• Here Are The 50+ Titles Launching For Oculus Quest On May 21
    Here Are The 50+ Titles Launching For Oculus Quest On May 21

    We finally know the full list of all 50+ Oculus Quest launch titles that will be available on day one for Facebook's upcoming standalone VR headset.

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  • Oculus Quest Review: Facebook’s Standalone Savior Mostly Keeps Its Promises
    Oculus Quest Review

    Last Saturday I pulled Oculus Quest over my eyes, booted up Fast Travel Games’ Apex Construct and played until the battery was flat. It lasted two hours and 50 minutes from full charge. In that time I had four instances of the device momentarily losing head tracking and two instances of the Oculus Touch controller tracking drifting or jumping unexpectedly.

    Other than that, I played a fully intact PC VR game on a standalone headset. The visual fidelity had taken a significant hit but was far from unsightly. The freedom to twist and turn in VR without worrying about wrapping my legs in wires was liberating and, for the vast majority of the experience, the tracking performed in-line with current PC VR standards.

    Quest has its fair share of caveats, then. A VR enthusiast that’s owned an HTC Vive or Oculus Rift for the past three years is unlikely to be swayed by its limited processing power and somewhat compromised tracking. But for the audience that’s sat on the sidelines since 2016, waiting for VR’s various barriers to come tumbling down, Oculus Quest is the real deal.

    Diligent Design


    Quest is a standalone VR headset. That means that everything it needs to run is already built into the device. No PCs, no smartphones, no consoles; $399 gets you all you need to jump right into VR. As such, it’s heavier than a Rift; my scales told me Quest weighs in at 580g compared to Rift’s 470g. Having spent extensive time with both, though, I couldn’t really notice the difference. If anything, the padded lining faceplate on Quest makes it more comfortable to wear than Rift’s more rigid alternative.

    There are some nice additions to the design, too. The head strap, for example, expands and retracts from the hinges, giving you room to pull it on and then have it fit to your head without adjusting it every time. That said, the tough rubber strap can dig into the back of your head over time, similar to how the top of your head can hurt when wearing headphones. It took a fair bit of fiddling to find the perfect balance but, once I got there, Quest felt great on my head.

    Specs And Stuff

    On paper, Quest is about in-line with what you’d expect from a mobile VR headset in 2019. Its 1,440 × 1,600 per-eye is an appreciated step up from the original Rift but far from a revolution, with the gaps between pixels still clearly visible once you’ve acclimatized to the device. Small text is definitely easier to read but don’t expect an eye-opening jump. Audio, meanwhile, adopts the same excellent design from 2018’s Oculus Go. There’s a pair of built-in speakers that allow you to play at a volume that suits you but also hear what’s going on in the world around you.

    A three-hour battery life might not sound too impressive for Quest. But, in practice, I found this accommodated the headset pretty well. Many of VR’s best games simply aren’t designed for three hours

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  • Valve Index Specs and Pricing Revealed Pre-orders begin 1st May, shipping in June.
  • Valve’s Flagship VR Game Coming In 2019 ‘To Any SteamVR Compatible System’
    Valve’s Flagship VR Game Coming In 2019 ‘To Any SteamVR Compatible System’

    The good news? Valve Index is shaping up to be a truly impressive VR headset when it ships in June. The bad news? We still don’t know much about a Valve-made VR game.

    At least not yet.

    Valve is still keeping the project under wraps for now. Though the new headset and its flashy controllers will both be arriving in June, we wouldn’t hold your breath for a big Valve VR game to arrive with it. The company did tell us, though, that it will have a “flagship game” arriving in 2019. No word on exactly what that game is yet; Valve wants to keep the rumor mill spinning.

    We also know that the game won’t be exclusive to Index. Staying in line with Valve’s anti-exclusive messaging, you’ll be able to play it on any SteamVR-compatible headset. That means Rift, Vive and Windows VR owners will get to enjoy it too.

    That doesn’t mean there isn’t any Valve VR software to talk about, though. During our trip to the studio we did try Aperture Hand Labs, a technical showcase for the Index Controllers set in the Portal universe. We don’t know if that will arrive alongside Index but it’s quite possible.

    We have heard, though, that this flagship game could be a new entry in Valve’s legendary Half-Life franchise. It might not be the now-fabled Half-Life 3, but it could be another story set within the universe.

