support will be shown off at CES in Las Vegas this week.

    We reviewed the original 3dRudder for PC VR back in 2017. We said it was ‘surprisingly accurate’ and could be of use to those that suffer from simulation sickness. The PSVR version will live and die by the kind of support it gets, though. The current list is a decent start but if games like Resident Evil 7, Firewall and Skyrim VR got support then this could be a winner.

    It’s not cheap, though. 3dRudder PSVR costs $119 and is expected to arrive in April. Would you be willing to throw down the extra cash if it meant making VR a bit more immersive?

    We’re at CES next week, so we’ll let you know if we get a chance to try it out.

    Tagged with: 3dRudder, CES, PSVR, The Wizards, vr sickness

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  • Fan Remake Of ‘Silent Hills P.T.’ Now Available In VR

    Gaming’s most frightening hallway is even creepier in VR. In August of 2014, Konami Productions published a short-form first-person psychological horror game entitled P.T.. Meant to serve as an interactive teaser for an upcoming Silent Hills game directed by Hideo Kojima in collaboration with legendary film director Guillermo Del Toro, the playable demo featured an

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  • Pokémon Go Creator Niantic Raises $190 Million In A Funding Round It Doesn’t Need
    Pokémon Go Creator Niantic Raises $190 Million In A Funding Round It Doesn’t Need

    Pokémon Go creator Niantic has closed a $190 million round of funding, according to a document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    That all but confirms that Niantic is raising money precisely at a time when it doesn’t need it. Niantic declined comment, but the filing comes after a Wall Street Journal report last month that said the company was closing a $200 million funding from investors, including IVP, aXiomatic Gaming and Samsung, at a value of $3.9 billion.

    The round closed on December 20, according to the new documents. Niantic has now raised more than $415 million to date. The filing said there are 26 investors in the round. Other investors include The Pokemon Company, Google, Founders Fund, Spark Capital and Alsop Louie Partners, among others. There’s an old maxim among startups that the best time to raise money is when you don’t need it; you get the best terms that way, and can sock away money for a rainy day.

    Earlier today, measurement firm Sensor Tower said that Pokémon Go made almost $800 million in global revenue in 2018, 35 percent compared to 2017.

    I’ve been playing Pokémon Go since it debuted in June 2016. The game became a huge international hit. The popularity faded a bit after that, but Niantic has been rebuilding interest by adding more features like new Pokémon creatures, events, friends, and most recently trainer battles.

    That raises the question. Why would a company need a round it doesn’t appear to need? The answer: Niantic’s ambitions are bigger than they seem. John Hanke, CEO of San Francisco-based Niantic, had a larger purpose in starting Niantic, whose first game was the location-based title Ingress. It was meant to get people off the couch and out of their homes and visiting local landmarks, such as parks or statues. It helped generate a huge interest in walking outside; at level 30, I have collected 2.3 million XP and walked untold miles.

    Above: Pokemon Go could be a bit mobile hit.

    Image Credit: Niantic/Nintendo

    Niantic recently said it wants to replicate the technology behind the original Pokémon Go video, which featured seamless integration of an animated creature with the real world. The way to do that is with augmented reality, which is possible on modern smartphones. But Niantic joined other companies in investing in DigiLens, a holographic wave guide maker, because it wants to create AR glasses.

    That venture is ambitious, and it won’t be cheap. It’s not clear whether Niantic simply wants to make software for AR glasses, or if it wants to make the AR glasses itself. The more money it raises, the more it will have the option of creating its own AR glasses.

    This post by Dean Takahashi originally appeared on VentureBeat. 

    Tagged with: pokemon go

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  • It Looks Like Desert Bus VR is Coming to PlayStation VR There's no official launch date just yet.
  • Oculus Go Casting: How To Connect And Stream To Your Phone
    Oculus Go casting vr mobile standalone

    Oculus Go is a great bit of kit for sharing with friends and family. Just pop the headset on, grab the controller and you’re ready to go. But there is just one problem: no one can see what you’re actually doing in VR. That is unless you use Oculus Go casting.

