• The Future Of Virtual Reality Is Wireless
    The Future Of Virtual Reality Is Wireless

    In recent months we’ve been talking about some new definitions and marketing terms that are coming into more popular use — “wireless” and “standalone” VR. While we’ve seen hints of it in 2018, next year is when the technology will really take off.

    Before I get into why that’s going to be the case, here’s an overview of where everything is for VR near the end of 2018:

    We’ve tested the “Vive Wireless Adapter” and Vive Pro powered by Intel’s WiGig technology, as well as the forthcoming Oculus Quest headset and its truly wireless “Insight” tracking system. They both seem to work well.
    Google’s head of VR and AR Clay Bavor made clear to us in a 2017 interview that Google could pursue its own devices in VR and AR. Google’s hiring of teams working on software like Tilt Brush, Soundstage and Job Simulator join home-grown projects like Blocks that generally indicate awareness of a consumer desire for intuitive hand-based input in VR. Most recently, Google signaled its intent to power a wireless standalone VR system with the kind of hand input we’ve come to expect from Vive, Rift, PSVR and even Windows-based headsets.
    We know PlayStation VR sold 3 million headsets over two years and that Gear VR eclipsed that figure, but fewer people use those phone-powered headsets which are often bundled with a phone.
    Former VR development companies like CCP Games have executives who now say they’d hoped the PC market they were selling into would be 2-3 times as large as it is. Some independent developers, however, can clear milestones like selling 100,000 copies of their game in a single month of 2018 available only on PC VR systems.
    Valve continues to push input forward with the Knuckles controllers — while also building its own VR games — but partner HTC is charging a premium to get wireless VR or large-scale tracking with a PC in 2018.
    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg didn’t say much about Rift at the Oculus Connect 5 developer conference, except to say that a “new version” of the Rift would likely be “for experiences that need a PC to push the edge of what’s possible.”
    We’re excited to see how the new Samsung Odyssey+ performs with SteamVR games, but it fundamentally still operates with a tethered connection to a PC.

    The state of VR after the first two years of broad consumer availability is a complicated story not many understand, but the underlying pressure at play right now is that some money-strapped developers working at technology’s cutting edge in the last few months of 2018 need to decide whether to suffer the arduous process of porting their work to standalone VR headsets like Quest or the Mirage Solo, or to push development forward with their PC-based VR games. The first option means betting Facebook or Google will get a sufficient install base willing to pay $20+ for content, while the second option means developing games in hope that future PC-powered hardware will open the market up to more people.

    With news yesterday that Brendan Iribe was

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  • 15 Best Oculus Go VR Horror Games And Experiences
    15 Best Oculus Go VR Horror Games And Experiences

    With Halloween right around the corner next week, we felt like it was time to start rounding up some of the very best VR horror games and experiences out there. While many of the absolute best VR games are relegated to more powerful devices, such as the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, or PSVR, mobile-based headsets like the Oculus Go, Gear VR, and Google Daydream.

    For this list we’re focusing primarily on apps and experiences that can be accessed from an Oculus Go standalone VR headset. You can read our full review of the device here (we like it a lot) as well as our big list of 30 great games and apps worth checking out here.

    The following experiences are all listed in alphabetical order:

    Affected: The Manor

    Price: $2.99 (Store) (Our Review)

    If you want to be terrified or, better yet, you want to terrify a friend while you watch safely from the couch, Affected: The Manor is an excellent choice. It’s use of sound and clever scripting are superb for any VR horror title, mobile or not, and its visuals are another example of just how good a Go game can look. It’s light on gameplay and very short, but excellent as a one-off horror experience.

    Cursed Night: The House

    Price: $4.99 (Store)

    If you’re after some cheap and easy jump scares, then this is always a good option. It’s one of the quickest to get into so if you’re showing the Oculus Go to family this Halloween, this is a solid choice. The tension and build up is very well done, but it’s not the most visually impressive.

    Dark Corner

    Price: Free (Optional Paid Content) (Store)

    Miss the days of sitting around a campfire, telling scary stories with friends? Then Dark Corner may just be what you’re after. It’s sort of like a repository for spooky 360 videos and other experiences that can all be accessed from a single, central hub-like interface.

    Dark Days

    Price: $7.99 (Store) (Our Review)

    Dark Days does a lot of things right and provides an interesting world full of thrills and mystery to keep you uncovering secrets until the end. Visually, it leaves a bit to be desired, but it accomplishes a lot for being on the limited Go platform. While the main character can feel a little annoying at times, you’ll grow to love her wit and charm as the adventure carries on. Prepare for a generous helping of jumps and scares though, as this isn’t for the faint of heart.

    Dead Secret and Dead Secret Circle

    Price: $9.99/$14.99/$16.99 (Store for Two-Game Bundle)

    Described as “slow-burn psychological horror” the Dead Secret games feel like they could have been ripped right out of the mind of David Lynch or pre-Dark Knight Christopher Nolan. Part murder mystery and part sadistic fight for survival, these are two VR thrillers that you can easily sink several hours into each to uncover all of the secrets.