    Valve fans will have to demonstrate just a little more patience once Index arrives, then. Fortunately, you’ll have plenty to play in the meantime; Index is set to work with the entire library of existing SteamVR content and we saw some pretty exciting new additions to it this month. That includes the upcoming VR port of No Man’s Sky and Stress Level Zero’s Boneworks.

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  • VR Web Browser Firefox Reality is Coming to SteamVR It'll support all SteamVR compatible headsets.
  • Valve Index Headset Is $499, Bundle $999: 1440×1600 LCD Panels, 120-144 Hz, Wider FOV
    Valve Index Set Full Kit Controllers Base Stations Headset

    Valve today announced preorders and revealed the specs for its Index PC VR system. Index is not made in partnership with HTC, the company Valve first partneted with on the first SteamVR headset (Vive). It’s a first party product from Valve Corporation.

    Index is a PC VR headset powered by the SteamVR platform. It should be compatible with all existing SteamVR games. However older titles may not be optimized for the Index Controllers as they were built with HTC controllers in mind.

    Preorders are available tomorrow, and the product will ship some time in June. No games are listed as being included.


    The full Index bundle is $999. This includes the headset, the two VR controllers, two SteamVR Tracking 2.0 base stations, and all required cables and mounts.

    Owners of the HTC Vive or Vive Pro can purchase the headset alone for $499, the controllers alone for $279, or the headset and controllers for $749. The Index headset and controllers work with any HTC base stations.

    Valve base stations can be purchased individually for $149 each. Note that they will not work with 1.0 hardware such as the original Vive headset and controllers.

    High Refresh Rate RGB LCD Panels

    Valve partnered with HTC to launch the Vive back in 2016. It had dual 1080×1200 PenTile OLED panels. The Vive Pro released in 2018 increased this to dual 1440×1600.

    The Index uses two custom 1440×1600 LCD panels. While they are the same resolution as the Vive Pro, they have full RGB subpixels instead of PenTile. This means each pixel has three subpixels instead of just two.

    This provides a higher detail image with reduced “screen door effect”. However, you don’t get the deep blacks of OLED since LCD displays use a backlight.

    The refresh rate of the Vive and Vive Pro was 90Hz. Index increases this to 120Hz, with an optional “experimental” 144Hz mode. Valve claims full backwards compatibility with 90Hz content.

    The pixel persistence is down to just 0.33 ms, which is the lowest revealed of any headset we are aware of. Valve claims this achieves subpixel scale persistence at typical head rotation speeds. In theory, this should entirely eliminate motion blur.

    Dual Element Lenses, Wider Field Of View

    Most current VR consumer headsets have a binocular horizontal field of view of around 100°, give or take around 10°.

    Valve is not disclosing the exact field of view of the Index, citing the lack of industry standard measurement. The company did however say that it should be “20 degrees more than Vive for the average customer.”

    Given that the Vive’s maximum binocular horizontal field of view has been measured at 110 degrees, the Index maximum field of view should be somewhere around 130 degrees.

    Valve managed to increase the field of view without adding distortion and while maintaining optical sharpness by using dual element lenses. The lenses are also canted, meaning pointing slightly outwards instead of directly forwards.

    The lenses have a wide sweet spot, meaning the center is not the only area of sharpness. This lets you use your eyes to look around as well as

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  • Valve Index Hands-On: Steam’s Big Upgrade From Vive Takes A Crowbar To Rift S
    Valve Index Grip Headset Hands Controllers

    I didn’t know the distance between the pupils of my eyes, but as I moved a slider on the bottom of the Valve Index head-mounted display from one extreme to the other I found it within seconds. Between 67 and 68 millimeters, the visuals delivered by Index seemed to lock into clarity and fit my binocular vision just right.

    I recently used an app on my phone to confirm the distance between my pupils and found it measures 67.5 mm.

    The slider adjusts the spacing of the Index dual-element lenses and two 1440×1600 LCD panels for inter-pupillary distances (IPDs) of 58-70 millimeters.

    Fine Tuning Fit

    A knob on the top-right side of the Index headset adjusts the distance of the lenses closer to the eyes. A single centimeter of change from this dial, according to Valve Corporation representatives, can expand or restrict the field of view into a virtual world by 30 degrees. “The lenses move independently of the facial interface (foam/gasket area) which means the lenses can get much closer to the eye,” a Valve representative explained.