    Casting lets you mirror what’s being shown inside your Go onto another screen. That way everyone else gets to see what you’re doing and can join in on the VR jubilation. You can only cast to a mobile device connected to your Go. TV casting is said to be in the works but, as of the start of 2019, we’re not quite sure when it’ll show up.

    With that in mind, let’s take you through Oculus Go casting.

    Download The Oculus App And Connect Your Go

    If you have a Go, this is something you’ve probably done as Go’s setup process uses the smartphone app. But, just in case you haven’t done that yet, read along. Download the free Oculus app from the iOS or Android app stores, open it up and find settings on the bottom right. From here, you’ll be able to pair your Go with your phone by selecting ‘Pair New Headset’. Oculus prepared its own snazzy step-by-step walkthrough to guide you through that process that you can’t go wrong with.

    Already done this? Then go into settings in the app, find your Go under headsets and click on it. It’ll connect automatically.

    Make Sure Your Go Is On, Your App Is Connected And Find Sharing

    Upon booting up your Go and pairing your motion controller, you’ll be in the headset’s main menu. From here, find the toolbar at the bottom (if it’s not there click the Oculus button on your controller) and you’ll see a tab called ‘Sharing’. Click that and you’ll find the option to ‘Cast’. Select that yet again and then press ‘Start’. Your phone should get a notification asking if you want to enable Oculus Go casting. Accept and huzzah! Your VR display will be mirrored on your phone.

    How To Stop Casting

    There are a few simple ways to stop casting. First, you can just press the back button on your phone and you’ll exit out into the Oculus app. To do it inside VR, go back to the menu, back to ‘Sharing’, select ‘Cast’ and then ‘Stop Casting’.

    And that’s that. Simple, right? Just take note that casting can be battery intensive for your Go and might not always provide smooth results. And we’ll keep you up to date with when TV casting comes into play!

    Need more help with Oculus Go? Check out our guide on pairing console gamepads with the kit!

    Tagged with: Casting, oculus app, Oculus Go, VR

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  • Mad Box VR Capable Console Supposedly Arriving in 3.5 Years You better be good at holding your breath.
  • Beat Saber Custom Songs Livestream: Request Music Live!
    Beat Saber Custom Songs Livestream: Request Music Live!

    For today's livestream we're focusing on custom songs and letting you, the viewer, pick which songs we play next in Beat Saber!

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  • CES 2019 Predictions: VR’s Next Generation Is Still Developing
    CES 2019 Predictions: VR’s Next Generation Is Still Developing

    We are just four days into 2019 and preparing to head to Las Vegas to see all the companies revealing products and components at the largest consumer electronics show of the year, CES.

    We’ll also be stopping by The Void’s Vegas location to see Wreck It Ralph VR and we are planning to check out attractions at other Vegas VR locations while we’re there.

    At CES the world’s global technology industry gauges interest and sets expectations for the coming year. We expect HTC to be out in front, as they were in 2016 with the original Vive headset, with the release of an image of the cosmos inside the Vive logo, and text blurred out on bags nearby.

    See, there’s the Vive Cosmos right there inside the logo in the left corner:

    This year, though, we expect CES to be overshadowed by what isn’t at the conference, because we believe some of the companies making the biggest plays for VR or AR products in the next few years have little reason to make major appearances at CES 2019.

    Facebook’s VR teams, for instance, are currently dedicated to making a success of its $400 Oculus Quest headset, and there’s not much in Las Vegas to help them accomplish that feat with its launch likely in the next few months.

    Developers are hard at work at home on 50+ games — many of them ports of existing work — for the launch of the low cost standalone headset with Touch controllers, while Facebook’s teams polish the operating system and services which runs on the system. PC headset owners and PC gamers who sat the first generation of VR out are hungry for information about the Rift S or whatever the Rift follow up might be called, but Facebook’s given no indication its teams will talk about that before CEO Mark Zuckerberg sees how Quest is received.

    And while I was joking earlier about the “Vive Cosmos”, we really don’t know what to expect from HTC’s VR announcements.

    We saw SteamVR 2.0 base stations for the first time at CES 2018.