    Doors of Silence: The Prologue

    Price: $4.99 (Store)

    Visually, this might very well be the best looking VR horror game on Oculus Go, period. Environments are incredibly detailed and hand-crafted using Unreal Engine 4.

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  • Real Estate Video Tour Specialist OpenFrame Acquires 360-Camera Company Giroptic OpenFrame purchased Giroptic because of its technology and R&D pipeline of features.
  • Turner Broadcasting Partners With OmniVirt for VR Ad Campaign VR advertising campaign aims to promote season two of Dream Corp LLC on Adult Swim.
  • Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS 2019 Introduces VR and AR Functionality SOLIDWORKS 2019 includes 'extended Reality' for collaborative VR and AR design views.
  • 3DNesVR Lets You Play NES Games Like Super Mario Bros. In VR
    3DNesVR Lets You Play NES Games Like Super Mario Bros. In VR

    Earlier this year we published a story about the 3DNesVR emulator that lets you run NES games inside VR by converting them to 3D versions of themselves. It’s pretty impressive from a technology perspective and experiencing these games again in  VR really changes things.

    Since then, the app has undergone more work and now has a free demo available on Steam for anyone to try. The demo is still limited at this time, but does reportedly support:

    Super Mario Bros.
    Circus Charlie
    Elevator Action
    Battle City 1990
    Donkey Kong
    Dr. Mario
    Legend of Kage
    Tetris (Tengen)

    Since this is an emulator, obviously it doesn’t include the ROMs for the games — you’re expected to (legally) provide those on your own. In addition to simply running the games inside VR and converting it to a 3D perspective, the 3DNesVR emulator also provides a VR-focused UI, different render styles, save-states, and motion controller support.

    When the full app releases (currently planned for January 2019) it will support “massive games both classic and modern homebrew” natively, but nine titles for a demo is already a great start. Here’s some footage of the creators at Geod Studio playing Metroid with it, for example:

    You can find more info and presets over the 3DN Repository here. It’s an ambitious and cool project and seems like the next best thing to Nintendo’s lack of interest in VR. You can try out some other fan-made Mario-focused VR projects as well here and here.

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

    Tagged with: 3DNesVR, Mario, nintendo

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  • ‘Oculus Launch Pad’ Is Silently Populating The VR Content Pool

    As a little-known initiative, Oculus is actively funneling in talent with the promise of training, tools and other resources that developers — new and old — can use to build projects for the Oculus platform as well as for the greater VR ecosystem. Each June, over 100 participants are chosen to attend the official Oculus

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  • Home Sweet Home Review: A Chilling VR Horror Story
    Home Sweet Home Review: A Chilling VR Horror Story

    When it comes to VR horror games, many games sadly fall short in their quest to be truly scary, and instead just aim to give players a few good jump scares before unraveling pretty fast. Many games opt to go all-in on scares, and don’t deliver on what makes something truly scary: an overwhelming sense of dread. In Home Sweet Home’s case, however, you’re not just given some good scares, but are also constantly filled with that feeling of terror throughout the game, which already makes this Thai horror title worth the time.

    Developed by Yggdrazil Group, a Thai visual effects company, Home Sweet Home was released last year as a non-VR PC title before getting the virtual reality treatment, which honestly seems to have made the game even more exhilarating. While you can play the game without a VR headset still on PS4, its style of play and surprisingly great looking atmosphere make it that much scarier once you strap yourself into a PSVR. Home Sweet Home tell the tale of Tim, a man who wakes up in a strange place after what seems to have been a night out drinking. As you begin to explore the strange building you find yourself in, it doesn’t take too long for some creepy stuff to start happening.

    Though the plot — which shouldn’t take more than six or so hours — might be lost on some people who don’t choose to explore, Home Sweet Home actually offers a surprisingly deep amount of backstory. From the start, it appears that you’re searching for your missing wife, Jane, but in typical horror game fashion, things begin to unravel in frightening ways until you find yourself in the middle of a story that draws from various Thai myths and legends, all designed to freak you out as much as possible.

    As far as gameplay goes, don’t expect anything too different from Home Sweet Home, who borrows heavily from past horror titles like the canceled P.T. demo and Outlast series. You’ll find yourself exploring a surprisingly good looking set of rooms, with some sort of light (be it a flashlight or candle) and some other tool to defend yourself. Much like other horror titles, you’ll also be able to find and collect various odds and ends, such as newspaper clippings or diary entries, that expand the story and give some more context as to what exactly is going on in.

    When it comes to the world of VR, the number one key to any title is the immersion factor, and Home Sweet Home actually manages to accomplish that thanks to its incredible sound design. Not only is sound so important for a virtual reality game, it’s probably the most important factor in any horror experience. You need things like ambient noises, growls, or simple things like footsteps and silence to feel a certain way in order to draw you in for when the big scares occur. Thankfully, Home Sweet Home has no problem with this, as the sound in

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  • VR puzzler Transpose Receives Multiplatform Launch Date It'll support Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR.
  • ESPN’s Long-Running Game Show ‘Around The Horn’ Gets An AR Makeover

    ESPN’s sports talk/game show, Around the Horn will be celebrating its 16th year with a major facelift that will debut on November 5th. The new format will include fresh graphics, new animations, a redesigned logo, and updated music. More importantly, Around the Horn is the first domestic U.S. show to feature AR functionality throughout the entirety of a 30-minute broadcast.