    Field Of View

    Valve wouldn’t say specifically what the Index field of view is, citing confusion caused by the many ways it could be measured. The company did say, however, that Index is “20 degrees more than Vive for the average customer.” Depending how you measure, the original Vive is between 100 and 110 degrees for its field of view — but the actual FoV delivered by that headset could change based on individual fitting.

    Another knob on the back of the strap tightens the fit with more fine adjustment, and there’s a spacer included in the box some might want to use to provide an even better fit on the back of the head. Six or seven times adjusting the slider and dials for different demos and I had the entire fitting process down to just a few seconds.

    For HTC Vive or Vive Pro owners, the Index upgrade starts at $499 from their current system to just get the new headset. The jump in visual and audio fidelity is huge.

    Valve Index uses a pair of 1440×1600 LCD panels with very low persistence.

    There are no more fresnel rings on the lenses to catch distracting light, there’s a proper fit to maximize field of view and visual comfort, and a wide sweet spot delivered by the optics encourages eye movement to look around a virtual world rather than feeling forced to resort to head movement just to see something clearly. The overall effect of these improvements on comfort is tremendous.

    And the speakers were a delight as they hovered imperceptibly right outside the surface of my ears.

    Valve Index supports a refresh rate of 120 Hz with an experimental mode at 144 Hz. I visited a series of virtual worlds with Index and felt completely comfortable and clear-headed both during and after use.

    I haven’t tried HP Reverb or Pimax, but Index was better than Rift S as well as every other pre-2019

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  • How To Watch The Facebook F8 2019 Conference Today, On A Screen Or In VR
    Zuckerberg Oculus Products

    Facebook’s annual F8 conference is today.

    As well as general Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp news, it’s expected the company will share news about the upcoming Oculus Quest and Rift S VR headsets.

    The main keynote will be livestreamed. It begins at 10AM US Pacific Time, which is 5PM in the UK, 1PM US Eastern Time.

    This is when major product announcements, both hardware and software, are generally made.

    If you don’t have time to watch don’t worry- we’ll be bringing you all the VR & AR news from the event.

    Live Immersive Video (Oculus Go / Gear VR)

    If you own an Oculus Go or Samsung Gear VR, you can watch a live 180 degree video broadcast of the conference. It will be available through the Oculus Venues app.

    Note that you need an active Facebook account to use Venues.

    Like with other Venues events, you should be able to see and talk to other Go / Gear VR users in a virtual audience if you want.

    Unfortunately Venues isn’t available on the Oculus Rift, or any PC VR headset.

    In Browser / Virtual Desktop / BigScreen

    If you don’t own an Oculus Go or Samsung Gear VR, you can watch the event as a regular stream on Facebook Live.

    It will be available at the following link:

    If you want to watch it in your PC VR headset, you can use Virtual Desktop. Or if you want to watch it with friends or strangers in VR, you’ll find plenty of open chatrooms in BigScreen.

    Tagged with: facebook, Oculus Quest, oculus rift s

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  • AR Shooter Reality Clash Hits UK and Western Europe Run around in the sunshine whilst engaging in a little war.
  • Microsoft Store Lists Oculus Rift S Pre-Orders For May 21
    Microsoft Store Lists Oculus Rift S Pre-Orders For May 21

    Yet more retailer listings are coming in for Oculus’ new PC VR headset, Rift S. This time, though, they come with a possible release date.

    The Microsoft Store has listed the new device for release on May 21, with pre-orders already up and running. The price is listed, as previously confirmed, at $399. We’ve reached out to Oculus for comment on the listing. We can’t find any other retailers with the same date at the time of writing. This could well be just a placeholder date.

    Today sees Oculus parent company Facebook kick off its F8 developer conference. Many are hoping that this will be where the company finally confirms the release date for not just Rift S but also the Oculus Quest standalone headset. F8 is where Facebook launched the Oculus Go headset last year.

    Oh and Microsoft isn’t listing Quest because the device won’t run on Windows, so don’t go looking for it.