    Valve and Microsoft are also invested in the future of the PC VR market but we’re not sure if they’ll be showing major updates related to the conference. From 2015-2018, each company used its tracking technology to secure partnerships allowing them to market test VR while building out meaningful platforms for VR centered around the openness of PC. This also allowed these companies to minimize risk in VR technology’s first consumer generation. Google and Facebook did something similar based around Android on cell phones.

    In 2019, though, there’s more at stake.

    VR exercise machines shown with HTC Vive at CES 2017.

    U.S.-based companies like Microsoft, Valve, Google and Facebook are under pressure to take VR hardware performance further, increase immersion to new levels, lower overall cost and deliver hand-controlled games like Beat Saber, Job Simulator and Superhot that people proved they’ll pay for in VR.

    Overall, this means at the same time researchers and engineers at those companies are developing and patenting the next

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  • Former Microsoft Senior Researcher, Now At Facebook, Recounts Haptics Innovations
    haptic revolver vr controller

    Former Microsoft Senior Researcher Dr. Hrvoje Benko gave a talk entitled ‘The Future of AR Interactions’ at the International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR) conference in October. This week the talk was uploaded on the ISMAR YouTube channel.

    Dr Benko had worked at Microsoft since 2005, but moved to Facebook Reality Labs (formerly Oculus Research) in late 2017. He now leads the human computer interfaces (HCI) division there.

    A Great Display Is Not Enough

    A core point that Benko stressed multiple times during the talk is that a great AR display in itself is not good enough — a new input paradigm that takes advantage of spatial computing is needed.

    Benko used the example of smartphones with large displays that existed before the iPhone but lacked a multitouch input interface. He pointed out how Hololens and other current AR devices unsuccessfully try to use existing input techniques.

    Finger Tracking Is Not Enough

    Benko explained that while finger tracking technology is rapidly progressing, humans don’t often interact with empty air — we interact with objects. The only time we tend to use our hands in empty air is when gesticulating during speech.

    The lack of haptic feedback with only finger tracking, he claims, is jarring, and is unlikely to be the basis of future interfaces.

    Surfaces May Be The Key

    Benko pointed out that mixed reality interfaces could leverage the already existing surfaces in the environment to provide real haptic feedback.

    Menus could appear on the nearest table or wall, and your fingers could manipulate the virtual UI elements on these surfaces.

    This obviously requires a very advanced sensor system with a precise understanding of all the major objects in the room, as well as almost perfect finger tracking.

    ‘Haptic Retargeting’

    The issue with using real world surfaces of course is that often they won’t be sufficient for the task at hand. As Benko puts it: “passive haptics don’t scale.”

    One of the most interesting research projects Benko recounted was ‘Haptic Retargeting’. This trick allows one physical haptic object to act as many virtual objects by warping the body movement you see in the headset. This is situationally dependent, but the concept if applied correctly to the user’s environment could be revolutionary.

    Haptic Controllers: ‘VR Revolver’

    One of the last projects Benko worked on at Microsoft before his move to Facebook was a pair of haptic controllers which can ‘render’ the feeling of an object under your fingertips.

    Dubbed ‘Haptic Revolver’, the controller used a roller of different materials which can be actuated on demand based on what you’re touching in game. Benko stressed that it didn’t particularly matter exactly what input the fingertip received. As long as something happened, the brain accepted it as valid input.

    Tagged with: Facebook Reality Labs, Haptics, microsoft research

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  • Sing Along To John Legend With Baobab Studios ‘Crow: The Legend’ AR Filter

    Step into the role of Crow with this Facebook Karaoke AR filter. Baobab Studios, the VR animation company behind the Emmy-award winning films Invasion! and Asteroids! have launched a new Facebook AR face filter that lets you wear the colorful feathered face of the hero from their most recent VR film, Crow: The Legend. The

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  • Fan Remake Of Silent Hills Prequel P.T. Includes Experimental VR Support
    Fan Remake Of Silent Hills Prequel P.T. Includes Experimental VR Support

    The latest fan remake of Silent Hills prequel P.T. released today and it includes tenuous experimental VR support. Beware.

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  • 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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