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  • Spooktacular Halloween Event Comes To Hypatia Ghost-hunting, trick-or-treating and pumpkin painting are all on offer during the Halloween event period.
  • Hands-On: Tetris Effect Is As Good As Everyone Says It Is
    Hands-On: Tetris Effect Is As Good As Everyone Says It Is

    Is it just me or is it hard to believe that Tetris is really that good in VR? I’ve read countless previews of Enhance’s Tetris Effect that are glowing with positivity (including our own) and all I can think is ‘how can this possibly be as good as everyone is saying it is?’

    Well, now I’ve played it and, believe me, it’s as good as everyone is saying it is.

    Within 10 minutes, Tetris Effect utterly absorbed me in its lucid, vibrant take on the block-building legend. I managed to completely lose myself in the game’s arresting soundtrack and stunning visuals in a way that I’ve rarely done in VR. It was one of the most immediately captivating things I’ve seen since, fittingly, Rez Infinite.

    In many ways, Enhance’s latest game builds upon what it achieved with Infinite. It puts that same LSD-infused atmosphere front and center but trades the combat — something that was arguably at odds with the game’s otherwise relaxing gameplay — for the much more manageable world of falling blocks. As you try to build your towers, neon-soaked eye candy explodes into view like a bombastic celebration of all that’s good in the world; star-assembled stingrays circle around the grid and vivid colors stretch your pupils as far as they’ll go, all while an engrossing soundtrack seems to make your entire body pulsate. It’s like wearing Enhance’s famed Synesthesia suit without actually putting it on.

    Early levels feel like they capture the sensation of being underwater better than many VR games in which you are, in fact, underwater. There’s that sort of muffled quality to it that pours into your ears as blocks collide together. It’s a deliberate and methodical approach to slowing down the more competitive aspect of the game in favor of experience first and foremost, which is exactly what VR should be about. Even watching back YouTube videos as I write is causing me to lose long stretches of time entranced in its beauty. It is, quite simply, an utter treat.

    But, crucially, there’s a game here too. There are over 30 levels to Tetris Effect, accommodating all levels of skill, and it’s just as captivating as it’s ever been. The new Zone mechanic, which stops time for a few seconds, adds a new layer (pun intended) to the gameplay, allowing you to stack up blocks and then strike while the iron is hot, tallying up points in combinations to score higher than you ever have in a Tetris game before.

    I’ve seen plenty of music visualizers for VR along with guided meditation apps and soothing locations to visit. They’re all wonderful experiments, although I often find myself struggling to find much reason to visit for more than a few minutes at a time. Tetris Effect promises to break that cycle but rooting a tried and true puzzle game in the center of its fantastical atmosphere. It’s not hard to imagine many of us tearing through the game’s main mode when it hits before making the endless mode a

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  • Vive Focus Still Launching Worldwide In 2018, Planned ‘In Plenty Of Time For The Holidays’
    Vive Focus Still Launching Worldwide In 2018, Planned ‘In Plenty Of Time For The Holidays’

    It looks like HTC’s Vive Focus headset will be with us in a matter of weeks.

    The company’s first standalone device, which uses inside-out tracking, has been available in China for some time now, but a wider launch in the west was only confirmed earlier this year. I recently asked VP of Worldwide Product Development Joel Breton if the kit was still on track for a 2018 launch.

    “Yes that’s still our plan is to get it out worldwide by the end of this year,” Breton said. “And I hope in plenty of time for the holidays.”

    Obviously the clock is ticking; there are just 9 weeks left in 2018 and even fewer for the Christmas rush.

    The Focus is a curious device for HTC and will be the first to feature the company’s very own VR ecosystem, Vive Wave. We’ve also got plenty of questions about the rollout of the newly-announced six degree of freedom controllers (revealed after our conversation with Breton), which bring the Focus up to a similar level at the recently-revealed Oculus Quest headset but obviously haven’t shipped with Focus itself in China.

    “There’s three things we’re working on,” Breton said on why the device is important to HTC going forward. “Price? We’ve gotta get that down. Power? We’ve gotta get that up. Convenience? Gotta get that up. And then content is the fourth leg of the stool. So the Focus is moving in the right direction on all of those.”

    As with other headsets, Focus combats price and convenience by removing the need for expensive and complicated PCs and smartphones, whilst Breton believes the Snapdragon 835 powering the Focus is a good starting point for standalone VR (though admits he’d like to see this area go further sooner).

    “But this class of products, the all-in-one, I think is going to be super, super important for mass adoption,” Breton concluded, “and so we’re very happy that we’ve got this version of the Focus out in China currently but also very widely for developers and partners.”

    Tagged with: Joel Breton, Vive Focus

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  • CCP CEO Says Current VR Falls Short Of Expectations CCP Chief Executive Officer Hilmar Veigar Pétursson explains why the company left the VR business.
  • Sony Patents Hand-Tracking Technology for VR The future for PlayStation VR technology could see the motion controllers abandoned for a more hands-on approach.