    Rift S is more of a refresh to the original Rift than a true successor. It features inside-out tracking, meaning there’s no need for external sensors. The device now sports a halo ring headstrap and features improved display and revised audio. You’ll still be able to play all of the Rift games you already own inside the new headset. We got our first impressions of the device back at GDC last month. We noted that it made small steps towards VR’s future, though the lack of mechanical IPD adjust is a problem.

    F8’s opening keynote kicks off at 10am PT. We’ll be on-site to bring you the latest from the show.

    Tagged with: Microsoft Store, oculus rift s, pre-orders

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  • How VR Positional Tracking Systems Work
    vr tracking systems

    Alongside having a wide field of view, virtual reality headsets are distinct from regular 3D displays in that they are tracked. PC VR, console VR and now even some standalone headsets even have positional tracking so you can lean, duck, and even walk around in VR.

    But how does this tracking work? Here we’ll explain the main positional tracking systems and how they function.

    What Is Positional Tracking? (6DoF)

    Most mobile VR headsets like Oculus Go, Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream View only have rotational tracking (3DoF). You can look up or down, to either side, or tilt your head. But if you try to lean or actually move your head’s position, this is not tracked. The entire virtual world will move with you. 3DoF controllers are similar, rotation-only. They essentially act as laser selection pointers.

    This can be acceptable for seated content, but it doesn’t allow you to move around the virtual world physically, or to interact with it with your hands directly.

    Image from Aniwaa

    On PC and console VR, and now in high end standalone VR, the headsets feature positional tracking (6DoF). Positional tracking lets the user actually move around in the virtual environment. If the tracking volume is sufficient, you can even walk around your whole room in VR.

    When controllers are also 6DoF, you can directly interact with virtual objects with your hands since you can move them through virtual space by moving your hands in the real world.

    Tracking Systems

    Rotational tracking (3DoF) is always done with microscopic electromechanical gyroscopes. But different companies use different technologies to enable positional tracking (6DoF). While there may be a common industry standard some day, none exists yet. Companies have different ideas about which techniques are right.

    The various tracking systems each balance cost, ease of setup, tracking volume, controller tracking range, and modularity.

    The Common Base: Dead Reckoning

    Contrary to popular belief, the optical systems described below are only truly “correction” systems. The primary shared tracking method of all these systems is a microscopic electromechanical accelerometer. These accelerometers typically run at 1000 Hz.

    Diagram from Newcastle University

    Here’s how this works: accelerometers do not read position, or even velocity, they read (as the name suggests) acceleration. But as you may remember from calculus, you can take the integral of acceleration over time and get velocity. And if you take the integral of velocity values over time, you get position (or at least, displacement from the original position).

    Using this to determine change in position is called dead reckoning. From moment to moment it’s how every VR headset and controller tracks itself.

    So why is anything else needed at all? Because accelerometers are imperfect, providing noisy data. Integrating this data twice means even the smallest error is magnified, and this error accumulates. In reality, this means that accelerometer based positional tracking drifts to infinity within a matter of seconds.

    The purpose of VR tracking systems is to correct this drift by providing a reference. Each tracking system does it differently, but the purpose remains the same.


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  • Chatting With The Recipient Of The SXSW 2019 ‘Best Interactive Experience’ Award

    Catching up with VR director and two-time Oculus Launch Pad recipient Kiira Benzing. Benzing is one of the first of her kind: a multi-talented, multi-faceted director and producer with an intuitive grasp of what works in VR filmmaking. Most notably, her production studio (Double Eye) won the jury award for ‘Best Interactive Experience‘ at SXSW

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  • YouTube Creator Lab Returns To London

    Applications are now open for the international VR creator program. Since 2017, we’ve been teaming up with YouTube to provide scores of highly talented, ambitious creators from across the world with the skills and resources essential to developing the next generation of immersive media. In that time we’ve helped facilitate the creation of some truly

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  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild’s VR Update On Switch Is Very Bad
    The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild’s VR Update On Switch Is Very Bad

    After spending some time with Zelda on Switch using the Labo VR headset, we can confirm that it's extremely disorienting and bad.

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  • Oculus Quest And Rift S Demo Stations Are Set Up At Best Buy
    Oculus Quest And Rift S Demo Stations Are Set Up At Best Buy

    It's almost time. Both the Oculus Quest and Rift S have been spotted at demo station kiosks in public at Best Buy already before F8 2019.

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